Special Needs Trusts and SSDI in Utah

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

Real People. Real Solutions.

Special Needs Trusts and SSDI in Utah

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A special needs trust can be established in order to provide resources intended to improve the quality of life for a person who is otherwise eligible for certain government benefits programs. The content of this page is not intended to be taken as legal advice, but is provided for general informational purposes only. For help in establishing a special needs trust or for answers to other estate planning questions in Utah, consultation with an attorney is strongly advised. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Is a special needs trust necessary for a person who qualifies for SSDI?

Because SSDI is not a means-tested benefit program, a special needs trust may not always be necessary for someone who receives benefits from SSDI. But, keep in mind that there is a two-year waiting period required for an SSDI beneficiary before that person may may qualify for Medicare benefits. Provisions may be appropriately incorporated into a special needs trust that will help get the SSDI recipient through the required waiting period prior to attaining eligibility for Medicare, during which time the beneficiary may have to rely on Medicaid to cover the costs of medical care. (Note that regardless of eligibility for SSDI, a person can still qualify for Medicare upon reaching the age of 65.)

An SSDI recipient will almost always benefit from broad language in the special needs trust documents that provides more discretion to the trustee. Medical conditions change over time and a person with disabilities who presently receives adequate support from Medicare may one day become dependent on Medicaid for services not available under Medicare–like long term care and drug coverage. Some first-person special needs trusts are established by the beneficiary with the beneficiary’s own funds, while still retaining or obtaining eligibility for public benefits.