On August 21, 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law an amendment to New York Soc. Security Law § 366[b][iii] that enables a disabled individual to create and fund his or her own first party special needs trust (“SNT”). The newly revised Soc. Security Law § 336 has added the words “by the individual” to the list of parties permitted to create a first party SNT. It now reads: “…a trust containing the assets of such a disabled individual which was established for the benefit of the disabled individual while such individual was under sixty-five years of age by THE INDIVIDUAL, a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or court of competent jurisdiction…” SSL § 336[b][iii]. In effect, the amendment disregards the corpus and income of a trust established by a disabled person for his or her own benefit from income and resources considered for medical assistance eligibility.
This long-awaited amendment, resulting from an immense advocacy effort by the New York State Bar Association Elder Law & Special Needs Committee, now conforms with the parallel federal statute permitting self-created and funded SNTs. For more information on the federal legislation, check out our recent publication here.