What Can a Special Needs Trust Pay For?

A Special Needs Trust is a separate legal entity that holds assets for individuals with special needs. Ideally, by maintaining assets within a Special Needs Trust, the monies administered inside will not negatively impact the special needs beneficiary's eligibility for public benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Special needs planning attorneys are often asked if a Special Needs Trust can be used to pay for more high-cost "lifestyle" purchases, such as a custom van for personal transportation, a wheelchair or computers for learning and communication needs. A Special Needs trust is ideal for these types of expenses because there is no spending limit as to what a Trustee may purchase on behalf of a special needs beneficiary. Even still, there are rules for how funds administered within a Special Needs Trust can be used for. For example, a beneficiary of a Special Needs Trust should never be given cash directly out of the trust. In addition, careful planning should be considered when the trust is also used to pay for housing expenses or necessities like food. Establishing and administering a Special Needs Trust should be planned and designed with care.
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