Pooled Special Needs Trusts vs Private Special Needs Trusts

When I give presentations on The Arc Master Trust, I am frequently asked the differences and advantages of Pooled Special Needs Trusts versus private Special Needs Trusts.

Pooled Special Needs Trusts (PSNT), such as The Arc Master Trust, are administered by not-for-profit organizations, while private Special Needs Trusts (SNT) are typically administered by a bank or other financial institution.

Advantages of using The Arc Master Trust include:

  • Lower administrative costs
  • Trained staff that is skilled and knowledgeable in administering Special Needs Trusts. This is not just another segment of our business, the PSNT is our business
  • The Arc of Indiana has information and connections all over the State. The Trust has access to all of that information, so regardless of the issue facing the beneficiary we have the resources to be able to help him or her
  • Staff is experienced and knowledgeable about a wide range of issues regarding people with disabilities as well as the rules for SSI and Medicaid
  • Lower minimums to fund the trust
  • Peace of mind, knowing that the trust will not approve disbursements that might cause the beneficiary to lose his or her benefits

Some advantages of using a Private Special Needs Trust are:

  • Greater control of the investment
  • Sometimes there is control over who the Trustee of the trust is, if a family member or friend has experience and knowledge of Social Security and Medicaid this may work well for some families
  • Depending on the bank or investment company there maybe staff which are designated to work only with your beneficiary

Regardless of where you decide to open your Special Needs Trust it is important that you have confidence in the organization actually administering your trust.  I encourage you to question the organization to determine if they are knowledgeable about government benefits, how they administer their Special Needs Trust, and if they understand how disbursements from the trust need to be handled so that benefits aren’t endangered or discontinued.

Please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions on establishing a Pooled Special Needs Trust with The Arc of Indiana or a private Special Needs Trust with a financial institution.  I can be reached by calling The Arc’s offices at 317-977-2375 or 800-382-9100.  Learn more about The Arc Master Trust by visiting www.thearctrust.org

Melissa Justice is the Trust Director for The Arc of Indiana Master Trust