Glossary

Some of the language contained in Supplemental Needs Trusts is not easily understood by those who are just be introduced to this subject.  We have provided a glossary of terms and acronyms to make it easier for individuals with disabilities, parents, family members and agency staff to understand some of the language in the documents.

Assets
Items of value which are considered when determining if an individual with disabilities qualifies for MA or SSI. Assets include cash, bank accounts, cash value of life insurance, savings bonds, real estate, etc.

Beneficiary
The individual who receives the benefits of the assets held in trust by the trustee.

Corporate Fiduciary
A corporation which accepts the role of a fiduciary whether as a guardian or trustee. The corporation, rather than a person, has the responsibility to distribute assets on behalf of the beneficiary according to the trust document. There are for profit corporate fiduciaries such as banks and insurance companies, which operate to make a profit, and not for profit corporate fiduciaries, such as Life Enrichment Trust, which operates for a charitable purpose and not for profit.

MA
An abbreviation for Medical Assistance in Pennsylvania, which is called Medicaid at the federal level. It provides medical and hospital benefits to eligible beneficiaries. It is a needs based program with income and asset limitations. Primary recipients are individuals receiving SSI or individuals qualifying for other welfare benefits.

SSI
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides income to individuals with disabilities, as defined, who also meet the income and asset limitations.

SSDI
Social Security Diisability Insurance provides income to individuals who have worked in recent years and are now disabled and/or their beneficiaries. The individual qualifies based on working sufficient quarters prior to becoming disabled. The child of a wage earner may become eligible for SSDI if the child became disabled prior to age 22 and the wage earner is deceased, disabled or retired.

Self-Created Trust
A trust that is created or set up by the individual with disabilities. Due to the authorizing law, a pooled trust can be self created but a payback trust cannot.

Self-Funded Trust
A trust that is funded with assets of the individual with disabilities. This can be either a pooled or payback trust but cannot be a third party funded trust.

Spend down
Refers to the period of time when an otherwise qualified individual with disabilities is ineligible for MA and/or SSI due to having assets in excess of the statutory limit. The excess funds may only be spent for approved expenses in order to qualify.

Statutory Basis
A specific law that authorizes the action. Pooled and Payback trusts are authorized by specific laws whereas third party funded trusts are based on court decisions.

Trustee
The person or entity who holds assets on behalf of another person is called the trustee. The trustee has specific statutory obligations in addition to the obligations set out in the trust document.

Waiver Funding
A mixture of federal and state funds that are used to provide medical, residential, and treatment supports for qualifying individuals with disabilities. The individuals must qualify for MA in order to be eligible.