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A Long Awaited Fix for Special Needs Trusts is Now Federal Law

People with disabilitiesThe U.S. House recently passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (H.R. 670) by a vote of 382-22. This legislation corrects a pet peeve of mine and that is a presumption in the former law that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs.

All of us that work with and for clients with special needs are praising U.S. Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for their bipartisan dedication in steering what has been called a “common-sense fix” through the House.

"D-4-A" Special Needs Trusts were first recognized by Congress in 1993. This type of trust was designed to help ensure that individuals with disabilities can use the savings they have to provide for their own supplemental needs, while still qualifying for long-term services and support that are only eligible to those who pass means-testing. This includes programs such as Medicaid

A special needs trust can avoid financial destitution for families caring for a loved one with special needs and expensive specialized care. Unfortunately, an oversight in drafting the law regarding these types of trusts resulted in the reality that individuals with no parent, grandparent or legal guardian were required to petition the court for guardianship.

"Today was a major step forward in correcting this long-overdue fix and we look forward to working with the Senate to see the bill signed into law," said NAELA Pres. Catherine Seal, CELA, CAP.

A similar piece of legislation passed in the Senate last year. However, because of some changes, the bill approved by the House will be required to journey back to the Senate for its approval.

Reference: PR Web (Sept. 20, 2016) “NAELA Praises House Passage of Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act”

 

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