A Special Needs Trust, also referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust, serves as a valuable tool to provide additional support and improve the quality of life for individuals receiving government assistance. It allows them to receive supplemental benefits without compromising their existing benefits.
These trusts often provide funding for a variety of expenses that go beyond the basic necessities of life. Some examples of the types of expenses that can be covered by a Special Needs Trust include medical and dental costs that are not covered by other sources, specialized equipment such as wheelchairs or modified vans, assistance in purchasing a car, therapy, and rehabilitation services, educational and training opportunities, vacation expenses, support for starting a business, home furnishings, and travel expenses including the cost of a companion.
The Special Needs Trust can cover a wide range of expenses that enhance the quality of life for individuals receiving government assistance. This includes transportation services like Uber, Lyft, and bus passes, as well as recreational activities such as summer camps, movies, social events, and sports equipment. The trust can also provide funds for electronic equipment, appliances, and computers, as well as payments for a companion. Additionally, it can assist with legal or guardianship expenses, insurance, and burial expenses. However, it's important to note that there are certain expenses that a Special Needs Trust should not cover, such as groceries, rent or mortgage payments, cash, and gift cards.
Special Needs Trusts can provide financial support for a wide range of expenses that enhance the quality of life for individuals receiving government assistance. However, it's important to note that certain expenses should not be covered by a Special Needs Trust, such as condo association fees, property taxes, and utilities like electricity. Trustees must always consult with a special needs planner before giving cash or cash equivalents to SSI or Medicaid beneficiaries or paying for food or shelter. Once these essential needs are taken care of, a Special Needs Trust can typically cover most other expenses to supplement the beneficiary's lifestyle. It's crucial to understand the complex rules governing special needs trusts and consult with a qualified special needs planning attorney to ensure compliance and protect the beneficiary's eligibility for public benefits. These guidelines apply to both private and pooled trusts, guaranteeing that the trust's management aligns with the beneficiary's needs while safeguarding their entitlement to essential assistance.