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Special Needs Trust for a Traumatic Brain Injury Case

Planning for receipt of large sums of money also raises serious questions concerning eligibility for government benefits which are dependent upon financial circumstances. Programs such as Medicaid have income restrictions placed upon individuals. If funds are received without considering Medicaid implications, a claimant runs the risk of become disqualified from Medicaid and thus losing these important and valuable benefits.



A Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) sometimes known as a Special Needs Trust is a trust that is designed to supplement Medicaid benefits instead of eliminating or replacing these benefits. The trust is set up to provide for a claimant’s needs that are not provided for by Medicaid and to supplement those needs that Medicaid does provide for.


  • At the time that the trust is set up, if Medicaid has spent any money for the benefit of the claimant, they first must be reimbursed before the money can go into the trust.
  • At the time that the claimant dies, before any money that remains in the trust can be distributed to beneficiaries, Medicaid must be paid back for the amounts they spent during the lifetime of the trust.
  • A trust can only be created for a disabled person under the age of 65.

Michael Kaplen presents an award to the St. Barnabus Hospital Auxillary Board for their work on behalf of the Brain Injury Association


  • Medical costs of needs not covered by Medicaid
  • Expenses for home care attendants not covered by Medicaid
  • Rehabilitation expenses not covered by Medicaid
  • Special living facilities not covered by Medicaid
  • Transportation expenses such as cars and special vans
  • Educational equipment such as computers and other learning devices
  • Recreational expenses such as vacations or other travel expenses that will enhance the quality of life for claimants.
  • The additional costs of private accommodations in shared housing units.

DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP is proud that they were the attorneys for a claimant in a precedent setting case in New York State which was one of the first cases in the nation allowing the creation of a Special Needs Trust.

Traumatic Brain Injury also known as head injury can be caused by auto accidents, falls from ladders, construction site accidents, medical malpractice or negligence of any type. All of these tragic events can lead to concussion, coma, loss of vital oxygen to the brain, skull fractures, epilepsy, post concussion syndrome, subdural or epidural hematoma, vestibular dysfunction, loss of taste or smell, hearing disorders, loss of memory and other cognitive impairments.



Provided by
Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.

Professorial Lecturer at Law
The George Washington University
School of Law

Chair, State of New York
Traumatic Brain Injury
Services Coordinating Council

3 Term president,
Brain Injury Association of NYS

Past Chair,
American Association for Justice
Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group

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