MP900387776Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) reintroduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R. 670) today to allow individuals with disabilities, who have the mental capacity, to create their own special needs trusts. NAELA, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, expects reintroduction in the Senate shortly.

Under current law, only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or a court can establish a 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A) special needs trust. Those who do not have a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian must petition the court causing unnecessary legal fees.

In the last Congress, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act garnered support from 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the House of Representatives. The Act also had bipartisan support in the Senate, passing out of the Senate Finance Committee as part of a larger package that primarily sought a permanent fix to a physician payments issue under Medicare. Unfortunately, Congress could not come to an agreement on the permanent fix and passed a temporary extension on the physician payments issue for one year, ending March 2015. 

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