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Caring For Generations

For the Disabled – More Financial Autonomy, No Loss of Government Benefits

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Disabled, Estate Planning

The Arc Master Trust, founded in 1988, is Indiana’s leading special needs trust. Administered by a nonprofit, this pooled trust offers the opportunity for individuals with physical, emotional, intellectual or developmental disabilities to:

  • save and invest their assets
  • enjoy the benefits of professional money management at an affordable price
  • spend on a broad variety of qualified personal expenses, without being disqualified from receiving their government benefits

An Arc account may be set up by the individual or his or her guardian (a “self-settled trust”), or by a parent or grandparent (a “third party trust”), with no minimums or maximum dollar amount, Chief Officer Melissa Justice explains. Accounts under $30,000 are held in checking, with amounts over $30,000 invested in mutual funds.

D. had been severely and permanently disabled in a tragic auto accident. The personal injury attorney who had settled the case on her behalf recommended that D’s mom contact the Arc of Indiana to establish a trust account. Melissa Justice recalls meeting them in the daughter’s hospital room at Eskenazi Health to arrange for an Arc account.
J. knew that the $50,000 he’d just inherited would disqualify him for his monthly SSI and Medicaid benefits. He had only until the end of the month to demonstrate that his assets totaled under $2,000.By establishing a self-funded trust, J. was able to continue receiving his government benefits. Now he would be able to afford cable TV, some tickets to events, and a series of art classes and supplies.

In turning to Geyer Law for help planning their estates, parents of disabled children want to ensure that even after they themselves are gone, their children will be provided for. A Trust I or 3rd party funded account at The Arc helps the parents accomplish that goal. The funding for the trust may be available now, or may come from life insurance proceeds or the parent’s estate after both parents have passed away. We help create a trust with each client’s loved one’s specific needs, lifestyle and future in mind.

In a self-settled trust, Melissa Justice explains, after the disabled Arc trust beneficiary has died, a portion of any funds left in the trust must go back to the state of Indiana to reimburse the state’s Medicaid program for the money it spent on the beneficiary during his or her lifetime. The law allows a portion of the trust to go towards assisting other persons with disabilities. If it is a 3rd party trust, funded with the parent’s life insurance or estate, any money remaining in the trust when the child passes away will go to whoever the parents have instructed The Arc to give it to. There is no requirement that Medicaid be reimbursed with this trust.

For the individuals of any disability and those 65+ disabled, The Arc of Indiana offers greater financial and personal independence.

– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team