What is a supplemental needs trust?

A Supplemental Needs Trust, also called Special Needs Trust, is a special type of trust that is designed specifically to permit a disabled individual to have the benefit that the funds can provide while still qualifying for certain asset-based government benefits.  The trust holds funds for the benefit of the disabled individual, who has no actual access or control over the funds.  The trustee, the person in charge of the trust, has the discretion to use the funds for the benefit of the disabled individual.   He or she may use the funds for any purpose as long as it is not for a purpose that the governmental funds are designed to provide.  For example, a trustee may not use the funds in the trust to pay for a doctor appointment, but he or she may use it to pay any co-pay that is not covered by the benefits received by the disabled individual.  The trustee may also use the funds to pay for transportation, vacation, education or other things that are not ordinarily covered by the governmental benefits the disabled individual receives.