Where Passion Meets Purpose
The Directed Benefits Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that serves as trustee and administrator for Special Needs Trusts, Pooled Special Needs Trusts, and other specialty trust products across the nation.Contact Us
Who We Are
About Directed Benefits
The Directed Benefits Foundation, Inc. (DBF) is a Florida-based non-profit organization comprised of knowledgeable, thoughtful, compassionate team members from a variety of professionals backgrounds. We share a common goal and passion for serving, leading, and supporting individuals with disabilities and those who may be vulnerable. With decades of experience administering Special Needs Trusts all over the country, our team understands that each person, family, and living situation is unique, and every opportunity to work with a beneficiary requires a custom, personalized approach.Learn More About Us
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What We Do
We work with the injured, the disabled, and their families to preserve and maintain their much-needed public benefit eligibility. Many needs-based public benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, have specified income and asset limits which, if exceeded, could disqualify an individual from their benefits. For those expecting to receive a personal injury settlement, a financial inheritance, or any other financial reward that would force them beyond the income and asset thresholds, a Special Needs Trust may be the appropriate tool to protect public benefit eligibility while allowing the use of the settlement or inheritance funds to supplement the beneficiary’s future needs.
Read more about each type of trust or contact the DBF team for a free consultation.
Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a trust that allows individuals with disabilities to utilize the assets held in the trust, while maintaining their eligibility for essential means-tested public benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Recipients of SSI and Medicaid are restricted by the amount of income and assets accumulated over a period of time. Exceeding these income and asset thresholds could disqualify a disabled beneficiary from receiving these public benefits in the future.
The SNT is commonly used to receive an inheritance or the proceeds from a personal injury settlement on behalf of the disabled individual. By placing these funds into the trust, the disabled beneficiary can maintain their public benefit eligibility and use the trust assets to supplement the care or services not covered by these public benefit programs. This type of trust may be established by the parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or court, for the sole benefit of the disabled beneficiary who, by law, must be under 65 years old.Read More About Special Needs Trusts
Pooled Special Needs Trusts
A Pooled Special Needs Trust (Pooled Trust) is a type of Special Needs Trust established and managed by a non-profit organization. The primary purpose of the Pooled Trust, like a Special Needs Trust, is to protect and maintain public benefit eligibility for disabled individuals anticipating funds from a personal injury settlement or inheritance. Each beneficiary has their own account within the larger trust, and those accounts are “pooled” for investment and management purposes. With the ability to “pool” accounts, the trust can make more stable investments and deliver additional management services that a singular trust may be unable to afford.
Though assets are “pooled”, every beneficiary has their own account. At no point would one beneficiary be entitled to another’s trust assets. The process of establishing a Pooled Trust account often does not require a lawyer, can be completed in a short period of time, and is far more affordable than retaining an attorney to draft an SNT. The Pooled Trust is also a sole benefit trust that can be established by the beneficiary, their parents, grandparents, legal guardian, or court for a disabled person of any age.Read More About Pooled Trusts
Settlement Preservation Trust
A Settlement Preservation Trust (SPT) is a settlement planning tool used to provide beneficiaries with significant protections and a range of management options. Different from an SNT or Pooled Trust, the SPT is not used to preserve SSI and Medicaid benefits. As a result, this type of trust is not governed by the same rigorous federal rules and guidelines. Instead, the SPT can be used as the name suggests, to preserve settlement funds for those beneficiaries who may be vulnerable to exploitation and/or susceptible to reckless spending.
In the case of a minor child receiving a personal injury settlement, establishing an SPT would allow for extra assistance with health, education, and other expenses, while safeguarding assets for the beneficiary’s future needs. Alternatively, if a settlement is not structured and no annuity has been purchased, establishing an SPT can provide periodic, scheduled payments to the beneficiary.Read More About Settlement Preservation Trust
Trusts are designed to support the needs of individuals from all different social circumstances and backgrounds. As unique situations present themselves, finding the specialty trust product that best suits each client is a passion of our team. Many trusts designed to help the disabled and vulnerable may not address all aspects of a beneficiary’s life. At DBF, we actively follow changes in state and federal legislation which may necessitate the development of a specialized trust tool. Our team is actively listening to our beneficiaries, their families, and our attorney partners to support the evolving needs of our clients.
