NAELA Commends Senate Finance Committee for Amendment to Sustainable Growth Rate Bill

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Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Filed as Amendment to Senate Finance Committee Legislation

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NAELA is grateful that the Senate Finance Committee members understand and validate the unjust obstacle that people with disabilities face by not being able to create their own special needs trusts...

The Senate Finance Committee recently passed the Sustainable Growth Rate Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2013, and with it, an amendment to include the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a top public policy priority for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

The amendment, which had the same language as S. 1672, was introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and Mike Enzi (R-WY) to allow individuals with disabilities to establish their own special needs trusts. Prior to the passage of this bill, the law only allowed special needs trusts to be established by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or court. The trusts would be used to pay for daily living expenses, special equipment, home care, and other necessities that government benefits do not cover.

“NAELA is grateful that the Senate Finance Committee members understand and validate the unjust obstacle that people with disabilities face by not being able to create their own special needs trusts. NAELA hopes the House and Senate will remain committed to moving forward with a SGR repeal bill that includes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act,” said NAELA President Howard S. Krooks, CELA, CAP.

A similar SGR bill was passed by the House Ways and Means Committee on December 12, but it did not include any of the Senate amendments. Neither the House nor the Senate bills have determined how to pay for the cost of modifying the SGR system. Members of the House Ways and Means Committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senate Finance Committee will work on the differences between bills and the funding issue over the next several months. The final budget agreement will likely include a temporary (3-month) patch to prevent the scheduled SGR cuts.

NAELA commends the Senate and House for working toward a bipartisan agreement on the SGR.

About NAELA
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance, and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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