Anyone know about "Special Needs Trust"?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by artyreader, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. artyreader

    artyreader Member

    Because it looks like I'm going to get an unexpected inheritance ($10,000) and I am very low income and just survive on SSDI,SSI, Medi-Cal/Medicare, and Section 8 I heard about something called "Special Needs Trust" which might allow me to keep more of the money longer without harming my benefits but it takes a lawyer who really knows and I'm still not sure exactly what it entails--

    Has anyone here had any experience with that (anyone who is really low income and disabled and only is alive because of small but badly needed government assistance)
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    Sorry I've never heard of that before. Maybe a call to Legal Aid would shed some light on this. Some areas also have a Volunteer Lawyers Board that will help low income people on certain issues. Contact your local Lawyers Bar Association.
  3. sntattorney

    sntattorney New Member

    Hi, I'm a special needs trust attorney in Texas. While I can't give you legal advice applicable to California, I can give you a little guidance. Try to find a social security disability attorney where you live. Ask him or her about whether you can just spend the money on "exempt" assets (maybe car, house, or paying down debt).

    Alternatively, ask about a pooled special needs trust which is good for amounts under $50,000 and is cheaper than a standalone trust.

    To learn some of the basics about special needs trusts, go here:

    But to get California specific info, you should talk to an attorney in your state. [This Message was Edited on 01/31/2012]
  4. artyreader

    artyreader Member

    I've been so overwhelmed lately and had some other things come up, so just getting back to you now, but just wanted to express my appreciation for you prompt and caring reply.
    I have put your suggestions on my list of things to look into.
    All the best to you,
  5. artyreader

    artyreader Member

    Just getting back to people right now--thank you so much for information and referrals. I hope it's OK to ask some questions--I know you are not obligated to answer me, but here goes anyway!:

    I barely eke out a subsistence-level living at combined SSDI/SSI of around $10,400 a year and depend utterly on that and Medi-Cal (medicaid), Medicare, and Sect 8.(and have no savings due to huge unexpected dental problems/debt that I am paying from those).
    I am wondering if hiring a lawyer for an inheritance of "just" $10,000 (which after paying debt may be down to $6,000 or less --and if lawyer fees are substantial, even less than that) if trying to get a SNT would even be worth it in my case (and I can't afford car, cell phone, even TV and was hoping to upgrade from dial-up to decent high speed internet, plus purchase a reasonably priced cell phone so I can have more contact with people than I do now, among other reasons.)
    But because I don't really drive anymore for health reasons (see below), purchasing a car would not be something I could use.
    I rent a one-room studio apartment, and that only with help of Section 8, and have lived mostly a bare bones life for years with mostly just money for food and rent.
    (Before disabling conditions came on, I used to drive all over the place with no fear, worked since I was a teenager and loved my job, had active social and volunteer life and interested in many things, but in my mid to late 30's fibromyalgia and other conditions slowly brought my life to a halt and now I'm in mid 50's and because of health/financial situation have lived a very lonely, hermit like life in a town I don't 'fit in"
    where if you don't drive it's incredibly hard to get around --
    and if you don't have money for taxi's and the bus system is really bad it's very restricting; I'm halfway housebound and yearn for more freedom and autonomy and less lonelieness and isolation, plus much more intellectual stimulation than I am mostly finding here.)
    My main needs are better mobility, the chance to travel every now and then, and contact with like-minded and caring people:but combined fibro conditions and anxiety/panic attacks the last few years I DID have car and drove make it so that even if I could afford a car again--
    it's been 11 years since I had one--
    would be useless--
    I need money for trains, buses, occasional taxis(to get out of the house at night more than once a year!!!) and, if any money left over, my burning dream to visit places like Turkey, India, Europe--places of very old history.
    Years ago, I traveled in big cities in Western Europe and New York City and felt, for the first time in my life like I "belonged"--I loved the history,the diversity, the culture, open-mindedness, more bohemian outlook and stimulating street life.
    (I live in a sprawling Southern California suburb and doing anything without a car is a nightmare--I was raised in a big city--Los Angeles-- am childless and umarried aging middle-aged woman and do not "fit" the environment I live in(and believe me, I have tried VERY hard over the years--joining groups,etc, reaching out to others in a friendly way (But I am NOT a church person, so that's not good for me, and no longer able to drive freeways, distances, at night, so buying a car would not be useful)(income for trains, buses, occassional taxis, and my burning dream, to take a short trip to NYC, which I love,want to live in but it is super expensive, and cannot afford to live in, and/or other culturally rich,historical, stimulating cities that I visited years ago when I was younger, working and healthier AND so I can be more connected to far-flung friends and family as the life I live now is so constricted and isolated )
    Though I've been on disability about 14 years now, and am grateful for it, there has been very little "quality of life" for me, and my efforts to connect with neighbors and others where I live have been painful and puzzling (most people have families, and are highly scheduled, go go go, and even living on same street for years, most people are into their own thing.)
    yes, I do have some friends here, and they are dear to me, but between my severe mobility problems (at least I can walk-- not all day, but usually a little each day, and like to walk, despite pain and fatigue, but usually need to sleep most afternoons after just a few hours of morning errands,etc) and health constraints, plus
    their own commitments, work,family and/or activites result in me being much more isolated for many years now and if the inheritance comes it may help a bit but I really want to move to a walkable, diverse, stimulating big city with great public transportation and I wonder how, if, that inheritance money would be enough or helpful.
    All the best to you,
  6. artyreader

    artyreader Member

    I'll do a web search for this--Muchas gracias!