Person’s with disabilities face special challenges. In some circumstances, not all, income, housing, health and support allocations, as well as other benefits may be lost to a disabled person if their assets are ‘means tested’ or made a condition of certain programs. It is the intent that any payments or distributions from the Special Needs Trust, to or for the benefit of the special needs person, shall supplement any public benefits or other available private resources.
The primary purpose of a Special Needs Trust is to provide supplemental and emergency funds to supplement any public benefits available to the special needs person during his or her lifetime. It is the intent that the assets of the Special Needs Trust shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be free from assignment or collection for the satisfaction of the claims of any creditors or government agencies.
If the Special Needs Trust were to be invaded by creditors or subject to any liens or encumbrances, or if the terms of the Special Needs Trust were to be applied so as to cause the special needs person’s eligibility for public benefits to be terminated, it is likely that the assets of the Special Needs Trust would be depleted and the purpose of his or her Special Needs Trust could not then be fulfilled.
No part of the income or principal of the Special Needs Trust is used to replace or supplant public benefits of any county or any state, federal, or other governmental agency that has a legal responsibility to serve persons with disabilities or conditions that are the same as or similar to the special needs person.
Here are some of the things you can do with money saved in a Special Needs Trust for a disabled person who relies on Medicaid:
A disabled person’s life may be made better by utilizing money saved in a special needs trust for the following:
Automobile or van purchase
Appliances: TV, VCR, microwave, refrigerator, etc.
Bottled water or water service.
Bus pass or transportation expenses
Dental work not covered by Medicaid
Down payment on home or security deposit on apartment
Dry cleaning and laundry services
Prepaid funeral expenses
Furniture and home furnishings
Non-food grocery items such as paper towels, napkins, Kleenex, and cleaning supplies
Personal assistant services
Telephone services, cell phone
Television and cable TV
It is usually reassuring to know that a reserve fund is available, in the supplemental needs trust, for life enhancing activities and unexpected personal needs.