Advantages of a SNT

The Advantages of Using a Special Needs Trust in New Jersey

Advantages for the Trust Beneficiary

I think a Special Needs Trust is terrific when used in the right circumstances.  But the operative words are “the right circumstances”.  Here’s why I like Special Needs Trusts.

Eligibility for New Jersey Government Benefit Programs

If an individual is already receiving government benefit programs like DDD or Medicaid, he or she will continue to receive services.  If the individual is just applying for benefits, then initial eligibility can be secured.  A properly drafted special needs trust will not be counted as an available resource during the application process.

The Advantages of a Special Needs Trust

Reduced Costs to the Person With the Disability and His/Her Family

When providers contract with the State of New Jersey to provide Medicaid services, they agree to deliver those services at a significantly lower cost than if the individual had to pay privately .  Even if a special needs trust must eventually reimburse the State for services provided during the beneficiary’s lifetime, reimbursement will be at a lower cost and will be free of any penalties or interest.

A Supplemental Needs Trusts Can Protect an Inheritance and Pass Family Assets to the Next Generation After the Person with the Disability Passes

Because the trustee has discretion over disbursements made from the trust, the beneficiary has no right to receive trust funds directly. Trust funds are used for his/her supplemental needs which increases his or her quality of life.  Some examples of items that can be purchased to improve the beneficiary’s quality of life include the following:

  • Medical procedures or therapies not provided through Medicaid or other medical government assistance.
  • Geriatric care services.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Entertainment expenses such as concerts, stereo, and other electronic equipment, including a personal computer, an X-Box and/or Playstation.  You can even subscribe to Netflix.
  • Guardian Fees.
  • Legal Fees and costs.
  • Other reasonable expenses, service, or product not provided by the individual’s government assistance program may be payable from the State of New Jersey.  Please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. to discuss.  Call toll-free 855-376-5291 or email him at

Maximizing the Benefit of a Structured Settlement Using a New Jersey Special Needs Trust

In personal injury actions, combining a special needs trust with a structured settlement can provide a second level of protection for the beneficiary.  The first level of protection is provided through the structured settlement’s ability to shield the settlement proceeds from the undue influence of new-found “friends”, economically distressed family members, as well as from the beneficiary’s own spendthrift propensities.  Additionally, the special needs trust can provide a second level of protection by preserving eligibility for government benefit programs.  In turn, this allows the structure’s periodic payments to be maximized.  This can greatly improve the quality of life of the person with the disability.

Availability of Choices for the Beneficiary For Medical Care

A Medicaid eligible beneficiary can request the trustee purchase medical services not covered by Medicaid. This may include payments to a specialist who doesn’t accept Medicaid payments, supplemental therapies, assistive technology or devices. Maybe there are expenses or experimental drugs that may help the person’s overall health but these drugs are cost prohibitive or insurance considers them experimental. The important point is that a trustee has the legal ability to expend trust funds for the benefit of the person with the disability, especially if Medicaid does not cover a particular medication, therapy, or assistive device.

Avoidance of the Need for a Guardianship

A Special Needs Trust in New Jersey is traditionally recognized as an appropriate vehicle for providing fiscal management in a variety of settings.  In such circumstances, a special needs trust can reduce court costs associated with maintaining a guardianship in addition to preserving eligibility for government benefit programs.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

Think a SNT will benefit you or someone you know? Call my office today. Ask for me to personally discuss the benefits of a Special Needs Trust in New Jersey.

Call me toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at

I look forward to meeting with you.




Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Special Needs Trust Attorney