On December 13, President Obama signed a health care spending bill called the 21st Century CURES Act. This new law included a provision that allows individuals to set up their own special needs trusts. This small change to the Social Security Act enables a person to petition the court to establish a special needs trust without an outside trustee. Under the previous law, only the court or a legal guardian could establish a special needs trust. Allowing individuals to establish their own special needs trust gives injury victims more control of their future financial planning. This will save both time and, potentially, expenses.
Special needs trusts provide replacement income and supplement government benefits to help pay for medical needs and living expenses. Structured settlements can be used as an important funding option for special needs trusts, and maximize the financial security for, and benefits available to, personal injury victims who qualify for Medicaid. Structured settlements used in conjunction with special needs trusts allow injury victims to live their lives with economic security and allows them to make the decisions necessary to secure their futures. Expanding the way these trusts can be used is important for the people that depend on this specific financial vehicle. Giving claimants with disabilities the responsibility and opportunity to make decisions is a legislative achievement that NSSTA is proud to support.
Eric Vaughn and NSSTA members have been in contact with elected representatives in Washington, DC to bring awareness to this issue and to publicly show our support for expanded rights for claimants with disabilities. The entire 21st Century CURES Act can be found at www.congress.gov .