FAQs

Enrollment

We encourage you to review the Getting Started Guide that has a wealth of information about the program to make sure that this is the right option for you and your family. We would also like to talk to you about your needs before you complete the application.

When you are ready to establish a trust sub-account, you may download the necessary forms. Start with the Application Checklist to make sure that you are gathering all of the necessary documentation before sending in your packet or contacting our office for an appointment. For more detailed information, please visit the How To Enroll page.

There is no specific amount that is right for everyone. You will need to determine what is right for your family based on your child’s current and expected needs. Annual Spending Target Examples of what the trust might provide on an annual basis based on various funding levels may help you make a more informed decision. These examples are provided for illustration purposes only.

Unfortunately, no. The Oregon Special Needs Trust only accepts cash assets into the asset pool.

Yes. In a third-party account, multiple donors may deposit funds into the account, but only the donor who signs the Joinder Agreement has control over remainder beneficiaries (where the money goes after the death of the trust beneficiary).

While anyone can deposit money into an established first-party account, those funds would be co-mingled with the beneficiary’s funds and, therefore, not protected from Medicaid payback requirements.

To get locked in for the annual renewal fee that is in place at the time your enrollment, you must pay the renewal fee each year. If you let the enrollment lapse, the unfunded account will be closed. If you choose to enroll again in the future, you will be charged the enrollment and annual renewal fees effective at the time of your re-enrollment. Fees are not refundable if an enrollment lapses.

No. If an account is not yet funded, you are not obligated to fund it in the future or to maintain your enrollment.

Yes. Due to Medicaid payback rules, donor funds and beneficiary funds cannot be deposited into the same sub-account.

If the situation arises wherein the beneficiary has his or her own money to deposit, but only has a donor-funded account in place, we can assist the beneficiary in enrolling in a separate sub-account. Likewise, donors wanting to deposit funds for the benefit of a beneficiary who only has a beneficiary-funded account will need to establish a separate donor-funded account. If a beneficiary has both types of accounts, in most cases we will issue disbursements from the beneficiary-funded account first and will not access the donor funds until the beneficiary-funded account is depleted.

Attorney Representation

Maybe. The Joinder Agreement is a legal document and you should consult an attorney before deciding if the OSNT is the best option for you. If you are helping a person with a disability who is not competent, then you will need to retain an attorney to petition the court for permission to establish and fund a sub-account for the individual with a disability.

It depends on the attorney. You will need to contact an attorney for a consultation and cost estimate. 

Although we do not recommend or endorse any particular attorney, we do have an Attorney List that includes attorneys that are familiar with the pooled trust and who are experienced in the fields of Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, Trust Administration or Estate Planning. This list is not exclusive and we are happy to work directly with whichever attorney you choose in order to establish an account.

Disbursements & Deposits

To deposit funds into your account send a check, payable to “Oregon Special Needs Trust FBO (Beneficiary’s Name)”, to

The Arc Oregon / OSNT
2405 Front Street NE #120
Salem OR 97301

Once an account is established, you will receive a comprehensive Welcome Notebook with specific instructions about how to use your account, along with the necessary forms. We have a simple process in which a beneficiary or authorized person submits a written or online disbursement request along with supporting documentation. The OSNT Program Manager then reviews the request. Once it is approved, a check is issued by Key Bank and mailed as requested on the disbursement request form.

You may also visit the How It Works page for more information.

The list of goods and services that can be purchased with a special needs trust is quite extensive. It would be impossible to list them all here. Below are items that are commonly requested and covered. Please keep in mind that this list is only a guide and should not be viewed as an entitlement to these items.

GOODS

Clothing
Computers/Software
Electronics (television, stereo, etc)
Eyeglasses/Contacts
Furniture
Gasoline
Hobby Supplies
Household Appliances
Household Products/Supplies
Mattress/Box Springs
Medical Supplies/Equipment
Musical Instruments
Personal Care Items
Pet Supplies
Prepaid Funeral Expenses
Toys/Games
Vacations
Vehicles

SERVICES

Athletic or Recreation Fees
Attendant Care
Auto Repair/Maintenance
Cable TV
Cell Phone Services
Eye and Dental Care
Hair and Nail Care
Home Modifications/Improvements
Insurance – Auto/Renters
Internet
Medical Expenses
Music Lessons
Pet Care/Veterinarian Bills
Professional Fees – Attorney, Accountant
School Tuition
Tickets to Movies, Concerts, Events, etc.
Transportation
Vehicle Modifications for Accessibility

Anything that eligible governmental benefits may cover, including food, shelter and medical services, may not be paid for with trust fund dollars. Additionally, The Arc Oregon’s policy prevents use of trust fund accounts for the purchase of alcohol, tobacco or firearms. Cash disbursements or reimbursements to the beneficiary are not allowed, nor are purchases of gifts for other people. All disbursements must be determined to be for the sole benefit of the beneficiary. 

