What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is designed to help families with developmentally disabled children or other adults in the family who have suffered some type of injury that doesn’t allow them to make their own decisions.  Someone in this situation can’t control their own money. Someone in this situation will be eligible for SSI and Medicaid.  To be eligible for SSI and Medicaid when you are over the age 18 you can’t own more than $2000 worth of anything. With a few exceptions.  If you own more than 2000 worth of anything you get disqualified from SSI and more importantly you get disqualified from Medicaid.  Medicaid is the government sponsored insurance that will pay virtually all of the medial bills of the disabled person.  An estate planning attorney can create a special needs trust, which is a device that, when someone passes away the inheritance for the special needs person goes into the trust and the assets in this trust will not be counted against that $2000 limit that the government has placed on eligibility.  In other words, someone who inherits through a special needs trust has no limits on the amount they can inherit and still qualify for SSI and Medicaid.  They can have millions of dollars in a special needs trust to help supplement their care and provide other luxuries and they can still qualify for SSI and Medicaid.