Designating Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP) to a Special Needs Trust

In 2015, President Obama signed the Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act into law.  The legislation amends the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to allow military members and retirees to elect to direct payment of a SBP to a Special Needs Trust (SNT) established for a dependent child.  The SBP is a monthly benefit paid to a designated beneficiary when an active duty solider or a retired service-member who has elected to participate in the program passes away. 

This amendment to the current program will allow children of military parents to receive the SBP benefit and still remain eligible for other government benefits with strict income and resource requirements (like SSI and Medicaid).  Certain steps must be taken in order for the benefit to be paid directly to the SNT, and the SNT must meet specific requirements.  Overall, this is a great change in the law for military families with children with disabilities.

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