A Supplemental Needs Trust (or SNT) is a vehicle that can be used to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabling conditions. The trust can be used to purchase additional items and services not adequately covered by governmental benefits. The SNT must be used for the benefit of an individual with a disabling condition and the expenditures made on behalf of that person should supplement, not replace their government benefits. The Western New York Coalition is a specific type of irrevocable trust called a pooled trust. Beneficiaries pool their money together to take advantage of better investment opportunities. There are three types of trusts in the Western New York Coalition: the Self-Funded Trust for individuals under the age of 65, the Self-Funded Trust for individuals over the age of 65, and the Friends and Family Trust.
The Self-Funded Trust is funded with money belonging to the beneficiary under age sixty-five. The funds may be from a personal injury lawsuit, an inheritance, or a back award of public benefits. The key is that the asset belongs to the beneficiary. In general, assets in the name of the beneficiary that exceed the resource limits for public benefits programs will result in a discontinuance of those benefits. However, if the beneficiary puts those funds in the WNY Coalition Pooled Trust, they become exempt for SSI and Medicaid purposes.
The Self-Funded Trust for individuals over the age of sixty-five is also funded by money belonging to the beneficiary. These individuals must be deemed disabled per Social Security standards and long term Medicaid rules apply.
The Friends and Family trust is a third party trust. In other words, the money used to fund the trust belongs to someone other than the beneficiary. The beneficiary can be any age. Parents often use third party trusts to provide for the future care of their child with a disability.
Those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) CANNOT divert any income into the trust. However, clients receiving other income and Medicaid can deposit their excess monthly income, known as a spenddown, into the trust. This eliminates their surplus income allowing them to qualify for Medicaid benefits.
A trust might be a good option for you if you are disabled and:
- Receive an inheritance
- Receive or are about to receive a personal injury settlement
- Live in the community and receive community Medicaid and cannot pay your bills
- Have no income and your assets make you ineligible for cash assistance.
Call our staff and find out if the Western New York Coalition Pooled Trust is right for you!
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