House passes disability special needs trusts measure

By a vote of 383-22 on September 20, the House of Representatives approved a new bill that allows people with disabilities to set up their own special needs trusts.

The Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act corrects a discrepancy in current law that does not allow for a person with a disability to create his or her own Special Needs Trust,” Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) said in a news release. “This is a fundamental issue of equal protection under the law for those who are facing life-changing disease or disability.”

Pursuant to legislation passed in 1993, parents, grandparents and guardians of people with disabilities can create so-called “D-4-A”  Special Needs Trusts to set aside funds for disability related expenses, without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid and other means-tested programs, according to the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.

The law, however, only allows people with disabilities to set up such trusts upon a petition to a court. Under the new measure, people with disabilities will be able to do so independently.

“Today was a major step forward in correcting this long-overdue fix and we look forward to working with the Senate to see the bill signed into law,” NAELA President Catherine Seal said in a news release.

A previous version of the bill unanimously passed the Senate last spring.

One response to “House passes disability special needs trusts measure

  1. A good start, but it still keeps people with disabilities tied down by their disabilities. What if their life’s dream is to go to Hawaii or Scotland, what if they want to buy a fishing boat. What if they just want to be free to save what little bits of money they can from their very limited incomes and eventually buy whatever it is that makes them happy, just like everyone else in America is allowed to do, but not them. They can only spend their money on their disabilities…

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