Q: I have recently established a third-party special needs trust for my son.  He has Down Syndrome and will not be able to care for himself, as an adult, without additional assistance.  The money I have gifted my son, in this trust, will take care of him, in his future needs.  I want to be sure the money is used correctly so any expenditure do not affect the government benefits he is receiving.  What are some allowable expenses?

A: Although your son may not realize what an exceptional gift you have given him, your trustee is there to serve his needs so he can live a good quality of life.  Many parents request services such as: respite care, and nonmedical care, allowing social interaction with someone other than a family member; housekeeping; additional therapies or services such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage; the purchase of items such as toys; educational items or classes; therapeutic equipment and electronic devices such as computers, cell phones and gaming devices.  All of these items or services can be paid from the trust without jeopardizing your son’s government benefits. 

Darlene A. Kemp, MPH, MBA-HCM, Executive Director – Vista Points Special Needs Trusts  www.vistapoints.org  888-422-4076

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