The latter vehicle is typically utilized by families with a member who has a disability that qualifies him or her for government benefits. With the state and federal governments only contributing enough to meet needs up to the poverty line, special needs trusts allow the contribution of additional funds in support of the person with disabilities without voiding Security Supplemental Income, Medicaid, and other means-tested benefits. This allowance is critical, because the benefits programs have requirements in place that limit maximum income and set a $2,000 cap on the assets that the individual can hold.
Funding sources of special needs trusts range from inheritances and family assets to awards from lawsuits and parents’ life insurance policies. In addition to allowing contributions, they serve a vital role in protecting the person who is disabled against financial abuse and ensuring that funds are spent toward their intended uses.