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Special Needs Trust

Managed by Jewish Family & Children’s Service and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the CJP Disabilities Trust offers ways to set aside funds for a person with disabilities while preserving his or her eligibility for essential government benefits including Social Security and MassHealth.

CJP Disabilities Trust

The primary purpose of this special needs trust is to provide a lifetime of personal advocacy for each beneficiary, protecting his/her future well-being when family members may be unable to do so themselves. Personal Advocacy, funded by the CJP Trust, includes quarterly visits with the beneficiary and his/her service providers to make sure the beneficiary is receiving needed care, to monitor progress, and to purchase a variety of goods and services that enhance the beneficiary’s quality of life. Each beneficiary’s personal advocate also ensures that the beneficiary receives any additional benefits or services for which he/she may become eligible and continuously advocates to improve quality of life and quality of care.

The CJP Disabilities Trust is a “pooled” trust, meaning that funds placed in the Trust are combined for investment purposes, minimizing management fees. Each beneficiary has an individual account from which funds are drawn to pay authorized expenses.

Frequently Asked Questions


How may I fund the Trust?

The Trust can accept only cash assets. Any assets other than cash must be sold and converted into cash before the Trust can accept it. The Trust can be established through the sponsor’s last will and testament and funded upon the sponsor’s passing.

Is there a minimum balance to set up a Trust?

This Trust requires an opening balance of $25,000 to establish the Trust. The Sponsor can take up to three years to establish and fully fund the Trust or it can be funded upon the Sponsor’s passing as specified in their last will and testament.

Are there fees?

There is a one-time enrollment fee of $400 to establish the Trust. Once the Trust has been established, there is an annual administration fee of 2% of the fund balance up to a balance of $200,000 and a 1.5% fee of funds over a balance of $200,000.  There is a fee of $500 to close the Trust upon the death of a beneficiary.

How are bills paid from the Trust?

Invoices are submitted to JF&CS and paid directly and promptly (typically once a week). The Trust can reimburse a third party for out-of-pocket expenses; submit those receipts to JF&CS and include a brief explanation of the expense.

What expenses will the Trust cover?

The Trust will cover expenses that the beneficiary’s public benefits do not cover depending on the size of the account. When establishing the Trust, a Service Plan between the Sponsor, Beneficiary, and JF&CS is created to specify the services/goods the Trust can purchase.

What expenses will the Trust NOT cover?

The Trust will not pay for benefits covered by MassHealth (Medicaid) or other health insurance. Typically the Trust will not pay for housing, utilities, or food costs without jeopardizing eligibility for state and federal benefits.

Why should I establish a Trust?

Ask yourself the question, “What will happen to my family member with disabilities after I am gone?” A trust allows you to put aside money to provide for your loved one with disabilities after you are no longer able to. Families can make a financial investment now to help provide a lifetime of personal advocacy services for the family member with a disability.

Will my family member lose SSI and/or MassHealth?

The CJP Trust is designed to preserve eligibility for benefits such as SSI and MassHealth. The CJP Disabilities Trust is a “safe-harbor” trust that allows a beneficiary to shelter funds while still qualifying for public benefits.

Who can set up a Trust?

Anyone can set up this Trust for someone with a disability.

Will I need an attorney to set up a Trust account?

This Trust is a legal document. Neither CJP nor JF&CS can provide you with legal advice. Therefore it is highly recommended that you retain a lawyer to work with you and JF&CS and CJP.

Can I close the Trust after it has been established?

Generally the Trust is irrevocable, but in extraordinary circumstances the Trust may be dissolved with the trustee’s approval. For planning purposes one should assume this is a life long decision.

What happens to the money left in the Trust when the beneficiary dies?

In this Trust 50% of the remaining funds revert to CJP and JF&CS and are used to enhance the services to other beneficiaries of the Trust. The remaining funds go to individuals or entities as chosen by the sponsor.

Why should I choose the CJP Disabilities Trust?

JF&CS has been providing human services and health care programs since 1864. We design each service with the goal of enhancing independence and quality of life. JF&CS draws upon its various disabilities programs and as a constituent agency of CJP, we can utilize specialized services of other agencies. We work closely with many other organizations that serve children and adults with disabilities. While we are proud of our services, we encourage you to look at all financial plans.

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.

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