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Showing posts from October, 2015

ABLE Act / Social Security Update

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As you read last week, we attended the annual Stetson SNT conference and listened to the 2015 update from Ken Brown and Eric Skidmore from the Social Security Administration.  The implementation of the ABLE Act was a big topic for discussion.  
For those not familiar, ABLE, Achieving a Better Life Experience, is basically a section 529 Educational Savings account with a few twists.  First, only individuals who were disabled prior to age 26 can use them and the funds can be used for things other than education.  Examples of allowable expenditures are:  education, housing, transportation, employment training, assistive technology, health, prevention and wellness, financial management, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring of the ABLE account, and funeral and burial arrangements.
ABLE accounts seem a lot like a Special Needs Trust, which is true, but there are a few exceptions.  We could write entire articles on the similarities and differences of SNT’s and ABLE accounts, an…

2015 Annual Update from the Stetson National Special Needs Trust conference

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We just returned from the annual update on Friday, October 16, 2015 from Ken Brown and Eric Skidmore from the Social Security Administration at the National Stetson SNT conference.  Unlike years past, we actually got some good information and solid answers; at least in some areas.  There was still some of the vague: “we are looking into that” or “we are aware that is an issue” responses, but here are a few nuggets I took from the conversation.

The Regional Trust Review Teams that began operating in April 2014 have been busy. There are 167 members nationwide, on 14 teams, that have reviewed approximately 8,800 Trusts (not all are SNT’s).  They are receiving about 500 per month.  Each team has a Lead person and they are working to communicate concerns and training through the Leads to then disseminate the information out to the entire team.

A big concern raised is that when Social Security has a problem with an SNT and determines the trust to be a countable resource, the notice generall…