A special needs trust is designed to provide for beneficiaries who are disabled in some capacity. Oftentimes, the trust is set up to supplement the disabled individual's benefits that they receive from government programs, such as Medicaid or SSI. To meet the requirements of these government programs, applicants must generally have $2,000.00 or less in countable assets each month to qualify. The assets in a special needs trust are not readily available to the disabled beneficiary, so the assets are considered non-countable assets for Medicaid and SSI purposes. Because of this income eligibility limit, a special needs trust is drafted with specific language to avoid extending beyond that limit.
The main purpose of the special needs trust is to provide for a disabled loved one without affecting their eligibility for government benefit programs. Families with special needs have a greater responsibility to plan for their estate and provide for those unique needs long into the future.