Proper Uses of Special Needs Trust Funds

Once you have a third party Special Needs Trust set up for a disabled beneficiary, you should know what the proper uses of Special Needs Trust funds are. The general rule is that the funds cannot be used to pay for any expense covered by Medicaid. Here is a general list of how the Special Needs Trust funds should be spent:

1. Purchase of home.
2. Architectural modification to residence owned by either the trust or the disabled beneficiary to permit greater accessibility.
3. Home improvements, repairs and maintenance including tools to perform home improvements, repairs and maintenance.
4. Furniture and home furnishings.
5. Home alarm or monitoring system.
6. Repair services for appliances, bicycle, household items and fitness equipment.
7. Cable television service like Comcast or Direct TV, telephone and internet.
8. Computer, laptop or tablet or e-readers including Apple Ipad, or Kindle with software, programs, e-books and applications.
9. Telephone service and equipment, including cell phone, pager, etc.
10. Appliances such as TV, DVD, microwave, stove, refrigerator, clothes washer and dryer.
11. Assistive technology not covered by Medicaid.
12. Snow removal, landscaping and lawn service.
13. House cleaning and laundry services.
14. Purchase of automobile or van to transport the disabled beneficiary including maintenance, insurance, repairs, fuel etc.
15. Fitness equipment.
16. Non-food grocery items such as laundry soap, bleach, fabric softener, deodorant, dish soap, hand and body soap, personal hygiene products, paper towels, napkins, tissues, toilet paper, any household cleaning products.
17. Over-the-counter medications including vitamins, herbs and protein shakes.
18. Holiday decorations, parties, dinner dances, holiday cards, reasonable modest gifts from beneficiary for customary special occasions to close family and friends.
19. Stationery, stamps, Christmas cards, etc.
20. Case management of the programs for the disabled beneficiary including attendant care.
21. Elective surgery.
22. Dental work not covered by Medicaid, including anesthesia.
23. Personal assistance services not covered by Medicaid.
24. Physical or occupational or speech therapy or any medical specialist not covered by Medicaid.
25. Musical instruments including lessons and music.
26. Prepaid funeral expense.
27. Psychiatric and psychological services including evaluations and private counseling if not covered by Medicaid.
28. Accounting services to prepare annual trust income tax returns.
29. Legal fees and Court costs to appoint a guardian.
30. Haircuts, salon services and message therapy.
31. Pet and pet’s supplies, veterinary services.
32. Educational courses or classes including supplies and tutoring.
33. Clubs and club dues including record clubs, book clubs, health clubs, service clubs, zoo, advocacy groups, museums etc.
34. Tickets for concerts and conferences
35. Travel costs like airline tickets to family and friends.

If you have any questions about setting up or operating a special needs trust please contact Gregory J. Spadea at 610-521-0604 of Spadea & Associates, LLC in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

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