Helping people with disabilities protect benefit eligibility since 1972



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a Pooled Trust?

A: Allowable under Federal and New York statutes, a pooled trust is a special type of irrevocable supplemental needs trust (SNT) in which a not-for-profit serving as trustee manages funds for the benefit of a person with a disability, called the trust beneficiary.

This allows people with disabilities and older adults with disabling chronic conditions to qualify and maintain financial eligibility for means-tested government benefits, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Funds deposited into the trust can then be used to pay for life-enhancing items and services that a person's benefits do not provide.

In New York, pooled trusts are administered by non-profit organizations and a financial institution serves as co-trustee. Separate sub-trust accounts are maintained for each trust beneficiary, however, funds are pooled for investment and management purposes. 

Q: Who is eligible?

A: Our trust programs are open to New York residents who are disabled as defined by Social Security Law Section 1614(A)(3) [42 USC §1382C(A)(3)]. This includes people with disabilities and older adults who are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for a period in excess of one year due to a medically determined physical or mental impairment/s.

Q: How do I know which trust I need?

A: Review the Trust Comparison Chart or visit the Our Trusts page for more information about each of our trust programs. If you have questions, please contact us and we will gladly help you determine the best trust for you or your loved one.

Q: How much money do I need to establish a trust?

A: You can establish a first party pooled trust with NYSARC for as little as $300. Other trust programs require larger initial deposits. See the applicable fee schedule or reference the Trust Comparison Chart to compare our trust programs.

Q: How do I establish a NYSARC Pooled Trust?

A: A pooled trust is easy and inexpensive to establish because approved trust documents are already in place. To get started, complete the Joinder Agreement (trust application) for the trust you would like to establish from Trust Documents.

Items currently required when submitting an application:

  1. Completed, original Joinder Agreement (signed and notarized)
  2. Copies of your Social Security Card and Social Security Award Letter or SSA-1099
  3. Fund the trust with a minimum of $300, by check or one-time electronic deposit

If someone other than the account Beneficiary is signing, you must also submit:

  • Copy of POA or Guardianship Decree, if signed by agent or guardian
  • Copy of the Court Order, if account is established pursuant to a Court Order

For further instructions on where to send your application and initial deposit, visit How to Establish a Pooled Trust.

We are here to help guide you through the enrollment process. Please call customer service at (518) 439-8323 for assistance. 

Q: How quickly can I open a trust?

A: With benefits at risk, we understand the need to open a trust quickly. Most of our trusts can be opened within 48 hours. To expedite trust approvals, contact us as early as possible and we will work with you to get an account set up as quickly as possible.

Q: Do I need an attorney?

A: We encourage you to consult with an attorney or other professional before making a decision. However, depending on your situation, an attorney may not be required to join one a NYSARC pooled trust.

Q: What does the trust cost?

A: Depending on the trust you select, fees and other expenses may apply. Fees are charged according to the trust fee schedule:

Our monthly fees cover all trust activity with no hidden fees or annual renewal fees. This low fee structure keeps costs down so that you can get the most benefit from your trust. For more details, contact us! We are happy to go over the specific fees for the trust you are interested in.

Q: What can my pooled trust pay for?

Trust funds in a first party SNT are for the primary benefit of the trust beneficiary and distributions must be paid to third parties: an individual, such as a family member or friend, or a licensed business. The trust cannot pay the beneficiary directly or buy gifts for others. 

The benefits you receive typically determine what your trust can pay for. For a person only receiving Community Medicaid, the trust will often pay for living expenses such as:

  • A rent or mortgage payment
  • Property maintenance or taxes
  • Utilities, cable, cell phone, and other bills
  • Other personal needs

For more information, please reference the Information and Procedures document for your trust. 

Q: What happens to trust funds when the Beneficiary passes?

A: According to Federal law, a pooled trust terminates upon the death of the Beneficiary. Any funds remaining in the trust at that time must be retained by the trust to further its mission or be paid back to the State(s) that provided Medicaid services in an amount equal to any lien.

However, we also offer trust programs that allow any funds, or a portion of the funds, that remain in a trust account upon the death of a Beneficiary to be distributed as designated within your trust agreement.

If you have questions about the trust you are considering, give us a call (518) 439-8323. 

Q: How to get the most benefit from a trust?

A: NYSARC encourages the use of trust funds to purchase appropriate, life-enhancing items and services.

To get the most benefit from a trust, we recommend that you make regular disbursement requests and contact us with any questions you have about what the trust can pay for. Also, keep in contact with us so that we are aware of life changing events that may affect a trust. 

Do you have other questions? Please give us a call at 518-439-8323.


Q: How do I open a third party or individual trust?

To establish a NYSARC Trust (Unrestricted Fund) for a loved one or to create an individual trust, you will need to work with an attorney to draft a trust document. Contact us for more information.

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