Like all your relatives, your family members with special needs play an important role in your life. While you recognize the limitations that his or her disabilities entail, you want your loved one to have a long, healthy and happy life. Of course, financial support is often necessary for helping those with special needs pay for everyday expenses. 

Many disabled individuals qualify for need-based public assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid. Unfortunately, though, if you give money to a disabled relative, he or she may have too many assets to meet program requirements. A special needs trust covers the cost of additional expenses beyond the scope of public assistance. Typically, these types of trusts do not interfere with aid eligibility. 

Here are three individuals who may benefit from a special needs trust:

1. A son who has permanent disabilities

Perhaps the most common beneficiary of a special needs trust is a person who has permanent disabilities that restrict his or her ability to work. If your child does not have sufficient work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability, he or she may be eligible for needs-based assistance. A special needs trust allows you to improve your child’s quality of life without harming his or her eligibility for government benefits.  

2. A daughter who has possible future disabilities

If your child has a chronic or progressive medical disorder, he or she may have no current problem meeting financial needs. That may change in the future, however. By establishing a special needs trust now, you reduce the possibility of eligibility interference. 

3. A brother who mismanages money

With some illnesses, such as early-onset dementia, managing money is difficult. Alternatively, you may have a healthy relative who is simply bad with finances. Creating a special needs trust gives your relative access to financial resources. The trust’s trustee, though, authorizes expenditures, helping to protect funds from mismanagement or third-party theft. 

As a caring person, you want your loved one to have the funds he or she needs to thrive. If you want to protect your relative’s interests, though, setting up a special needs trust may be the right way to lend a helping hand.