Pooled Special Needs Trust

What Is a Pooled Special Needs Trust?

A pooled special needs trust is an irrevocable supplemental needs trust (SNT) set up to efficiently administer a trust on behalf of individual beneficiaries with disabilities. This allows older adults and people with disabilities who have access to excess funds and assets to remain eligible for certain means-tested government programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

Pooled special needs trusts contain combined assets from multiple beneficiaries that are administered and invested by a nonprofit organization. Pooling the funds reduces administrative fees and provides the beneficiaries more investment opportunities. The funds for each beneficiary are placed within a sub-account and beneficiaries will receive earnings in proportion to their share of the total amount.

Benefits of a Pooled Special Needs Trust

The availability of more assets than there would be available from a single beneficiary creates opportunities for a wider array of investments, allowing for greater diversification and lower risk.

Administration and annual maintenance charges are lower for individuals, as they are split among the different beneficiaries.

Administrators of the nonprofits that invest the funds are more knowledgeable about changing benefit rules, applicable fees, available resources, and rules regarding programs like SSI and Medicare.

If you need timely and accurate distribution, our highly skilled team will ensure that all approved distributions are paid within 24 hours via electronic payment or check.

Quiz: Find Your Fit

Is a Pooled Special Needs Trust Right for You?

The major difference between a regular pooled trust vs. a special needs trust is that the latter is designed for donors whose beneficiaries are older adults or individuals with disabilities who wish to remain eligible for government benefits.

The beneficiary, a parent, a grandparent or the court may establish a first party sub-account funded initially with resources belonging to the beneficiary. Someone other than the beneficiary may also establish and fund a third party sub-accrenount within the pooled special needs trust. The assets used to fund a third party sub-account must have always been owned by someone else and not the beneficiary.

Our questionnaire can help you discover if a pooled special needs trust is right for you. Click the button below to fill out the questionnaire, or keep reading for more helpful information.

Take the Find Your Fit Questionnaire

How Does a Pooled Special Needs Trust Work?

If a pooled special needs trust is right for you, then Ren can get you started. We will provide you with timely and accurate distribution processing, online access for all parties, tax return preparation, sub-accounting, and customized reporting to establish the first party sub-account of your pooled special needs trust.

With online access for beneficiaries, trustees, and staff, Ren’s proprietary software allows users to view information through a website branded specific to the organization.

Beneficiaries & interested parties can:

  • View account holdings and transaction history.
  • View statements and correspondence.
  • Enter distribution requests and upload documentation.

Staff can:

  • View all of the above.
  • Review, approve, or deny distribution requests.
  • Monitor current status of all distributions.
  • View executive dashboard. (summary of all accounts)


According to the Social Security guidelines, adults aged 18 and older must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s). Children under the age of 18 must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations. In all cases the condition(s) either can be expected to result in death or have lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

An initial contribution of any size can be used to establish a first or third party account. Once the account has been established, subsequent contributions can be made in any amount.
There is the possibility that a third party’s contribution may be deemed too small to warrant the cost of setting up a standalone trust, in which case it would be recommended to place the assets in the first party pooled trust.

Upon the beneficiary’s death, all or part of the funds remaining in a first party pooled trust may be retained by the trust, depending on the state. The remaining are subject to Medicaid payback, as reimbursement for medical assistance paid on behalf of the beneficiary. Funds remaining in a third party sub-account of the pooled special needs trust are distributed to any successor beneficiaries named in the trust’s joinder agreement.

Anyone can contribute to a first party pooled trust once it has been established. Considering the Medicaid payback requirement, a standalone first party or third party sub-account may be preferable.