My Child Receives SSI – Why Should I Set Up a Trust?

Planning for the FutureRecently, I have had a couple of parents say, “My child is on the Medicaid Waiver and receives SSI. Why would she need a trust or extra money? She does fine now.”

My response to this question is always the same. “On average, how much per week/month/year, do you give your child for things his or her income cannot cover?” Most parents, when they really think about it, give funds in one way or another to their child to help out with those extra things in life – Special Olympics fees and expenses, a new dress or winter coat, “field trips” with others from their day program, housekeeping items, groceries, help with a utility bill, etc.

My next question is, “Who will help with those expenses when you are unable to help?”

The Arc of Indiana Master Trust gives families the peace of mind that their loved ones quality of life does not have to change with their absence.  Establishing a trust gives the assurance that loved ones will not only have the things they need, but the ability to participate in activities they enjoy and purchase the “extras” they want to enjoy.

The Trust is not meant to replace government benefits; rather, it is designed to supplement benefits in a way that creates security and a quality of life that might not otherwise be possible.

One thing parents of an adult child with a disability may want to do is to keep track of those extra things they purchase over a period of several months.  This can help in thinking about how to plan for those extras to continue once you are not there to provide them.

Brandi Davis is The Arc Master Trust Assistant Director