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Countable Assets and Distributions With Special Needs Trusts

When administering a special needs trust, it is important to act carefully in order to not interfere with a beneficiary’s ability to continue receiving certain benefits. For example, any individual who owns more than $2,000 worth of countable assets is not eligible for Supplemental Security Income. As a result, the trustee should not give the beneficiary any countable assets worth more than that amount.

Understanding Countable Assets and Special Needs Trusts

What are countable assets? The following is an overview:

  1. Cash
  2. Checking and savings accounts
  3. Stocks and bonds
  4. Uniform Transfers to Minor Accounts
  5. Investment Accounts
  6. IRA, 401(k), and other retirement assets
  7. Vacation homes, rental properties, or other real estate that is not the beneficiary’s primary residence

It is important to note that if the trustee gives the beneficiary assets worth less than $2,000, the beneficiary’s grant of SSI benefits will be reduce in the month that the income is received. The amount of the grant is generally reduced dollar for dollar. The SSI program relies upon the reports submitted by the beneficiary to the agency as well as the IRS, banks, and other parties in order to monitor whether the beneficiary has more than $2,000 worth of countable assets.

With so much at stake, we encourage you to reach out for guidance when it comes to the administration of this type of complex and highly technical trust. We are happy to help. We encourage you to initiate a live chat with one of our representatives to schedule a consultation.

Beneficiary (noun):

A person who benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy. This includes heir, heiress, inheritor, legatee; recipient, receiver, payee, donee, assignee; devisee, grantee.

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Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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