SSI rules do not allow trust payments for the following items it defines as “shelter”:

  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • Property insurance, if required by a bank or other mortgage holder
  • Gas bills
  • Electric bills
  • Heating fuel
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Garbage collection services
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s association fees

Yes. Parents of minor children have a legal duty to provide basic support for their children, including food, clothing, shelter and basic educational expenses. This duty ceases at age 18. Using the child’s trust fund to pay for what parents are legally obligated to provide would not be in the child’s best interest.

Disbursements from a child’s trust should be reserved for extraordinary expenses, such as expenses unique to parents whose minor children are disabled, or very large medical expenses not covered by insurance or Medicaid and not easily afforded by the parents.

Every situation is somewhat different. However, as a general rule, if the requested disbursement is for something that our laws and cultural norms generally expect parents of a minor to provide for their children, then the OSNT will be reluctant to use funds from the child’s sub-account for such requests.

Yes. We encourage the input of key persons involved in the beneficiary’s life. Although family members do not have an official legal role in the administration of the trust, the OSNT staff will always consider the opinions, insights and directions given by key persons when making decisions on behalf of the beneficiary.

Trust beneficiaries may NOT get reimbursed from the trust for purchases already made. Any payments made from the trust account to the beneficiary are considered income for purposes of determining eligibility for means-tested benefits. OSNT policies prevent any payments that would adversely affect public benefits, so reimbursements to beneficiaries are not allowed.

A family member or support provider may purchase something for the beneficiary and then request reimbursement, but are not guaranteed the request will be approved. Reimbursements are approved on a case by case basis and must be pre-approved by the Program Director. No person should ever make a purchase for the beneficiary and expect to get reimbursed without discussing it with the Program Manager BEFORE the purchase is made. Reimbursements will not be made for any purchases made prior to the trust account being established, or for any purchases made more than 90 days prior to the reimbursement request date.

The rules and regulations that allow trust funds to be exempt as an asset for means-tested benefits specifically require that the trust is irrevocable, and that the funds are not controlled by the beneficiary. After establishing a pooled trust sub-account, control of the money, including full discretion over how it is spent, belongs to the Trust.

The State and Federal laws governing pooled trusts prevent the OSNT from approving any disbursements after the trust beneficiary dies. However, a trust beneficiary can use his or her OSNT account to pre-pay for any and all funeral expenses during his or her lifetime. We strongly encourage all trust beneficiaries to pre-pay all costs associated with their funeral, burial plot, headstone and other related expenses before their death. In general, the use of an irrevocable funeral trust for the purposes of pre-paying funeral costs will not affect Medicaid or SSI benefits.

In a donor-funded account, we may be able to pay for final expenses if all listed remainder beneficiaries agree in writing and understand that their payment of remainder funds will be reduced accordingly.

It depends. There are certain circumstances under which you may transfer funds into an existing ABLE account. For instance, if you would like to use funds to pay for housing or other basic needs that are not allowable disbursements from the pooled trust.

View our information Sheet: OSNT & ABLE – Working Together for You!

If you are unhappy with a decision, you may submit a written request for an appeal. If you need assistance in preparing an appeal, we are happy to help you. The first appeal is reviewed by the Executive Director of The Arc Oregon. If needed, there are two additional levels of appeal that are available through the Trust Committee and Board of Directors.

Closing an Account

No. By law, a sub-account with the Oregon Special Needs Trust is irrevocable. That means that once the account is established and funded, the funds may not be withdrawn or transferred, and the account cannot be closed by the beneficiary or donor. This is an important consideration when deciding whether or not a Special Needs Trust is an appropriate option. If an account is approved but no funds have been deposited, then the account can be closed simply by not depositing any funds and notifying us that no funds will be deposited in the future. 

If a similar pooled trust is operating in the state to which you move, and if that trust is willing to accept responsibility, a transfer can be made from our trust to the new trust. If the new trust is not willing to accept assignment, or if there is no similar trust, we will retain responsibility for administering your trust account.

Our intent is to spend the entire amount for your child’s benefit during his or her actuarial lifetime. If he or she lives to actuarial life expectancy, the trust should be completely depleted. Should any money remain, you, as the Donor, designate how this money is distributed in the Joinder Agreement.

There is no mandatory retention for third-party accounts. You may voluntarily elect to leave some or all of the remaining funds to the The Arc Oregon.

 

By law, any remaining funds in a beneficiary-funded account will be retained by the pooled trust and/or used to satisfy any Medicaid reimbursement requests. The OSNT has an agreement in place with the State of Oregon to retain 50% of the remaining fund balance. The other 50% will be used to satisfy any outstanding claim presented by Medicaid. If there are any funds remaining after satisfying the Medicaid payback rules, then those funds may be distributed to the remainder beneficiaries as noted on the Joinder Agreement.

Miscellaneous

Each year you will receive a 1041 tax document that you should provide to your CPA. If you do not normally file income taxes then it is not likely you will need to file taxes as a result of trust earnings, but we do recommend that you consult with a CPA or professional tax preparer to be sure. If you do owe income taxes, they can be paid from your sub-account.

No. We can only administer pooled trust sub-accounts within the OSNT.

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