Social Security Changes the Way it Reviews Special Needs Trusts

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued Emergency Message 14026A which provides new instructions for how SSA reviews Special Needs Trusts.

Under this new policy Social Security has established a new Regional Trust Reviewer Team which must review all resource determinations for trusts presented for initial Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

Social Security has also issued a new Trust Training Fact Guide to assist the Review Team in its understanding of how to evaluate a trust document. The Review Team must use this guide to determine whether or not the assets in a trust are countable when determining eligibility for SSI benefits.

All Special Needs Trusts will now be reviewed in this manner.  Including:

First Party Special Needs Trusts — which contain the assets of an SSI beneficiary; and

Third Party Special Needs Trusts — which contain the assets of a third party such as a parent or other relative of the SSI beneficiary.

Social Security’s goal with this new policy is to improve the accuracy and consistency of SSI trust resource determinations.


Posted by Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,