The Senate has unanimously approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a bill that would allow people with disabilities to create their own first-party special needs trusts without having to rely on others.
Now that the legislation has cleared the Senate, action moves to the House, where a companion bill has been tied up in the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health subcommittee. Advocates say that bill is unlikely to move out of committee and onto a full House vote without additional support.
As we've described before, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act fixes a drafting error in the Social Security Act specifying that the parents or grandparents of a person with disabilities are the only ones with the right to create a special needs trust to hold the person with disabilities' own funds. If the person with disabilities does not have a living or competent parent or grandparent, he has to rely on a complicated court procedure to create this vital trust. The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act fixes this problem and gives the person with disabilities the ability to create his own trust.
The Academy of Special Needs Planners encourages all people with an interest in disability rights to contact their congressional representative and urge him or her to support this important bill. For contact information for your representative, click here. For a list of members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and its subcommittee on Health, click here and here.