WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) and Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06) introduced H.R. 670 – the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015.
This legislation would enable a disabled individual’s assets to be held in a trust and used to supplement daily living expenses and care when government benefits alone are insufficient.
“The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015 is a fundamental issue of equal protection under the law. Currently, individuals facing life changing disease or disabilities are not treated fairly and this bill will begin to reverse those policies. My thanks to Representative Pallone for his continued partnership on this issue. Together, with advocates within the community, we aim to build a groundswell of support to have this injustice corrected,” said Thompson.
“The barriers that currently prohibit an individual from creating a Special Needs Trust, despite having the mental capacity to do so, have no basis in reality and place an undue burden on disabled individuals who are simply trying to make ends meet,” said Pallone. “The bill Congressman Thompson and I introduced today will eliminate these unnecessary barriers and enable individuals living with a disability to provide for their future financial stability.”
“I applaud Congressmen Thompson and Pallone for introducing bipartisan legislation to correct an obvious error in the law, to empower persons with disabilities to be in charge of their own lives to the extent possible,” said Amos Goodall, of State College-based law firm Goodall & Yuchak, P.C. and public policy advocate for the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
As the law is currently written, disabled individuals must have a parent, grandparent, guardian or the court create a Special Needs Trust. This, in turn, places an undue burden on the individual and results in additional caseloads in our already overworked court system.
The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act will allow individuals with disabilities, when appropriate, to create their own Special Needs Trust, which will empower them to be responsible for their own life decisions and have access to what is rightly theirs.