What is a Pooled Special Needs Trust?

  • State and federal law permits pooled special needs trusts to hold assets for the benefit of individuals with disabilities without such assets counting for purposes of Medicaid or SSI eligibility.  A pooled special needs trust is managed and administered by a nonprofit organization and offers a cost-effective and user-friendly option for the protection of assets for individuals with disabilities.
  • In order to establish a self-settled pooled special needs trust account, the beneficiary, his or her parents, grandparents, guardian or the court executes a Joinder Agreement, which is a document that dictates the terms of the trust. No separate trust document needs to be drafted because the pooled special needs trust is governed by a master trust agreement already in place with the organization. Click here for Anchor’s Joinder Agreement (pdf document, opens a new browser window).
  • A separate trust account is created for each individual beneficiary and there is no age limitation to establish an account.
  • For purposes of investment and management, the trust pools the accounts, which maximizes the return on investment and at the same time reduces the cost of administration and management.
  • Because a pooled special needs trust account allows an individual to retain government benefit eligibility, the trust must contain a “payback provision,” which means that if funds remain in a beneficiary’s account upon his or her passing, Medicaid must first be reimbursed for any services provided during the lifetime of the beneficiary before distributing to any named remainder beneficiary.
  • Funds held in a pooled special needs trust account are meant to be used for supplemental needs – such as dental and vision care not covered by Medicaid; home furnishings; recreation; travel expenses; educational expenses; computer or educational equipment; telephone services; television services; and much more. Click here for more information (pdf document, opens a new browser window).
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