Special Needs Trusts in Pennsylvania

Individuals with disabilities have special needs, not only physical but also financial and legal. The use of special needs trusts can be critically important in helping ensure that such individuals will have the financial resources (now and in the future) to meet their special needs without losing eligibility for public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

SSI and Medicaid laws and regulations are complex and constantly changing. Without the help of an attorney knowledgeable about public benefits law, individuals with disabilities may see money received (for example, from an inheritance) disqualify them from receipt of public benefits, quickly disappear, and not then be available to supplement their needs.

With a special needs trust, Pennsylvania residents can maintain eligibility for public benefits to cover their basic needs of food, shelter, and medical care, while funds in the trust can be used to provide for their “special” or supplemental needs not covered by government benefits. For example, the trust could be used to pay for such things as education, travel expenses, repairs and upkeep on a residence, a wheelchair-accessible van, dental and other medical care not covered by health insurance– things which taken together could make a significant difference in the individual’s quality of life.

In Pennsylvania, special needs trusts are valuable for individuals who want to make provision for a disabled child or grandchild in their estate plan to help assure that he or she can attain the highest possible quality of life.

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