Many people with spinal cord injuries are on Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. When you’re on these government benefits, you need to be extremely careful about the income you make, and also when you receive a cash amount from any source. To ensure you can still keep your benefits or receive a cash gift, many people will form a Special Needs Trust.
A Special Needs Trust offers you the opportunity to have someone leave you a lump sum of money, or receive money via a lawsuit, and be able to keep it. However, instead of giving it to you directly, it goes into your Special Needs Trust. Doing this ensures you can continue receiving benefits. When you have a Special Needs Trust, you’ll need to choose someone to serve as the trustee. They are in charge of how the money is spent on your behalf. Typically, this is someone in your family.
And if you cannot find someone, you can do a Pooled Trust, which is when your Trust Fund is operated by a nonprofit organization. These are also called Community Trusts. Keep in mind not all states allow Pooled Trusts. Make sure to inquire if your state allows them.
When you want to spend money in your Special Needs Trust Fund, the trustee must sign off on the expenses. People will use their Trust Funds to pay for personal care tenants, accessible vehicles, physical therapy, education, vacations and home furnishings. If you want to form a Special Needs Trust, you can do it yourself, but it’s best to have the help of a lawyer. Please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Want to learn more? Watch a webinar on Pooled/Special Needs Trusts from the United Spinal Association