A Special Needs Trust or sometimes called a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) is a type of trust to provide for a beneficiary with special needs without disqualifying him or her from public benefits (like Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medical, Medicaid, Arizona Long Term Care System).

The Special Needs Trust clearly states that the purpose is not to replace benefits and is only to supplement the beneficiaries needs that are not covered by the benefits. This means the trustee must pay special attention to the amount of income or assets a beneficiary is allowed to have and not make any distributions that would disqualify them.

Without a Special Needs Trust the beneficiary could lose his or her Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid (ALTCS) benefits if the inheritance received increases his or her income or estate value. The Special Needs Trust names a trustee to manage the assets for the beneficiary and allows for discretion to supplement his or her needs.