patrick_farber_special_needs_trustSpecial Needs Trusts (SNTs) are an excellent way to hold the assets of injured parties while preserving their needs-based public benefits such as MediCal (Medicaid) and SSI. Certain rules apply when using any type of SNT, whether individual or pooled.

Will Lindahl, enrollment director at Charities Pooled Trust (CPT), provided the following SNT guidelines.

  • The client must be totally and permanently disabled, unable to work and receiving or qualified for SSI, traditional MediCal and/or In-home Support Services (IHSS). Poverty and partial disability do not qualify.
  • First-party Individual SNTs and Pooled SNTs only protect traditional MediCal, SSI & IHSS.
  • Clients who are receiving SSI cannot self-administer their Medicare Set-Aside arrangement (MSA). A MSA is a countable resource unless held in trust when qualifying for SSI.
  • If a client has SSDI and Medicare they are ineligible for expanded MediCal. They can use an SNT to qualify for traditional MediCal if needed.
  • Clients who were low wage earners and/or developed a complex medical condition prior to settlement may be receiving SSI & SSDI. One dollar of SSI in California makes you automatically eligible for traditional MediCal.
  • SNTs are required for clients receiving SSDI and/or Medicare if they want to maintain eligibility for traditional Medical.
  • Structured settlement payments are considered unearned income when applying for SSI.
  • Structured settlements do not impact expanded MediCal or SSDI recipients.
  • Always have the client go to an SSA office to get a summary of benefits letter prior to settling a case.

Please call with any questions or Contact Will Lindahl, 619-452-2629.