NY Health Access About Us   |   Contact Us Empire Justice Center Legal Aid Society NYLAG WNYLC
Email to friend
Multiple emails allowed. Separate with commas

Confirmation code image

Type the characters in the image above exactly as you see them



Overview - Supplemental Needs Trusts

Supplemental Needs Trusts (SNTs) are legal tools used to help disabled people keep more of their income or assets without losing their public benefits.

SNTs were originally invented to allow parents of children with developmental disabilities to provide for them after they grow up without making them ineligible for public benefits (like SSI and Medicaid).  Ordinarily, if a parent set up a trust fund for their disabled child with $100,000 in it (for example), this would make them ineligible for public health insurance such as Medicaid.  To avoid this, lawyers created special trust funds, which are structured in such a way that they do not impair a person's eligibility for public benefits.  They supplement the disabled beneficiary's benefits, rather than replace them; hence the name Supplemental Needs Trust.

Another way that SNTs are used is to shield excess income for Medicaid purposes. By using an SNT in this way, a disabled Medicaid recipient can actually keep the benefit of almost all of their income, rather than having to pay a portion of it towards the cost of their care (e.g., for home care services).  Income placed in an SNT can also qualify someone for a Medicare Savings Program.   See Fair Hearing No. 4399513P (Nassau Co., Jan. 31, 2006)(available in WNYLC Online Resource Center, Fair Hearing Database, free registration required) 

An SNT can also be used where a disabled person under age 65 receives a lump sum (such as a retroactive Social Security award or personal injury settlement). Ordinarily, this asset would make the individual ineligible for Medicaid, SSI, and other benefits. By transferring it to an SNT, the person can remain eligible for all their benefits, and use the money in the SNT to supplement their regular income for years to come.

This website contains many resources about SNTs.  Here's a roadmap:

Watch this taped seminar by David Silva, Asst. Director of the Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program, explaining pooled trusts.  (July 16, 2013)


This article was authored by the Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program of New York Legal Assistance Group.

NYLAG


This site provides general information only. This is not legal advice. You can only obtain legal advice from a lawyer. In addition, your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. To contact a lawyer, visit http://lawhelpny.org. We make every effort to keep these materials and links up-to-date and in accordance with New York City, New York state and federal law. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of this information. To report a dead link or other website-related problem, please e-mail us.