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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

House Approves Thompson Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act

Safeguards the Right of Americans Living with Disabilities to Secure Financial Futures

Washington, DC – The U.S. House today, by a margin of 383 to 22, approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act, H.R. 670, which was authored by U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-5). The legislation removes arbitrary legal barriers that prevent people with disabilities from independently creating Special Needs Trusts, which are used to supplement daily living expenses and care that would not otherwise be covered by Medicaid and Social Security.

“The Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act corrects a discrepancy in current law that does not allow for a person with a disability to create his or her own Special Needs Trust,” said Thompson. “This is a fundamental issue of equal protection under the law for those who are facing life-changing disease or disability,” added Thompson.

Under current law, individuals with disabilities are required to either have a guardian establish a Special Needs Trust, or they must petition the courts to do so on their behalf, regardless of their capacities. This mandate can result in burdensome legal fees and extended wait periods for creating Special Needs Trusts, which are often used to supplement daily living and care expenses.

“I applaud the work of Mr. Thompson and his colleagues in Congress on this important bill,” said Amos Goodall, of the State College based law firm Goodall & Yuchak, P.C. and public policy advocate for the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). “This correction of a longstanding defect in the law removes one more badge of second-class citizenship from persons with disabilities and Mr. Thompson has worked hard to achieve this.”

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