September 20, 2016
NAELA Praises House Passage of Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act
The Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act corrects a patently false and degrading presumption in the law that all individuals with disabilities lack the capacity to handle their own affairs.
Washington, D.C. – The House passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (H.R. 670) 382 to 22 today, which corrects an error in the law that presumes that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) applauds Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for their bipartisan dedication to ensuring this common-sense fix passed the House.
“D-4-A” Special Needs Trusts were first recognized by Congress in 1993. They help ensure that individuals with disabilities can use what savings they have to provide for their supplemental needs while still qualifying for long-term services and supports from means-tested programs like Medicaid without living in utter destitution.
An oversight in drafting the law concerning these types of trusts meant that individuals who do not have a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian had to petition the court for guardianship.
“Today was a major step forward in correcting this long-overdue fix and we look forward to working with the Senate to see the bill signed into law,” said NAELA President Catherine Seal, CELA, CAP.
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.