Effective January 1, 2017, Defined Benefit Program members and Cash Balance
Benefit Program participants may designate a special needs trust or supplemental
needs trust, as an option or annuity beneficiary to provide an ongoing
benefit to a disabled individual.
Assembly Bill 1875 also allows participants to change an existing option
or annuity beneficiary to a special needs trust without penalty, if the
trust’s beneficiary is the same as the previously named option or
Previously, option beneficiaries could only be a person or persons. If
members or participants wished to provide a lifetime benefit to a disabled
person, they could not do so without jeopardizing that individual’s
eligibility for other public benefits.
A special needs trust shields the assets and income of disabled individuals
and protects their eligibility for other public benefits and services.
Ivette M. Santaella, partner at the law firm of Blackwell, Santaella &
Jahangiri, LLP, located in the tri-valley areas of San Ramon, Danville
and Dublin, can assist you with questions on Special Needs Planning and
Special Needs Trusts.