The Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act was approved by the U.S. House in a 383-22 vote on September 20th, 2016.
U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5) authored the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act, or H.R. 670. Thompson issued the following statement after H.R. 670 passed in the house, “The Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act corrects a discrepancy in current law that does not allow for a person with a disability to create his or her own Special Needs Trust… This is a fundamental issue of equal protection under the law for those who are facing life-changing disease or disability.”
Because of the legislation, people who have disabilities would be able to create Special Needs Trusts on their own instead of having to go through difficult legal barriers. The trusts let disabled individuals supplement their daily care and living expenses that are not covered by Social Security and Medicaid.
As the law stands now, a guardian has to establish a Special Needs Trust for disabled individuals. If a guardian does not establish a Special Needs Trust, the court must be petitioned to establish the trust. Large legal fees and long wait periods are consequences of the current process.
Amos Goodall, who works for the Goodall & Yuchak, P.C. law firm in State College, issued the following statement, “I applaud the work of Mr. Thompson and his colleagues in Congress on this important bill… This correction of a longstanding defect in the law removes one more badge of second-class citizenship from persons with disabilities and Mr. Thompson has worked hard to achieve this.” Goodall is also a public policy advocate for the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).