A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is designed to preserve trust assets for the special needs of a disabled beneficiary without jeopardizing the beneficiary's public assistance benefits.
The purpose of a SNT is to protect a beneficiary's eligibility to receive government benefits (such as SSI and Medi-Cal) and still allow the beneficiary to benefit from the assets in a SNT. Thus, the SNT can provide for things not paid for by the government, such as a specially equipped van, additional medical care, a motorized wheelchair, vacations or entertainment.
A SNT may be created by itself, or as part of a living trust. A SNT is useful in several situations:
SSI/Medi-Cal (Supplemental Security Income). SSI is based on disability and financial need. SNTs can be used to provide additional funds for a beneficiary receiving SSI.