The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles has awarded Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust and Services with a three-year, $250,000 Next Stage Grant.
“We’re very proud that our Next Stage Grant will enable the long-term sustainability of JLA Trust and help it serve more individuals with disabilities and their families,” said Marvin I. Schotland, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. “The foundation provided seed-funding to JLA Trust in 2015 because we believe in its mission. JLA Trust provides guidance and resources to families as they navigate the daunting process of planning for the financial security of their loved ones with disabilities and secure the support they need to thrive. This much needed service strengthens Jewish families across Los Angeles and our community as a whole.”
The JLA Trust helps children and adults with physical, mental, developmental and intellectual disabilities obtain a higher quality of life through affordable and professionally managed special needs trusts, which supplement government benefits. In less than four years of operation, JLA Trust has surpassed $5 million in total beneficiary assets and distributed $1.5 million for client expenses.
To receive government benefits such as SSI, Medi-Cal and In-Home Supported Services, single persons with disabilities are limited to only $2,000 in assets. To legally supplement those benefits with their own funds, or with money from family members, the only choices are the new CalABLE accounts (limited to $15,000 in a calendar year) and special needs trusts, which are traditionally very expensive to create and manage.
For those with less assets, solutions include Pooled Special Needs Trusts, created by Congress in 1993. Using a master trust document written by an attorney, JLA Trust acts as an “umbrella” over individual trust accounts, which are carefully managed to support persons with disabilities for as long as possible. Each client has a sub-account, and funds are only pooled for investment and cash management purposes.
All accounts receive professional trustee oversight and wealth management, along with a restricted-use Visa card from True Link Financial Services for each beneficiary.
Under the leadership of founding board Chair Sandor Samuels, former CEO of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, JLA Trust enrolled its first client in August 2016. It now has 85 clients.
Seed funding for the new nonprofit was provided by a three-year grant from the foundation, as well as planning and program grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Funding has also been provided by the Diane P. and Guilford Glazer Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.
For information, visit jlatrust.org and jewishfoundationla.org.
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