Monthly Archives : October 2011

Autism NOW

Autism NOW

The Arc, through a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, has created a national resource and information center called Autsim Now, http://autismnow.org/ ,for people who identify as having an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disability. This new resource provides high-quality information about issues important to people on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities, their families, and professionals through a unique Web site with searchable resources, a free Webinar series and more.

Special Needs Trusts Permissible Distributions

Special Needs Trusts Permissible Distributions

Trustees administering a third party special needs trust or a first party special needs trust often seek guidance on permissible expenditures.  The answer begins with a question: What government benefits is the beneficiary receiving?  Under certain government programs, the beneficiary’s receipt of trust funds directly or via distributions to certain vendors can adversely affect the beneficiary’s eligibility for the government benefits.   Other government programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI),  are not related to assets or unearned income, but depend on the beneficiary’s ability to be substantially gainfully employed.   

The following is a non-exclusive list of permissible expenditures that should not adversely affect a beneficiary who is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid.   While the following is meant to provide guidance, each SNT Trustee should consult with counsel regarding their proposed budget and plan for making distributions.

SAMPLE PERMISSIBLE EXPENDITURES FROM SNT

  • Transportation expenses, including vehicle purchase, modifications, tickets, gas, repairs, insurance, possibly the expenses of a driver, bus pass, public transportation passes
  • Home purchase (or down payment), and home improvements, including modifications for handicapped use (all to the extent not covered by government programs)
  • Home alarm and/or monitoring/response system
  • Security deposit on apartment
  • Landscaping/ snow removal/ lawn service
  • Storage units
  • Tickets to concerts or sporting events (for the beneficiary and an accompanying companion)
  • Care manager
  • Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Annual independent check-ups
  • Health, homeowner’s, automobile and life Insurance (including payment of premiums)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Elective surgery
  • Over the counter medications (including vitamins and herbs)
  • Pet and pet’s supplies, veterinary services
  • Acupuncture/Acupressure
  • Conferences
  • Courses or classes (academic or recreational) including supplies
  • Essential dietary needs, diapers
  • Dry cleaning and/or laundry services
  • Linens, towels
  • House cleaning/ maid service
  • Purchase of computer or electronic equipment, videos, internet service, cable service
  • Purchase appliances (i.e. microwave, stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer)
  • Repair services (appliance, bicycle, household, fitness equipment)
  • Pay for trips, camps, vacations, entertainment i.e. going to a movie, ballgame, concert, etc. (must avoid giving ticket to beneficiary who could then liquidate and convert to cash)
  • Athletic training or competitions, fitness equipment
  • Purchase clubs/ dues (book clubs, health clubs, Advocacy Groups, museums)
  • Personal care attendant, companion, or escort
  • Massage
  • Purchase furniture, television, wireless headsets, iPods
  • Federal and state taxes
  • Attorney’s fees, Trustee’s fees, accountant’s fees
  • Prepaid burial expenses
  • Personal effects: clothing, jewelry, educational or recreational items such as books, musical instruments and hobby materials, including lessons..
  • Non-food grocery items (laundry soap, bleach, fabric softener, deodorant, hand and body soap, personal/hygiene products, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper and household cleaning products)
  • Payment of debts
  • Respite for family members

Certain distribution from a Special Needs Trust will result in a reduction in the monthly SSI payment:

  • mortgage payments, real property taxes, heating and cooling bills, electricity, water, sewage, garbage collection
  • Groceries and meals
  • Cash for any purpose (beyond the $20 SSI monthly allowance) 
IRA Charitable Rollover Provision Set to Expire 12/31/2011

IRA Charitable Rollover Provision Set to Expire 12/31/2011

Individuals 70 ½ or older are eligible to make a tax-free transfer from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a qualified charity, but this opportunity is set to expire 12/31/2011.  The maximum amount which may be transferred is $100,000. Distributions must be made directly to the charity through the plan administrator and not to a philanthropic fund, split interest trust, charitable gift annuity or a supporting foundation.

Liability Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement

Liability Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a memorandum dated September 29, 2011 which opts out a settlement from a Liability Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement when the Medicare beneficiary’s treating physician certifies in writing that treatment for the alleged injury related to the liability insurance has been completed as of the date of the “settlement” and that future medical items and/or services for that injury will not be required.   To read more, see http://www.cms.gov/COBGeneralInformation/Downloads/FutureMedicals.pdf