A Special Needs Trust, (SNT), allows a person to shelter assets in a trust to be used for a disabled person while still permitting that person to receive public benefits.
There two types of Special Need Trusts: a First Party Trust also called 'pay-back trust' and a Third Party Trust.
A First Party Trust is funded with money that belongs to a disabled person who is under 65 years old. Often these trusts are from the winnings of a personal injury or medical malpractice suit. The money in the trust cannot be used to calculate public benefit eligibility. With this type of trust, funds that remain when the beneficiary dies must be paid back to the state.
A Third Party Trust is created from funds from a third party--parents, grandparents or someone who wants to leave funds for an incapacitated person. Like the First Party Trust, the money in the trust cannot be used to calculate public benefit eligibility. Unlike the First Party Trust, there is no payback requirement. When the disabled person dies, the trust can stipulate that any funds remaining in the trust be left to survivors or descendents.
Sometimes clients need both trusts. The disabled person has assets he/she has inherited which need to be transferred into a First Party Trust to preseve public benefits. The parents also need a trust to leave assets to their disabled child so they create a Third Party Trust.
There is another SNT called a Pooled Trust - but we will leave that for another day.
Here are important numbers of resources for children with disabilities:
The Arc of Northern Virginia
Provides advocacy and direct services for families and children and adults, living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Autism Society of Northern Virginia
Provides support, information, training and awareness to people with autism and their families.
Brain Injury Services, Inc.
Provides community-based services, education, and advocacy to people who affected by brain injury.
Children & Adults w/ Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder (CHADD) – Northern VA
Provides information and support to parents of people with attention deficit disorders.
Online resource that provides free information to Virginians with disabilities.
ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia
A community-based resource and advocacy Center which is managed by and for
people with disabilities.
Jewish Social Services Agency
Provides support, counseling, advocacy, employment services. Life skills training,
and growth and learning programs to children and adults with disabilities and their families.