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This past Tuesday, December 13th, the Cures Act, containing the SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST FAIRNESS ACT, was signed by President Obama and passed into law; this marks an enormous milestone for individuals with disabilities! The passage of this legislation establishes liberties for persons with disabilities which had been previously denied to them.
Prior to passing the Act, only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the disabled individual, or a court could establish a Special Needs Trust on behalf of the disabled individual.
Under the new Act, individuals with disabilities who are under the age of 65 and have capacity can create their own Special Needs Trusts.
Passage of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act ends the false and degrading presumption that all individuals with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs.
Special needs trusts are created with the intent of supplementing a disabled person’s income in order to pay for wants and needs not covered by government benefits. The trust usually covers things such as:
- Recreation; and
- Uncovered medical care.
Because the assets would never be owned directly by the person, someone who is a trust beneficiary of a supplemental needs trust can still receive benefits from government programs such as Supplementary Security Income and Medicaid.
Kudos to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) for spearheading the efforts of getting these provisions passed! My colleagues, Michael Amoruso and Howard Krooks, played an instrumental role in the passage of this legislation. I am honored to be a Founding Member and Past President of an organization that continues to pave the way for the betterment of the lives of the elderly and those with special needs.
If you or someone you know has questions about Special Needs Trusts or this new law, be sure to contact our law firm for further information.
Vincent J. Russo
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530