Midwest Special Needs Trust Celebrates 30th Anniversary

MSNT Celebrates 30th Anniversary

MSNT Celebrates 30th Anniversary

This year, Midwest Special Needs Trust is celebrating 30 years of helping families of individuals with disabilities plan for their financial futures. Born from the efforts of Jerry Zafft to provide financial security for his son and others with disabilities, MSNT was established in 1989 by action of the Missouri legislature and later incorporated as a nonprofit pooled trust. At its heart, MSNT looks to administer special needs trusts for people with disabilities and protect important public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income while providing peace of mind for family members seeking to care for their loved ones even after they’re gone.

If the past 30 years are any indication, the services MSNT provides are needed now more than ever. According to the United States Census Bureau, one in five people in the U.S. has a disability, and half of all working-age American adults experiencing poverty have a disability. Whereas many banking institutions won’t open a trust for less than $250,000 or $500,000, MSNT will open a trust for as little as $1,000. And despite the ebb and flow of the market, MSNT has experienced consistent, steady growth, averaging 9 percent over the past 13 years. Without a resource like MSNT, many moderate and low-income families would be left without options for establishing a trust to care for family members who need it.

As MSNT looks forward to the next 30 years and beyond, the organization continues to monitor the legal and political landscapes while remaining in close contact with those who need and utilize their services. Whether that means implementing customized debit cards to better serve beneficiaries or adjusting programs to incorporate new legislation, MSNT has and always will be dedicated to providing financial security for the important population they serve.

Midwest Special Needs Trust Timeline

Year Milestone
1987 The 19-member Family Trust Fund Task Force, intended to focus on how to provide for people with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for public entitlement programs, is appointed by Missouri Gov. Ashcroft, Missouri Department of Mental Health Director Keith Shafer and Missouri Mental Health Commission Chairman Gerald Zafft.
1989 House Bill 318 creates the Missouri Family Trust and incorporates as a nonprofit pooled trust, and efforts to make Missouri Family Trust a stand-alone, self-sustaining entity begin.
1990 The Secretary of State issues a Certificate of Incorporation for Missouri Family Trust.
1991 The first trust account is opened with Missouri Family Trust. It is a third-party trust opened by Missouri Mental Health Commission Chairman Gerald Zafft and his wife, Judy Zafft, to benefit their son, Jeffrey, who was born with a disability.
1993 Missouri Family Trust grows to 42 trust accounts.
1993 The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act creates pooled special needs trusts on a national level.
1995 Missouri Family Trust grows to 109 trust accounts.
2000 Missouri Family Trust grows to 286 trusts.
2003 Missouri Family Trust equity amounts to $6.3 million.
2004 MSNT expands services to the following states: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.
2005 Missouri Family Trust is renamed to Midwest Special Needs Trust and grows to 480 trusts. MSNT launches Charitable Trust, a program to provide financial assistance grants to impoverished Missouri residents with a Social Security-verifiable disability.
2010 MSNT grows to 885 trusts and 45 sole trustee accounts.
2013 A separate nonprofit trust, Charitable Trust of Missouri Family Trust, replaces Charitable Trust.
2016 MSNT grows to 1,203 active accounts, each with an average value of $29,399, and 255 sole trustee accounts. In addition, the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act passes, allowing disabled individuals to establish their own trusts.
2017 MSNT comprises 1,248 active trust accounts and assumes a total market value of more than $38 million.