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Special Needs Fairness Act Adopted in New York State

Published May 26, 2017

By Alexis Gruttadauria, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

At the end of 2016, President Obama signed the Special Needs Fairness Act into law, and this week the New York State Assembly and Senate voted to adopt the law in New York, which allows for an eligible individual to set-up his or her own First Party Special Needs Trust (click here to read more about the Federal Special Needs Fairness Act).

Although the measure has not yet been signed into law by the Governor, the New York State Department of Health has issued a General Information System (GIS) message that states “effective immediately, in the case of a certified disabled Medicaid applicant/recipient, districts must not consider as available income or resources the corpus or income of a trust established by such disabled individual when he or she was under 65 years of age, provided the trust otherwise complies with the ‘exception trust’ provisions…”

As with the passage of the federal law, this adoption closes a loophole that has caused undue stress for many and removed the barriers previously standing in the way of those who previously had no qualifying relative to set up the trust. With the imminent change in New York law and the New York State Department of Health’s speedy acceptance of the change, this important planning tool will now be more widely available.

If you or someone you know may benefit from setting up a First Party Special Needs Trust, please contact us.

Learn more about our special needs planning and special education advocacy services at or

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