Frequently Asked Questions


A Special Needs Trust is a legal tool designed to enhance the quality of life for an individual with a disability. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 is a federal law stating individuals with a disability, as defined by Social Security Administration, can establish a Pooled Special Needs Trust and still maintain eligibility for means-tested government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This law allows the disabled individual to place their money into the irrevocable Pooled Special Needs Trust, as long as that trust is managed by a nonprofit organization such as New Leaf. By design, the funds placed into a Special Needs Trust are not considered to be a countable asset and should not jeopardize eligibility for means-tested government benefits. A Special Needs Trust is intended to offer supplemental care beyond what the government programs will provide.

New Leaf National Foundation administers two types of trusts:

  • Self-Settled Pooled Special Needs Trust – A trust that is established with the beneficiary’s own funds. This type of trust contains a Medicaid Payback provision.
  • Third-Party Special Needs Trust – A trust that is established by a third party, such as a grandparent, parent, relative, or friend for the benefit of a loved one with a disability.


In order to qualify for a Special Needs Trust, the individual will need to meet the criteria for disabled under the Social Security Administration’s definition.

New Leaf has competitive rates that are in line with industry standards. We do not charge a per-transaction fee. We do not have transaction limits. Please contact us for additional information.

New Leaf utilizes a conservative investment plan to minimize risk to our beneficiaries. Each beneficiary has their individual sub account that holds their specific cash balance. We then “pool” or combine together the sub accounts for investment purposes and to reduce the administrative fees. Based upon the beneficiary’s share of the principal, the earnings are then reinvested into the sub account. The financial institution will maintain the financial record for each sub account reflecting this activity. Please consult with a tax professional regarding risks associated with invested funds.

Once we have received the check, the check will be deposited in a timely manner.

Once your account has been funded, you will be assigned to a specific Disbursement Coordinator.

Please contact our office. It is important we maintain accurate contact information for the funded account.


Yes, a properly complete Disbursement Request Form is an essential tool in helping you to maintain eligibility. It also allows for clear communication of your supplemental needs to your Disbursement Coordinator.

A Special Needs Trust can be used in many ways to enhance the quality of life for a beneficiary by providing for your supplemental needs. Your Disbursement Coordinator is a great source for identifying approveable expenses. Some examples include clothing, furniture, transportation, hobbies, eye and dental care, computer/software, educational expenses, etc. You may refer to a more extensive list of goods and services here.

The first step is to contact your Disbursement Coordinator to obtain a Vehicle Request Packet. This packet will identify what we need for review. Please note: Each state has rules and guidelines, particularly concerning minor’s trusts, that we must abide by in order to maintain the beneficiary’s eligibility to receive means-tested government benefits. Our Vehicle Purchase Department will work with you and the seller.

Unfortunately, a Special Needs Trust has a specific rule called the Sole Benefit Rule. This means that any funds spent out of the trust must be for the sole benefit of the named beneficiary. In order to maintain eligibility for means-tested government benefits, each trust must follow this rule. Please see your Declaration of Trust for further information.

A Special Needs Trust is designed to assist with your supplemental needs. It is not designed to cover in-kind maintenance and support expenses, such as rent, utilities, and food.