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Why A Pooled Special Needs Trust?

While there are several types of Special Needs Trusts, a Pooled Trust is a self-settled trust that is funded with the assets of the Individual (Trust Beneficiary) who is of any age and is determined to be disabled.* (see definition of disability).

 A Pooled Trust is considered an exempt resource by means tested government programs and will not be subject to a transfer penalty if it meets the statutory requirements.

The Person for who the money is being managed is called the Trust Beneficiary.

Examples of Trust Beneficiaries:


  •  Persons with disabilities under age 65 * (see definition of disability) 

  •  Elderly Persons over 65 (who are not on or applying for SSI)

  •  Persons living in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities or at Home with care givers.

  •  Persons on Medicaid or Social Security Disability Programs or other Programs

  •  Persons who receive court settlements or inheritances that would otherwise disqualify them from   public benefits.


What is the definition of Disability?

*Disability is defined at 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3).  The definition of disabled is extensive. In summary an individual is defined as disabled if “he / she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve month.”   The statute requires that the physical or mental impairment be so severe that not only can the individual not do his/her previous work but “cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.” 

How Does One Join the A.F.T.E.R. Pooled SNT?

The A.F.T.E.R. Pooled Special Needs Trust is the Master Trust which outlines the purpose and guidelines of the Trust. This Trust is not signed or altered by the Trust Beneficiary. It remains the same for every member.


Disabled individuals who wish to join the Trust will first complete and sign the Joinder Agreement. The Joinder Agreement is specific to each Individual and it is where intentions are written with regard to expenses, payments, Beneficiary Advocates, financial arrangements after death, etc.


Competent Individuals shall sign their own Joinder Agreements and deposit income and / or assets which are their own. Once an individual joins the pooled Trust they are referred to as the Trust Beneficiary. If the intended Trust Beneficiary is incompetent or unable to sign, someone with the legal authority to act on their behalf, as described in the federal statute, may complete and sign the Joinder Agreement.


The Trustee then opens an individual sub–account with the bank holding the Pooled Trust funds. The Trust Beneficiary or their legal representative may then deposit the Trust Beneficiary’s income and/ or assets into the Trust. Income can be directly deposited to the sub-account.


Once the account is established and funded, the Trustee will pay the Trust Beneficiary’s authorized monthly bills and other expenses as required from the Trust. The Trust Beneficiary or their Beneficiary Advocate may make written requests for allowable expenses to be paid, as needed. All payments made from the Trust must be for goods or services outlined in the Joinder agreement and /or for the betterment of the quality of life for the Trust Beneficiary.

How May The Trust Funds May Be Used ?
 How Can the Trust Funds Not Be Used?

Pooled Trust funds are only for the Trust Beneficiary.

Funds are not authorized for:

  • Gifts to others

  • Support of others

  • Charitable Donations during the lifetime of the Trust Beneficiary

** When a government program or insurance is already paying for medical, food or housing expenses, additional payments made by the Trust could disqualify the Trust Beneficiary for program benefits. There can be no duplication of services.

 Who May Determine How the Money is Used?

In order to meet statutory requirements, the Trust must be managed by a bonafide non- profit organization. The Directors of A.F.T.E.R. serve as the Trustee for their members.


The Individual and/ or their Beneficiary Advocate(s) designated on the Joinder Agreement may make requests for services and products to be paid from the Trust. The ultimate decision regarding payment rests solely with the Trustee.  Payment is made directly to the vendor.


Self determination and quality of life is at the core of any successful program serving the elderly and disabled. The A.F.T.E.R. Pooled Trust Joinder Agreement includes provisions for the Trust Beneficiary and their designated Beneficiary Advocate(s) to list the anticipated expenses and uses for the Trust funds. Any questions or concerns regarding uses for the funds may be addressed prior to the establishment of the Trust and the Joinder Agreement may be customized to meet the needs of the Trust Beneficiary within statutory guidelines.

Pooled Trust funds may only be used for the care and benefit of the Trust Beneficiary.

Funds may be used to pay bills for certain living expenses, utilities, medical expenses, and other quality of life purchases and services. Examples of services and products which may be paid by the Trust are:


  • Private Home Health Care Services ** see exceptions

  • Private Health Insurance Premiums

  • Legal fees

  • Guardianship fees

  • Care Management services

  • Nursing Home or Assisted Living private room rate differentials

  • Long Term Care Insurance Premiums

  • Rehabilitation Services and Equipment  (not covered by other benefits)

  • Out of Pocket medical and dental expenses not covered by govt. benefits

  • Transportation to / from appointments and events

  • Vehicle Purchase and Maintenance expenses

  • Dietary Supplements

  • Food & Shelter (rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.)**

  • Maintenance of items used to support the Beneficiary (house, vehicle, car)

  • Events, Travel, Trips to see family or enhance quality of life

  • Purchase of goods and services that add pleasure to life (furniture, decorations , telephones & service, television, entertainment, memberships)

 What Happens if an Individual Beneficiary Utilizes All of the   Money in their Pooled Trust Account?

Because A.F.T.E.R. does not require a minimum deposit to join the Trust, it is very possible for Trust Beneficiaries to deposit a small amount of money and use it all within their lifetime. When the money is gone, the sub account will be closed. If a future deposit is anticipated, the account will be held open with a minimum balance.

 Are Financial Reports Statements Available?

A.F.T.E.R. provides monthly statements to each Trust Beneficiary and their Beneficiary Advocates. While the funds are available to be “pooled “ together, A.F.T.E.R. creates separate sub-accounts for each Trust Beneficiary.

 What Happens to the Funds After the Death of the Trust Beneficiary?

A Pooled Trust, by law, is a Medicaid “pay back” trust. If the Trust Beneficiary received medical services paid for by Medicaid, the Trust must first “pay back” Medicaid for the medical portion of the services delivered. If there are funds left after Medicaid is reimbursed, designated heirs may receive the remaining funds. If the Trust Beneficiary never received medical services from Medicaid, no pay back to Medicaid is required.


Medicaid Payback requirements can be avoided if the following arrangements are entered into the Joinder Agreement when the trust is established:

  • The funds may be retained in the Trust as a charitable contribution to help other Pooled Trust members.

  • The funds may be deposited into an individual Pooled Trust account for a specific person who is also a member of the Pooled Trust.

  • The funds may be donated to a registered charity.

What Laws and Regulations  Govern Special Needs Trusts?
  • Federal Statute – 42 U.S.C 1396

  • Federal Policy – POMS

  • State Statute – F.S.736 Trust Code

  • Administrative Regulations Administrative Regulations - FAC

  • State Policy – Florida Medicaid Manual

 What Does It Cost To Join The A.F.T.E.R. Pooled Trust?

Pooled Trusts are a cost effective alternative to costly Individual Trust Services for which many banks require a minimum deposit of one million dollars. Our Pooled Trust has no minimum deposit and our low, one time administrative fee to open the account is currently starting at $750.00 and up, depending upon amount of deposit (enrollment fee waived for transfer of existing SNT to A.F.T.E.R. SNT).

Please read our Joinder Agreement for full disclosure of monthly service/ bill paying fees, tax preparation and account closure expenses.

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