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David Ford Tells How the Special Needs Trust Foundation Helped Him Set Up a First-Party Special Needs Trust

David Ford lives independently in San Diego. He has asthma and diabetes, and receives SSI and Medi-Cal benefits. When his parents passed away they left their home and estate to their three children. When David acquired his share of the estate, Social Security Administration told him that he had two options to maintain his government benefits. #1 - To quickly spend the money down to under $2,000; or #2 - Set up a Special Needs Trust. In order to protect his inheritance he chose to set up the latter. He met with an attorney who had heard about the Special Needs Trust Foundation. Together they completed a Joinder Agreement and submitted it to the Foundation.

Why did you set up a First-Party Special Needs Trust?
I didn’t want to lose my inheritance or government benefits. I want it to last my lifetime and to be able to give any remainder money to my daughter.

Your trust has been funded for about one year. What types of purchases have been made, and what is your experience with the distribution process?
I’ve purchased a car, insurance, gas, maintenance and garage for the car, TV, cable bills, CDs and many other items. I’m also planning to go on a cruise to Alaska with my family. Once I learned about the distribution process it went smooth. Vivian Radam at Access To Independence is very helpful. She makes the requests on my behalf. Once they are approved, the Foundation sends out checks to pay for the items. When I have questions, my phone calls are quickly returned.

How does the special needs trust help you?
I am able to keep my inheritance. I want to make sure that it lasts a long time so that I’m able to enjoy it and leave any remainder money to my daughter.

What is your recommendation to other individuals?
I feel that I am very blessed. When you have money you don’t have to worry so much about finances. I now have money to purchase things that I wouldn’t have been able to. Depending on each person’s situation, I would recommend putting money from an inheritance into a Special Needs Trust if that is what is best for them. It has really helped me.

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