Should I Consider a Special Needs Trust for My Disabled Child?

If you have an adult child with special needs, you may want to consider a special needs trust. A special needs trust can supplement the benefits your child receives from SSI or Medicaid. 

If you are planning to leave an inheritance to an adult child with a disability, you should consider a special needs trust. Without one, you may jeopardize your child’s ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the services offered by the Medical Assistance program.  If one of your adult children  has special needs, an elder law attorney in your area  can help you set up a special needs trust.

There is a specific set of rules that must be followed when creating a special needs trust. While this trust is funded with the assets of the beneficiary, these proceeds can’t be directly received by him or her. Any proceeds need to be put directly into a special needs trust to be properly used by your beneficiary without minimizing their eligibility for government benefits. 

Special needs trusts are used to pay for things that cannot be paid for by using funds from public assistance or other government benefits. Special needs trusts are typically used to pay for the following items:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Dental Care
  • Specially-Equipped Vans or Vehicles
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Computers
  • Trips

Usually, when a person receives government benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid, any gifts or inheritance can reduce or eliminate this eligibility. Although ownership of a house, furnishings, a car, and personal effects does not affect any eligibility for SSI or Medicaid, other assets may disqualify your child from receiving government benefits. By setting up a special needs trust in your will, you can avoid these issues.

To learn more about the benefits of special needs trusts, contact an experienced elder care attorney in your area.