by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
The National Association of Elder Law Attorneys ("NAELA") is working to get Congress to amend and improve U.S.C., § 1396p(d)(4)(A) with a goal to have amendment completed prior to the end of 2013.
The first amendment, if passed, would authorize disabled individuals under the age of 65 to create a Special Needs Trust ("SNT"). Currently, a Special Needs Trust can be created only by a court or the trust beneficiary's parent, grandparent or guardian. The current regulations do not clearly address a scenario where a physically disabled individual is mentally competent, not involved in a lawsuit, and without parents or grandparents that are alive, capable and/or willing to serve.
The second amendment, if passed, would permit military retirees to assign their pensions to a Special Needs Trust where such assignments are not currently authorized. Helping Americans who suffer from profound disabilities sustained in the service of their country is an honorable goal.
Both amendments would be positive developments, designed to give disabled Americans more choices and control over their own destiny.
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