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By Amy C. O’Hara, CELA

The Special Needs Alliance commends the Senate Finance Committee for unanimously approving legislation that would give families greater flexibility in choosing the remainder beneficiary of trusts established for a loved one who has a disability or chronic illness. Partners Bernard A. Krooks, a past president of the Special Needs Alliance, and Amy C. O’Hara, currently a Vice President of the organization, recommend you to contact your senator and representative and tell them to keep this language in the final bill that goes before each chamber of Congress for passage.

On June 22, the Senate Finance Committee approved the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act, which would allow families to name charitable organizations as remainder beneficiaries of a special needs trust. Charitable organizations provide essential services that are heavily relied upon by individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

These legislative changes would empower individuals and their families to financially support those organizations that provide them with these critical services, without a higher tax cost during the life of the person using a special needs trust to manage their expenses and benefits. This is especially important today, given the nationwide staffing shortages and funding cuts that threaten the viability of these charitable organizations that individuals and families rely on.

Currently, Senate lawmakers are working with members of the House of Representatives to reach an agreement on a final version of the legislation that would go before Congress for passage. In March, the House passed its version of this legislation called the Securing a Strong Retirement Act.

Please call or email your Senator and Representative and tell them about the enormous positive impact this change will have on you, other families, loved ones, and urge them to ensure its inclusion in the final bill.

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