Bill Introduced to Allow Individuals with Disabilities to Create Own Special Needs Trusts

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) introduced the Special Needs
Trust Fairness Act of 2013 on May 23, 2013 (H.R. 2123). According to a
press release from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
(NAELA), the
bill would allow people with disabilities to create first-party special needs
trusts to hold their assets without interfering with their access to
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

The bill addresses a quirk in the current law defining
special needs trusts that prevents mentally competent people with disabilities
from establishing so-called (d)(4)(A) trusts. As the law stands today, a
first-party special needs trust must be created by a parent, grandparent,
guardian or court, even if the beneficiary is going to be the person transferring
the funds into the trust once it is created. This restrictive provision, which
was likely the result of a drafting error, forces countless trust beneficiaries
who don't have parents or grandparents, or whose parents or grandparents are
unwilling or unable to help them, to petition courts to establish trusts when
they are perfectly capable of creating the instruments themselves.

According to NAELA's press release (the text of the bill
is not available online at this time and neither Rep. Thompson nor his
Democratic co-sponsor, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) have any information about
the legislation on their Web sites), the bill would amend the Social Security
Act to allow beneficiaries to create and fund their own special needs trusts,
which, according to NAELA President Gregory S. French, would "maximize
client independence and self-determination."

Once posted, you can read the text of the bill and follow
its progress here:

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