Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Article on Congress or the Social Security Administration: Who Defines A Special Needs Trust

LexisTaryn D. Walker (Wake Forest Law Review) recently published an article entitled, Congress or the Social Security Administration: Who Defines A Special Needs Trust, (Fall 2013) 48 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1055. 2013. Provided below is the introduction to the article from Lexis:

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are approximately 56.7 million people with disabilities living in the United States. 1 This figure represented 18.7% of the national population in 2010. 2 Among individuals with disabilities between the ages of twenty-one and sixty-four, only 41.1% are employed. 3 Accordingly, people with disabilities rely on more than sixty federal and state programs for their special needs. 4

An individual's "special needs" are specific to that person, as they are defined by the resulting challenges and life circumstances of his or her disabling condition. 5 For an individual whose disability inhibits earning sufficient income, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") provides for this special need through Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") payments. 6 For an individual whose disability precludes affording healthcare, the Center for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program ("CHIP") Services meets this special need through funding healthcare services. 7

Due to many factors, including budget cutbacks and rationing of services, government benefits are not able to provide all of the supplemental goods and services necessary for the special needs of an individual with a disability. 8 For this reason, the family of an individual with a disability often wants to contribute additional funds to compensate for the inadequacies of government benefits. 9 The family members, however, will likely face challenges in this attempt to plan for the long-term needs of their loved one. For example, both of the aforementioned benefits programs require that an ...



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