Special Needs Trust Fairness Act – Update

open-bookAn update for those interacting with seniors and disabled individuals as it relates to the creation of special needs trusts.  In September, the House of Representatives passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (the “SNT Fairness Act“), which the Senate had passed last year.  The SNT Fairness Act fixes an omission in Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act where the disabled individual was not listed as someone who could create a first-party or self-settled special needs trust.  Under the SNT Fairness Act, the disabled individual will have the authority to create such a special needs trust thereby eliminating the need, in certain circumstances, for court intervention.  Unfortunately, the earlier House and Senate bills had some differing provisions and the bills could not be signed into law.  Recently the House passed a major health care package known as the 21st Century Cures Act that includes the SNT Fairness Act (buried at Sec. 5007 of the close to 1000 page bill).  The SNT Fairness Act will apply to trusts created on or after enactment.  Provided the Senate passes this health care package, it is expected that the SNT Fairness Act will be signed into law giving disabled individuals more control in managing their assets and benefits.   #SNTFairnessAct #SpecialNeeds #estateplanning

FLASH UPDATE: Senate has passed H.R. 34 in which the SNT Fairness Act was included. The President signed the bill on December 13th.