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Special Needs Trust (PIA) PDF Print E-mail

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Winning settlements does not mean losing public benefits.

If your client was receiving public assistance before the trial, it could be deemed a dereliction of your duties by the Connecticut Supreme Court if you don’t establish a special needs trust for the settlement to protect the public benefits.

Likewise, if your client wasn’t eligible for public benefits before the injury but is now, and you don’t take steps to secure benefits and establish a “self-settled” special needs trust for the settlement, you may also be liable to the client under a malpractice claim.

We’ll help you secure maximum benefits and protect everyone’s best interests.

As founding members of the Special Needs Alliance – a national network of disability and public benefits lawyers – Kearns and Kearns will help you successfully navigate the intricacies of Medicaid, SSI and other benefits programs for optimum eligibility.

The special needs settlement services we provide personal injury attorneys include:

  • Advice on which items to pay from the settlement and which to pay from the trust
  • Assistance in selecting an appropriate trustee
  • Providing the trustee with an outline of his or her responsibilities
  • Counseling your client, his or her family, and the chosen trustee on how the trust operates
  • Guidance on how to draft the pleadings needed to create the trust
  • Drafting the brief regarding the court’s authority to create the trust
  • Assistance in preparing the order the authorizes the establishment of the trust
  • Filing of all documents with their requesting government agencies
  • Assistance in preparing a budget and fixing responsibility for payment
  • Providing advice about public benefits

Think your client needs a special needs trust? We’re ready to help. Click here to contact Kearns & Kearns now.


Frequently Asked Questions about Special Needs Trusts:

(Click on a question to see the answer. Click again to close.)

Special needs trusts (also known as supplemental needs trusts) have traditionally been created and funded for persons with disabilities by third parties, such as parents, relatives and/or friends, and funded with lifetime gifts, life insurance and/or inheritances.

A “self-settled” special needs trust is established by the disabled beneficiary with his or her own assets – such as the proceeds from the lawsuit award.

Is your client disabled? Could he or she apply for a disability determination from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? Has your client already applied for it? Already received it? Is he or she receiving, or likely to receive, any of these means-tested public benefits: SSI, Medicaid, Medicaid Waiver, HUSKY Plan/CHIP, Section 8 Housing, Food Stamps, group home residence, psychiatric institutionalization, or other public benefits?

If you answer YES to all these questions, contact Kearns & Kearns now about establishing a Special Needs Trust for your client. Special needs trusts are essential to clients with disabilities to protect their money and preserve their public benefits. Careful consideration of your client’s needs will enhance his or her quality of life.

If you don’t address each issue, your client is not getting adequate protection.

When Congress passed the Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1993, this carved out an exception to the Medicaid eligibility rules and permitted people with disabilities to transfer assets into a self-settled special needs trust to maintain their eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If the trust is properly established and administered (the requirements for establishing and funding an OBRA 1993 self-settled special needs trust are complex), the injured plaintiff can continue to remain eligible for public benefits and benefit from the use of the personal injury settlement.

If the trust is not established, then the personal injury recovery is a countable asset for determining eligibility for such programs as SSI and Medicaid, and these benefits are lost.

Assets in the special needs trust are not counted. The income does not count for means-tested public benefit purposes, as long as income from the trust is distributed directly to third-party providers of goods and services and is not for food and shelter.

Still have a question?

We invite you to make an appointment for a personalized answer.

Simply click here to Contact Us now or call 860.233.1281 (Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), Friday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)

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Kearns & Kearns
1121 New Britain Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860.233.1281
Fax: 860.523.5774
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