Special Needs Trusts
PLAN of CT can help establish greater financial stability and flexibility to meet longer- and shorter-term needs.
Why do I need a
Special Needs Trust?
At PLAN of CT, we know that establishing a Special Needs Trust (SNT) for an individual with a disability is vital to maintaining their well-being and safety. It allows them to be supported with additional assets and still qualify for the public benefits to which they are entitled. Public benefits are essential for ensuring continuity of care throughout an individual’s lifetime. An SNT permits a family member to leave an inheritance to a person with a disability without disrupting these benefits. It provides funds for supplementary needs beyond housing and food, such as clothing, home visits, telephone service and other items, and it creates protection against creditors.
Creating a Special Needs Trust (SNT) can safeguard current and future assets, while ensuring your loved one has sufficient resources to live and thrive. PLAN of CT trust documents are written in accordance with federal law and are provided to local participating attorneys. Unlike trusts at many banks, PLAN of CT trusts require no minimum funding. Establishing an SNT with PLAN of CT can assure family members that they or their relative with a disability will continue to live a fulfilled and dignified life.
An individual with a Special Needs Trust may use their trust assets to:
- Supplement state and federal benefits
- Help maintain self-sufficiency
- Purchase necessary services and items
- Pay bills
- Enhance quality of life
Our Trust Options
THIRD PARTY TRUSTS
A Third Party Lifetime Advocacy Trust is most often established by the parents of an individual with a disability, although it can be established by anyone on behalf of this individual. The trust can be funded at any time after establishment. Most commonly, this funding comes from the grantor’s will after passing. A Third Party Trust can be funded with money from anyone other than the beneficiary; their own money cannot be put into this type of Special Needs Trust.
There are several Third Party Trust options available, including Revocable, Irrevocable, and Irrevocable with Insurance. These options can be discussed with PLAN of CT in addition to an attorney who practices in this area of law.
What are the benefits of a Third Party Trust?
The individual named in the trust as the beneficiary is often already receiving governmental support such as SSI, and/or Medicaid. Therefore if money were to be left outright to them, this individual would no longer be eligible for their public benefits. The grantor can choose remainder beneficiaries for distribution of funds if the original beneficiary passes away before the trust has been expended.
PLAN of CT offers several trust options depending on the beneficiary’s particular situation, and we remain the only organization in Connecticut that can administer a Special Needs Pooled Trust. Connecticut state legislature granted PLAN of CT the authority to act as trustee of Special Needs Trusts in 1993.
What are the Benefits of a Pooled Trust?
The PLAN of CT Pooled Trust is the only trust in our state that can be contributed to by an individual with a disability who is typically over the age of 65. The PLAN of CT Pooled Trust allows an individual with a disability to fund a trust account with his or her own assets, retain a lifetime benefit from those assets, and still qualify for public benefits. Many Pooled Trust subscribers are able to deposit excess monthly income into the trust to qualify for important waiver programs that maintain and improve their health and well-being.
Who can benefit from the Pooled Trust?
A Pooled Trust is a good idea for an individual of any age who has a disability, and who:
- Wants to stay in their home with home care services, but is over the income/asset limit for that program
- Is told by the state they do not qualify for a Medicaid Waiver program because their income/assets exceed the program limits
- Inherits money that could endanger the home care or long-term care services they are already receiving through a Medicaid Waiver
- Is in an assisted-living arrangement where the State of Connecticut provides the home-care portion of the cost
- Would like to establish and fund his/her own trust, while remaining on public benefits, with money received from an inheritance, an insurance payment related to an accident, a settlement from a divorce proceeding, or back payment from Social Security.
What happens to an Individual’s funds remaining in the Pooled Trust after they have passed away?
According to federal regulations, upon the beneficiary’s death any remaining funds inside the trust are either left to the PLAN of CT Charitable Trust for the benefit of other individuals with disabilities, or reimbursed to any states that provided Medicaid services.
A Self-Settled trust is established and funded by a person with disabilities under the age of 65 with their own assets. If funds remain in the trust after the death of the beneficiary, state Medicaid agencies are repaid from the trust for benefits the beneficiary received during their lifetime. This is commonly referred to as the “payback provision”. After Medicaid is paid back, any remaining funds can be left to people or charities of the individuals choosing.
What are the benefits of a Self-Settled Trust?
The Self-Settled Trust is used when an individual receives a direct inheritance, a back payment from Social Security, a settlement, or a lottery win. This trust can also be used for excess income, like the Pooled Trust, for people under the age of 65. As noted above, any additional remaining funds may be left to a grantor’s designee (after funds are used to pay back the state(s) for Medicaid services provided). PLAN of CT does not require any remaining funds be left to our organization.
SETTING UP A PLAN of CT TRUST
- Call PLAN of CT to speak or meet with the Outreach Coordinator for more information on our trust options.
- Select and meet with a PLAN of CT Professional Member (attorney)*. A map and list of member attorneys can be accessed on our website or provided by the Outreach Coordinator.
- Complete the appropriate legal forms (Trust Adoption Agreement or Subscriber Agreement) with your attorney and other required supporting documents.
- Submit a check to PLAN of CT for the one-time establishment fee.
*Attorney fees are separate from PLAN of CT establishment fees.
PLAN of CT has a one-time establishment fee for any of our trust options (there is a reduced fee for any additional trusts within the same family.) The establishment fee is due upon submission of the trust application materials from your selected professional member attorney.
No additional fees are incurred until the trust becomes funded. Once funded, trusts incur fees based on our fee schedules for that particular trust. As a non-profit organization, we can keep our fees lower than most trustee options.
Let’s start taking care of tomorrow, together.
Contact PLAN of CT to learn how we can help you plan for what’s next.
If you are interested in more information about setting up a trust for your loved one, submit your name and contact information, our Outreach Coordinator will reach out to help you get the process started.
The establishment fee is due when trust application materials are submitted. No trust administrative and service fees are charged until the trust is funded.
Let’s start taking care of tomorrow, together. Contact PLAN of CT to learn how we can help you plan for your family’s next steps.
Resources for Families
Third Party Trusts
A Third Party Special Needs Trust is most often established by the parents/guardians of an individual with a disability, although it can be established by anyone on behalf of this individual. The trust can be funded at any time after establishment, but most commonly funds come from the grantor’s estate after passing.
The Pooled Special Needs Trust is the only trust in CT that an individual over 65 can contribute their own income or assets into in order to retain a lifetime benefit from those assets/income, and still qualify for public benefits like Medicaid or waiver programs.
A Self-Settled Special Needs Trust is used when a disabled individual under 65 receives a direct inheritance, a back payment from Social Security, a settlement, or a lottery win that would affect their eligibility for state or federal benefits. A Self-Settled trust can protect these assets as well as entitlement eligibility.
Charitable Trust Grants
The PLAN of CT Charitable Trust is a fund which allows individuals of any age who have a disability to apply for one-time needs-based assistance through a grant to purchase a service or resource meant to enhance the individual’s quality of life.
PLAN of CT Professional Partners coordinate with a variety of experts who help us create customized plans, in order to ensure that the individuals with disabilities we serve are able to enjoy fulfilling, secure lives. These partners include:
- Individuals with disabilities
- Family and friends
- Community agencies
- Financial planners
- Insurance agents
- Support groups and disability-specific communities
PLAN of CT will assist any individual with a disability, whether they live independently and need certain key supports or whether they are more challenged by their disabilities and need greater fiduciary coordination.
Ways To Support
Whether you are a family or a business, you make the difference to our organization and those we serve by contributing financial support, time and/or expertise.
There are various ways to support PLAN of CT.
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