LEAP workshop focus is financial trust

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FARMINGTON — Caring for a family member with a disability may present many challenges, including a surprising financial hardship. Giving money or assets to relatives with disabilities — whether as a bequest or as a gift — could jeopardize their access to essential government benefits from Medicaid and Social Security.

Attorney James Houle will discuss the Maine Trust for People with Disabilities and how Maine families can set up a trust account at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 15, in the Chisholm Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital.

The solution to the problem could be a “Special Needs Trust” that legally hold funds for a person with a disability to pay for supplemental expenses. The Maine Trust for People with Disabilities (known as MTPD) is Maine’s only pooled special needs trust that has been established in compliance with federal law to give Maine residents a way to open a trust account for a family member who has a disability.

The presentation is sponsored by LEAP (Life Enrichment Advancing People) Inc. LEAP is a supporting member of the MTPD and a local contact for anyone who may want to create a trust for a relative with a cognitive or intellectual disability. The funds can be used for supplemental expenses such as medical costs not covered by Medicaid, as well as to pay for training programs, recreational activities or the costs to train, travel and participate in Special Olympics.

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In addition to helping families open individual trust accounts, the MTPD has also established the MTPD Charitable Fund and is seeking donations for those families who may have limited financial resources.

Only individuals who are residents of Maine and whose primary diagnosis is a cognitive or intellectual disability may currently qualify to be beneficiaries of the MTPD. The MTPD is sponsored by the Maine Trust for People with Disabilities, Inc.

For more information on the workshop or LEAP, visit www.leapcommunity.org or call 778-3443, ext. 101.

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