At Rubin Law, we limit our practice to the areas of Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Probate for families of children with special needs and adults with special needs. With our laser focus, we thoroughly understand the complexities of the various benefit systems and the related terms and acronyms.
Families of special needs individuals are sometimes overwhelmed or confused by the labyrinth of convoluted terms related to special needs benefits, programs, and planning. We have compiled this two-part reference guide to help explain some of these terms. Be sure to read Part I of our terms guide in our Blog section for more definitions.
PUNS – Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services is an Illinois database that stores information about individuals who have developmental disabilities and may potentially need services. The State uses the database to determine which individuals are eligible for services when funding becomes available. For more information about PUNS, be sure to read this article.
CILA – Community Integrated Living Arrangement is a place such as a group home or other living space where 8 or fewer unrelated adults with developmental disabilities live together. The Division of Developmental Disabilities is responsible for supervising these arrangements.
HBSS – Home-Based Support Services are also known as Adult Medicaid Waiver Home-Based Support Services. These are personalized services, that allow recipients to stay in a private home setting. All services must directly benefit the individual and must be specifically related to their disability. Some examples include training for unpaid caregivers, adaptive equipment, modifications to a home or vehicle, and adult daycare and nursing care, among other services including compensating parents as personal support workers for the support that they provide their adult children.
3rd Party Special Needs Trust – This type of trust is commonly used to leave property for the benefit of a loved one with special needs. The named trustee must carefully use trust funds to support the person with special needs avoiding anything that would cause the beneficiary to lose benefits. The beneficiary cannot own the property and cannot have direct access to trust funds. For details about which expenses can be paid from this type of trust, be sure to read this article.
1st Party Pay Back Trust – This trust deals with assets owned by a person with special needs. These funds might be acquired through:
- a personal injury judgment
- retirement benefits
- a divorce decree
- life insurance benefits, or
If a person with special needs owns any significant amount of property directly, their eligibility for government benefits can be affected. Instead, by creating a 1st party trust, following strict government rules, those assets can be used to benefit the person with special needs without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits. These trusts are generally subject to “payback” rules requiring state reimbursement for medical expenses after the trust beneficiary dies.
ABLE Accounts – This is a savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. The beneficiary of the account is the account owner, and income earned by the account is not taxed. Anyone can contribute to the account, but all contributions must be post-tax dollars and will not be tax deductible for purposes of federal taxes. However, Illinois allows for state income tax deductions up to a certain amount.
Further like 1st Party Pay Back Trusts there is a “payback” to the state for Medicaid waiver services paid on behalf of the beneficiary upon the beneficiary’s death. For more information read our recent detailed ABLE Account article.
Rubin Law is Here For You
If you have a loved one with special needs and want to protect their access to government benefits, and their personal assets, let us explain the various options that apply to your special situation. Trust the specialists at Rubin Law to create a sound financial plan that provides the benefits your loved one deserves while providing peace of mind to the entire family.
Rubin Law is the only law firm in Illinois exclusively limited to providing compassionate special needs legal and future planning to guide our fellow Illinois families of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illness down the road to peace of mind. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-TO-RUBIN.