Frequently Asked Questions
Special Needs Trusts are designed specifically to protect beneficiaries receiving such public benefits as SSI, Medicaid, SNAP benefits and housing assistance. Having a Special Needs Trust ensures that you will not lose these benefits as long as the Trust is properly administered. The essential purpose of a Special Needs Trust is to improve your quality of life without disqualifying you from eligibility to receive public benefits.
It depends on your government benefits. Direct cash distributions are typically not permissible as they can jeopardize benefits such as Medicaid and SSI. A cash distribution can be considered income and can affect your benefits.
Requests must be made in writing to our request lines – email email@example.com or text 813-252-0932. Include your name, the name of the beneficiary, the cost, and if applicable, some type of estimate or ad with pricing. Allow up to 72 hours to process requests.
Allow up to 72 hours for requests to be processed. If approved, funds can be distributed electronically or via check. Checks will be subject to standard postal service times but can be expedited in emergencies. Larger, more complicated requests that require review by the trust advisory committee can take longer.
Receipts provide another layer of accountability to backup and justify distributions. It allows the trustee to keep track of how the money is spent should there ever be an audit. Without a clear paper trail of how trust funds are spent, benefits could be affected.
How funds can be spent is determined by your government benefits. Clothes can generally be purchased. However, if you are receiving SSI, food is not permissible, as it is considered “in-kind support and maintenance.” (Read more on in-kind support and maintenance in our blog.)
If you are on SSI, those benefits are subject to reduction if the trust pays your rent. The Social Security Administration has published a list of “shelter” expenses. If an SSI recipient receives help for any of these expenses from any source, including your trust, your SSI is subject to reduction. (See our blog for additional information regarding shelter costs.)
It is important to remember that all trusts are different but, yes, your trust can generally pay for a vacation. Your trust can pay for your travel expenses and may be able to pay for a companion if one is required. The trust cannot pay for the entire family.