Special Needs Trusts are an exception to the rules that normally apply to Trusts. Normally, a Trust would be considered an available asset whenever someone applies for a “means based” public assistance program such as Medicaid or Social Security Income (SSI). Public assistance programs create special and unique administrative problems.
However, unlike traditional Trusts, a Special Needs Trust that is properly drafted and administered will not be counted as an available asset; therefore, Trust disbursements will not be counted as income under the rules that apply to Medicaid and SSI. The Trust assets can also be used to meet additional needs that are not provided for by basic public assistance. A list of some of these needs can be found under the “Presentations” tab, entitled “Permissible Distributions”.
In January 2004, the Ohio Charity Foundation created the NonProfit Pooled Special Needs Trust for persons who are disabled and receiving governmental benefits such as Social Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability (SSD), and Medicaid.
The Ohio Charity Foundation and its service partners established the NonProfit Pooled Trust to improve care for disabled individuals, decrease administrative costs associated with administering the Trust, and protect the beneficiary and his or her family in the likelihood of litigation in the future.
There are several advantages to a Pooled Special Needs Trust. First, a Pooled Trust allows the fund’s for multiple beneficiaries to be retained in a single Trust. This Trust, established under State and Federal Law, is well suited for circumstances where there is not an extended family, or other children, or where the amounts to be retained are rather modest. This type of Trust is also very beneficial should there be a shortage of potential Trustees in the family.
Another primary benefit is shared administrative costs and shared disbursement control. Because the investor (Wachovia Securities) and the Trustee (North Side Bank & Trust Co.) are pre-designated when you sign up for the Trust, you incur lower administrative fees while still having the ability to manage the investment of funds.
If a beneficiary receives a monetary endowment as a gift, inheritance, or from a settlement, this gift could result in a loss of governmental benefits. If the assets can be shifted into the Trust account, the monies will not be considered as an available asset or as income, and the dependant can reapply for lost benefits.
There is no age requirement for establishing a Pooled Trust, so any disabled individual or his or her family can apply for this type of Trust.
If you are a client of Browning, Meyer & Ball Co., LPA, please visit the “Trust Application” page and fill out a NonProfit Trust intake sheet and mail it to the address provided. If you are not a client, in order to to enroll in the NonProfit Special Needs Trust program, please send an email stating your interest on the “Contact” page.
Once a disabled individual establishes a NonProfit Pooled Special Needs Trust, the third party administrator, The Center for Special Needs Trust Administration, reviews all disbursement requests for eligibility, payment based on benefit, and state of residency. Once The Center authorizes the disbursement requests, the Ohio Charity Foundation acknowledges and signs each disbursement request. The Trustee then authorizes the disbursements and sends the requests to the investment firm which issues the check.
For more information regarding this process, please visit the “Presentations” tab and click on “Disbursement Process”.
The first part of the enrollment, or joinder, process is simply to follow the instructions for completing a Joinder Agreement and sending it to the Trustee, which is the Center for Special Needs Trust Administration, Inc. (the Center). A complete set of these instructions is included as the first two pages of each Joinder Agreement. If you have not yet downloaded a Joinder Agreement along with its instructions, you may do so later or click on this link to download a copy now.
After you send your signed Joinder Agreement and its Exhibits to the Center, you can expect the following to take place.
After the death of the beneficiary(ies), the Trustee is permitted to hold any monies remaining in the Individual Beneficiary Agreement (IBA). If a beneficiary from the Columbus Diocese who is mentally retarded creates an IBA and any monies are remaining when the beneficiary passes away, those monies will go into the sub account for the Columbus Diocese residual sub account designated in the IBA (i.e. mentally retarded, mentally disabled, etc.). After accumulation of assets, that sub account will generate income, which will then be paid to the Columbus Diocese Social Concerns Department for use in their services delivered to the mentally retarded in the Columbus Diocese. If a beneficiary resides in the Cleveland Diocese at the time the IBA is created, the monies would go into the Cleveland Diocese sub account, so on, and so forth. Each Diocese will have its own sub account.
In addition to residual amounts remaining in IBA’s, local councils may deposit to the Diocesan residual sub accounts monetary amounts raised on behalf of any of the identified populations. An example would be Measure Up monies from a council being directed to the particular Diocese residual sub account. If Santa Maria Council 2898 wanted to donate its Measure Up monies to the Columbus Diocese Residual Sub Account – Mentally Retarded, the Council would designate the particular residual sub account as the payee on the Measure Up Form.
When the Measure Up Program ends and checks are distributed, the State Council would make a check payable to the Columbus Diocese Residual Sub Account – Mentally Retarded for deposit on behalf of Santa Maria Council 2898.
Presently, the State Council has made contributions of equal amounts to each Diocese Residual Sub Account – Mentally Retarded in the amount of $14,500.00.
A Beneficiary Advocate is someone other than the Trust Beneficiary named in the Joinder Agreement. This individual is usually the Beneficiary’s Legal Representative or some other qualified person. The Trustee is authorized to communicate and obtain advice from the Beneficiary Advocate with regard to the Beneficiary’s investment interests, healthcare, social activities, care management, residential options, and other issues relating to life care of said Beneficiary. The Advocate stands in the shoes of the Trust Beneficiary and provides accurate representations to the Trustee, who may or may not exercise discretion if they feel the Advocate is not acting in the best interests of the Beneficiary.