Special Needs Trusts

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Special Needs Trusts

Means based programs, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, restrict assets to under $2,000. Funds in certain types of special needs trusts (SNTS) are specifically excluded from consideration when you apply for or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid. The language of these trusts, and how and by whom the trust is funded, controls whether the SSA considers the trust funds to be an ‘available resource to the beneficiary.

SSA Information

SSA excludes an SNT funded with the beneficiary’s own resources (and a Trust funded by Third party funds) if it is established and funded in accordance with the requirements set forth in the federal code. This is reflected in the manual used by SSA employees. It gives them instructions regarding how to process claims for Social Security benefits as well as how to reevaluate trusts that were previously submitted and approved but have subsequently been amended to comply with the new manual requirements or are otherwise affected by a clarification or change in SSA policies.


The field office does a review and then passes it on to a Regional Trust Review Team.


The language required by SSA in Special Needs Trust is unique and must meet the requirements of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Public Aid (Medicaid) rules in order to allow a person with a disability to receive “means based” benefits and still have a Trust that can pay for the extras they may need that are not covered by benefit programs. SSA, in an effort to make sure all Trusts meet their requirements, has notified some persons who receive SSI or are applying for SSI that their Trust did not or does not meet these requirements. Be sure your trust is in order and meets all the rules of the Administration. You risk losing months of benefits, the possibility of an overpayment, or a delay in your benefits.

Attorney Mary L. Collins has expertise in the area of Special Needs Trusts and Social Security disability. She keeps current on all SSA guidelines to make sure our trusts comply with Social Security requirements.

If a trust does not comply with SSA requirements Ms. Collins can assist by amending these documents. Unfortunately, these amendments can take over a year to be approved by SSA and suspend benefits during that time.

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