Senate Passes Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Legislation

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By Jason Marx

The United States Senate recently unanimously approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act in an effort to provide those with disabilities the right to create their own special needs trust. 

Special needs trusts are used to enable individuals with disabilities to qualify for government benefits, such as Medicaid and other necessary care/services that enhance quality of life.

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act is intended to correct an inequity in the law that treats all persons with disabilities as not having the mental capacity to handle their own affairs. Under current law, a special needs trust can only be established by a parent, grandparent, guardian or the court. The passing of the legislation by the Senate is a first step to enable disabled individuals, who are otherwise competent and capable of doing so, to establish their own special needs trusts without undue financial or legal burdens.

Similar legislation is pending in the House of Representatives.  It is hoped that that the legislation will pass the House and be signed into law by President Obama before the end of this year.