At DBF, we have adopted a few trust solutions that are universally known, such as Qualified Income Trusts and ABLE accounts. While others have been drafted specific to changing state and federal regulations and client needs, such as the Kentucky Minor Protective Trust and Individual Disbursement Accounts. Regardless of the trust or account, we understand that for any trust account to function at its best, diligent, comprehensive, personalized administration services are fundamental.Read More About Our Specialty Trust Products
Why Choose Us
The Benefits of Working with DBF
Establishing a trust is a significant decision. Special Needs Trusts can be particularly complex and initially difficult to understand. Selecting an experienced, knowledgeable trustee is a critical step to ensuring the process is effortless and informational. The DBF team is committed to delivering an individualized experience and exceptional customer services to every beneficiary and their families. We take the time to listen and understand each trust beneficiary and create common goals and long-term plans to continually improve their quality of life. Our mission is centered around the principles of effective communication, full transparency, and top-quality customer service for every beneficiary.
Service to our Beneficiaries
At DBF, we prioritize service to our beneficiaries. We believe every trust beneficiary deserves the highest quality customer service and a personalized experience, no matter the value of their trust.
Often, the circumstances that create the demand for a Special Needs Trust can be challenging. Our team spends the time understanding each beneficiary’s needs and goals to develop a strategy to support their ambitions.
Effective communication creates stronger relationships, and strong relationships are fundamental to what we do. We believe transparency in our processes and clear communication establishes trust between our team and individual beneficiaries.
Compassion and Direction
Trusts in general, but particularly Special Needs Trusts, can be difficult to fully understand. Our team of trust representatives has the knowledge and experience to answer any questions and guide beneficiaries and their families through the process.
Our team has decades of experience serving as trustee and administrator to thousands of Pooled and Special Needs Trusts all over the country. The knowledge gained throughout these years uniquely qualifies the DBF team to deliver unparalleled administration services.
Who We Work With
The DBF team welcomes the opportunity to work alongside families, friends, and professionals to deliver the highest level of service to the aging, disabled, and vulnerable communities.
The Injured, the Disabled, and Their Families
The process of establishing a trust and working with a trust administrator can be overwhelming and confusing. Our team is committed to providing all beneficiaries, and their families, with the information and direction needed to feel at ease and well informed. With decades of collective experience working as trust administrators, our representatives serve as knowledgeable, well-qualified resources for those beneficiaries seeking guidance and support.
The circumstances in each beneficiary’s life are unique. It is our goal to develop a customized plan with each beneficiary to support their individual objectives. DBF is dedicated to executing each individualized plan with integrity, compassion, and personalized service.
Ensuring compliance with your client’s public benefit programs is a key step in the litigation process. Any claimant receiving SSI or Medicaid benefits should consider the appropriate trust options to preserve and maintain their public benefit eligibility. At DBF, we encourage our partner attorneys to get our team involved with these cases as early as possible. We believe setting expectations and educating your clients on the advantages of using a Special Needs Trust is a vital step to streamlining the post-resolution stage of your case.
We strive to facilitate a smooth transition as your client’s case settles and their special needs trust is funded. Once any trust is established with DBF, the beneficiary’s attorney can take comfort in knowing their hard work in procuring the best possible settlement is protected and in good hands. Once you have done your job, we begin ours.
Settlement Planners, Structure Brokers, Guardians, and More
There are often a variety of professionals involved in settling a personal injury claim. Whether they are providing medical care, financial advice, or compliance with their settlement, each operates with the client’s best interest in mind. The team at DBF works closely with these professionals for a unified handoff from plaintiff in a personal injury case, to beneficiary of a trust.
The Directed Benefits Foundation, Inc. has a long history of working closely with Structured Settlement Brokers and Settlement Planners directing proceeds of personal injury settlements to the appropriate trusts. We value input from Guardians and caregivers so our team can fully understand all aspects of the beneficiary’s life. With the help of each professional involved, our collective goals align as we all work to enrich the quality of the beneficiary’s life.