If a beneficiary receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Trustee, like CPT, is not permitted to give individuals cash reimbursements for the purchases he/she makes for himself/herself even if he/she has a receipt. Why? The reason is because if the trustee reimburses the beneficiary it will be considered unearned income which could result in the beneficiary’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to be reduced dollar-for-dollar.

It is vital for the Trustee, to scrutinize, and ensure every request submitted and disbursement made does not place an individual’s benefits in jeopardy or violate the rules of Social Security Administration (SSA).

Examples of How CPT Can Make Disbursements without Negatively Impacting SSI:

  1. CPT can make payment for the desired goods/appliances on behalf of the beneficiary with the client’s trust funds. For example, if a beneficiary submits a completed disbursement request form for purchasing a computer from amazon with the exact name or print out of what item(s) is desired attached to the disbursement request form, the purchase can be made for the client. The items will be delivered to the beneficiary directly to his/her place of residence.
  2. CPT can pay for services on behalf of the client with the client’s trust funds. For example, if immediate need for paying a cell phone bill is needed, a beneficiary would submit a completed disbursement request form with proper statement/invoice and the number to call to make prompt payment. CPT could make a payment over the phone on behalf of the client.
  3. CPT can reimburse a third party who pays for a service/good on behalf of the beneficiary. For example, if a beneficiary’s relative or friend pays for the beneficiary’s movie ticket, CPT can reimburse the relative/advocate if a completed disbursement request form and proper receipts/documents are submitted.
  4. CPT can pay for a beneficiary’s credit card bills. If a beneficiary submits a completed disbursement request form, credit card statement, and receipts for each transaction on the credit card statement the credit card can be paid for with the beneficiary’s trust funds. CPT will review each transaction and make sure that the transactions made do not violate Social Security Administration (SSA) and/or Medicaid rules. In addition, transactions must be for the direct benefit of the beneficiary only. (CPT only administers First Party Special Needs Trusts, where the direct benefit rule applies.)

​If you are a beneficiary and would like more information or have a question regarding which disbursements would be permitted to be made without jeopardizing your benefits please call our Trust Administration Team at 877.695.6444. The above list provides examples and is not intended to be an exhaustive list.

​Resources/Further Reading:
https://attorney.elderlawanswers.com/how-to-make-distributions-to-an-snt-beneficiary-without-disrupting-their-ssi-15916?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=ASNP%2BArticle
http://specialneedsanswers.com/credit-card-care-for-people-with-special-needs-12921
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.21/handbook-2136.html
Urbatsch, K., & Fuller, M. (2016). Administering the California special needs trust: A guide for trustees and those who advise them (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: IUniverse.