SNT Fairness Act Passed

The SNT Fairness Act passed and was signed by the President on December 13, 2016 and became effective immediately.  So, an individual can now establish their own (d)(4)(A) trust (pursuant to section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act) in addition to the classic parties:  Parent, Grandparent, Legal Guardian and Court.

There is a newly published Emergency Message(EM) by Social Security with an indication they will be following up with more guidance.  Here is the EM:

Effective Dates: 12/13/2016 -
Identification Number:
Intended Audience:
Originating Office:
Information Regarding a Change in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Special/Supplemental Needs Trust Policy– Permanent Instructions Will Follow Shortly
EM - Emergency Messages
Title XVI (SSI)
Link To Reference:

Retention Date: June 16, 2017

A. Purpose

This EM provides important information regarding a change in SSI trust policy as a result of the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255).

B. Background 

On December 13, 2016, the President signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. Section 5007 of this Act allows individuals to establish their own special needs trusts and qualify for the exception to resource counting under Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act. 

C. Policy for trusts established before 12/13/16

For special needs trusts under Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act established prior to December 13, 2016, the resource counting provisions of Section 1613(e) do not apply to a trust:
· Which contains the assets of an individual under age 65 and who is disabled; and 
· Which is established for the benefit of such individual through the actions of a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or a court; and 
· Which provides that the State(s) will receive all amounts remaining in the trust upon the death of the individual up to an amount equal to the total medical assistance paid on behalf of the individual under a State Medicaid plan.

NOTE: This law does not affect special needs trusts established prior to December 13, 2016.

D. Policy for trusts established on or after 12/13/16

Effective with special needs trusts established on or after December 13, 2016, the resource counting provisions of the SSI trust statute do not apply to a trust established through the actions of the individual, a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a court. The other requirements in section C. above continue to apply.

Direct all program-related and technical questions to your Regional Office (RO) support staff. RO support staff may refer questions, concerns or problems to their Central Office contacts.

Contact us for any of your Special Needs Trust needs or questions.

Travis D. Finchum, Esq.
Board Certified Florida Elder Law Attorney
Guardian Trust


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