Helping people with disabilities protect benefit eligibility since 1972



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a supplemental needs trust (SNT)?

A: A trust is a legal agreement whereby you give your money to another person or an entity, such as a not-for-profit like NYSARC, Inc., called a trustee. The trustee manages the funds for the benefit of a person called the Beneficiary.

A supplemental needs trust (SNT) is a special type of trust that allows people with disabilities to protect excess funds without risking their eligibility for benefits under Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and/or other means-tested government programs.

Q: What is a Pooled Trust?

A: A pooled trust is an irrevocable supplemental needs trust (SNT) that allows people with disabilities and disabling, chronic health conditions to meet the financial requirements to qualify and maintain eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and/or other means-tested government benefits.

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 elderly individuals 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: We offer information about each of our trust programs on this website. This Trust Comparison Chart may also be helpful. If you have additional questions or need assistance, 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 open a pooled trust with NYSARC for as little as $300. Other trust programs require larger initial deposits. For more information, review this helpful Trust Comparison Chart.

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, simply download and fill out the Joinder Agreement (trust application) for the trust you would like to establish from Trust Documents.

  • You must mail us an original, notarized copy of the completed Joinder Agreement
  • Provide copies of your Social Security Card and Social Security Award Letter or 1099
  • Send a minimum of $300 to open the account or pay the $200 one-time enrollment fee from your initial deposit

Some trusts require additional supporting documentation. For questions and more information, please call customer service at (518) 439-8323.

Mail the completed application with supporting documentation and a minimum deposit of $300 to:

NYSARC Trust Services
P.O. Box 1531 Latham, NY 12110

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 are the fees?

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 sole 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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