I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Special Needs Trust National Conference offered by Stetson University College of Law. I had attended the Conference in the past while in private practice and this year enjoyed participating as an Executive Director in the additional day devoted entirely to pooled trusts. Several Board Members also attended, namely Board Chair Richard Dusterberg, Blaine Brockman and Nirakar “Nic” Thakur, along with a representative from our Trustee, Equity Trust, and the team from our third-party administrator, Vantage Financial. CFMF’s legal counsel, Janet Lowder and Elena Lidrbauch, were also in attendance and Janet was once again a featured presenter.
The conference included speakers from the Social Security Administration and HUD as well as attorneys and pooled trust administrators. It was an exciting experience to share ideas on how CFMF may be able to add to its list of services and to learn how pooled trusts work in 1634 states (which Ohio is expected to become in 2016). Pooled Trusts, and the staff that administers the Trusts, must be fluid creatures. What worked last year may run afoul of Social Security’s or Medicaid’s rules this year. The language in the Trust Agreement that was accepted in one case may not be accepted in another consumer’s case. And a distribution that was appropriate “last time,” may no longer be an appropriate distribution.
We at CFMF are focused on staying up to date on federal and state law and policies, and how those rules can impact our beneficiaries. We are also dedicated to improving the experience for our beneficiaries, designated advocates, attorneys setting up the trusts, and our nonprofit partners. I look forward to implementing what I’ve learned at the Conference to ensure CFMF remains a place where quality of life matters.