Accessing Special Needs Trust Funds for Respite Care

HNWPublic Benefits Law for Special Needs and Disabled Persons, Special Needs Trusts for Minor Children and Adults

Special Needs Trusts are a kind of trust designed to preserve assets for a person with a disability, while making it possible for them to continue to receive important government benefits like SSI, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing.  But sometimes, Section 8 housing, a supervised apartment or a group home is not an appropriate place for someone with a disability.  Right now, some people with mental illnesses, with compromised immune systems, or with certain diagnoses should not be in an environment where they may be more likely to be exposed to COVID-19.  Other people may appear to be perfectly healthy physically, but COVID-19 is too stressful for them, and they are experiencing panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or depression.  When that happens, a temporary solution may be respite care.

To use funds in a special needs trust for respite care, first, the Trustee or the Guardian needs to find a respite facility which will accept the referral.  Second, the trustee or guardian needs to communicate with New Jersey’s Division of Medical Assistance, and let the state know a doctor or hospital thinks the person with the disability needs respite.  Third, the guardian or the Trustee needs talk to the person with the disability, and confirm with them that they are OK with going to respite.  Then, the trustee or guardian needs permission from the State to disburse funds from the Trust for respite care.  If you have a family member with a disability who needs respite care, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone conference consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

Written by Nicole C. Tomlin, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright

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