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A Special Needs Trust (SNT), also sometimes referred to as Supplemental Needs Trust, is used to provide supplemental benefits to seniors or individuals with a disability without disqualifying them for government benefits such as Medicaid and SSI. The SNT is meant to cover the expenses of goods and services that are supplemental to the beneficiary’s basic needs. Basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing cannot be covered by the trust.  However, some common expenses that are allowable through an SNT are:

  • Medication and medical equipment not covered by Medicare
  • Insurance premiums (health, life, dental, auto, renter’s, etc.)
  • Personal assistance
  • Job coaching
  • Home renovations to improve accessibility
  • Private counseling or case management
  • Entertainment or recreation tickets
  • Furniture and home appliances
  • School or camp tuition
  • Telephone service and Internet access

The items on this list are allowable expenses for an SNT that can increase the quality of life for a person with special needs. A trustee must use discretion in making distributions because using an SNT to purchase unallowable items may result in the beneficiary being disqualified for Medicaid or SSI benefits.

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