Newsbeat: Senate Changes Disability Law
The Senate has corrected a major error for people with disabilities
It unanimously approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (S. 349) to fix an error in the law that presumes all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs.
Special needs trusts helps individuals with disabilities so they can receive assistance for long-term services and supports like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. The bill was introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) joining as a co-sponsor.
“This is a big step towards correcting an error that demeans persons with disabilities and forces many to jump through unnecessary legal hoops to have their trusts approved,” says National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) President Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., CA.
Under current law, only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or a court can establish a special needs trust in contrast to other parts of the law, such as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (H.R. 647/S. 313). Passed in December of 2014, the ABLE Act makes tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation. Those who don’t have a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian must petition the court, causing unnecessary legal fees and delay.
For more information, visit NAELA.org