The purpose of special needs trusts is to maximize all available resources for the benefit of an individual with disabilities. The objective is to allow the beneficiary of the trust to become or remain eligible for means-tested public benefits like Medicaid (MaineCare) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Public benefits provide for the individual’s basic needs like food, shelter, and medical care.

The assets held in the special needs trust supplement, rather than supplant, government benefits, and provide goods and services to improve the quality of life for the individual with disabilities. The following articles introduce three types of special needs trusts, the third-party special needs trust, the self-settled (d)(4)(A) trust, and the self-settled (d)(4)(C) trust.

For more information about special needs trusts, please refer to the Resources and Articles available from the Special Needs Alliance (SNA). If you are an individual with disabilities, someone who cares for an individual with disabilities, a Trustee of a special needs trust, or a professional who advises them, consider signing up to receive The Voice which is the SNA’s newsletter. Current and past issues of The Voice are available online. On the SNA website, you can also find and download Administering Special Needs Trusts: A Handbook for Trustees.