The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a bill that would correct a decades-old error in federal law that prohibits people with special needs from creating their own special needs trusts, has passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, bringing it one step closer to passage.
Under current law, if a person with special needs wants to place her own property or money into a special needs trust in order to preserve it and maintain access to government benefits, she must have a parent, grandparent, guardian or court create the trust for her; she can’t create the trust on her own. This process makes it unnecessarily difficult for people with few close relatives or limited access to the courts to preserve their assets.
The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act would correct this oversight and allow a person with special needs to create a special needs trust on her own, without having to rely on family members. Now that the bill has passed out of committee, it needs to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. Since a companion bill passed the Senate last fall, passage by the House makes it much more likely that the Act will actually become law.
The Academy of Special Needs Planners encourages all people with an interest in disability rights to contact their congressional representative and urge him or her to support this important bill. For contact information for your representative, click here.