The Able Life Foundation operates a “pooled trust” which is a special needs trust established to hold and manage assets for individuals with disabilities under the age of 65. The pooled trust can protect assets of a person with a disability and prevent those assets from being counted against the person for purposes of government benefit eligibility, such as SSI and Medicaid. It can help assure that the person’s assets will be available for future needs. Needs that are not provided for by governmental benefits can be paid for out of the trust funds.
If an individual with disabilities and special needs acquires a large amount of money that would threaten Medicaid and SSI eligibility (such as an inheritance, a personal injury settlement, or a lump-sum back payment of benefits), the money can quickly be placed into the pooled trust to protect both the assets and benefit eligibility. Each individual in the pooled trust has his or her own separate sub-account, so the money can always be accounted for individually. Together, the individual sub-accounts make up the pooled trust.
Money held in the pooled trust for a person’s benefit can be used to pay for a wide variety of special and supplemental needs, including things such as medications, medical equipment, non-essential medical care, comfort services, companion services, entertainment, electronic equipment, personal care services, vacations, pre-need burial arrangements, and home modifications.
The pooled trust is designed to supplement, not to replace, governmental benefits. If money from the pooled trust account is used for basic living expenses or is distributed directly to the beneficiary, it would have to be counted as income, threatening the person’s benefits. That would defeat the purpose of using the pooled trust in the first place. Funds from the pooled trust should not be used for food or groceries, restaurant meals unless given as an occasional gift, rent or room & board, taxes, or utilities.
For more information about the pooled trust, or to make an appointment to discuss whether or not the pooled trust would meet your family’s needs, please contact Finance at (843) 805-5800.