21 Aug SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST FAIRNESS ACT – AN ACT TO ALLOW THE DISABLED TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN TRUST
Under current law, a special needs trust containing the assets of a disabled individual under 65 years of age (the assets in the trust are excluded from being countable as a resource for “means-tested” programs such as Medicaid) must be created by a parent, grandparent, guardian or court – not by the disabled person. The omission from allowing the disabled individual to create their own special needs trust appears to be discriminatory (assuming the disabled individual has mental capacity). As a result, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R. 2123) has been introduced to remove this obstacle for certain disabled individuals. The benefit of the special needs trust is that it allows the individual to have supplemental funds to cover living expenses not covered by public benefits, such as extra support services, equipment, transportation, recreation, etc. It has been 20 years since Congress first encouraged helping those who are disabled by passing a law to allow the resources held in a special needs trust to be excluded from being counted as a resource for public benefits such as Medicaid.
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