Lauren Allenberg's new home in the city's Green Tree neighborhood has an elevator and specially equipped bathrooms to accommodate her 5-year-old daughter, Ava, who has cerebral palsy and some developmental delays. While Ms. Allenberg worked closely with the builder to customize the home, invoices for design features that meet specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act were sent to the ACHIEVA Family Trust on the South Side. The trust paid the bills from a fund it manages for Ava that was established with money her parents received in a legal settlement involving the hospital and doctors where Ava was born.
Ms. Allenberg declined to disclose the settlement amount or terms of the case surrounding Ava's birth injury, but said her attorneys recommended she and Ava's father consider investing the cash at the ACHIEVA Family Trust because putting the sum in a conventional bank or brokerage account could make Ava ineligible to receive state or federally funded disability benefits.
Federal law stipulates that people with disabilities can qualify for government assistance such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid only if their assets are less than $2,000 or less than $2,400 if they reside in a nursing home. But, if assets greater than those amounts are held in a special needs trust, they don't jeopardize government benefits and can be used for expenses ranging from Internet connections to medical equipment not covered by benefits or other insurance.
Established in 1998, the ACHIEVA Family Trust was among the first of about six such trusts to be created in Pennsylvania. Others include The Arc Community Trust of Pennsylvania in King of Prussia and the Berks Community Trust in Sinking Spring, Berks County.
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Trusting in ACHIEVA
It was a picturesque summer day, the birds chirped, children played in the park and walking trails were full of chatting adults. It was the perfect scene for a day of fun. For Kara, fun equaled a day at the neighborhood pool. It was a place Kara knew well, she had enjoyed swimming since she was four years old. She had competed for district titles and traveled across the state displaying her talent. With Kara’s passion for the water, a summer day at the pool was far from abnormal. However that day, just a week after her 12th birthday, would be far from normal, in fact it would become life changing.
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ACHIEVA Family Trust:
Individuals with disabilities and their families face significant challenges in planning for their financial stability. ACHIEVA Family Trust, a member of the ACHIEVA family of organizations, provides information to individuals and serves as trustee of several kinds of trusts benefiting individuals with disabilities. Created in 1998 to address parents' concerns about their children’s futures, ACHIEVA Family Trust now serves over 1,800 individuals, providing peace of mind to families and caregivers. Trust staff are asked to speak to professional advisors, family groups and other community agencies.
ACHIEVA Family Trust serves individuals with disabilities, their families, attorneys and financial advisors. In serving our clients, we work with courts, service providers, the Social Security Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and other state and federal agencies. Various trust options are available and are tailored to meet specific needs.
ACHIEVA Family Trust helps individuals and families plan for services that will be needed in the future. Factors to consider are types of support available from the government, family support that supplements government services and the amount of funding necessary to continue supplemental support.
ACHIEVA Family Trust provides the following services for families:
• The rights of individuals with disabilities to live and plan for secure and fulfilling lives in a way that recognizes their individual preferences, capabilities, and quality of life.
When to Establish a Trust
The services of ACHIEVA Family Trust are available to individuals with disabilities and their families in Pennsylvania and other states. Representatives are also available to speak to professional advisors and family groups concerned with financial and estate plans that include people with disabilities.
Resources and Forms
For more information contact Emily Crook, Family Trust Assistant, at (412) 995-5000 ext. 565 or via email at email@example.com.