For Attorneys

An account with the Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund is an economical and trusted alternative to a stand-alone special needs trust whenever money, such as an inheritance or personal injury award, is to be distributed to someone who is or will be on needs-based government assistance (such as SSI and Medicaid) and who qualifies as being developmentally disabled. Once established, the funds in the trust account are exempted from resource limits and help the client to stay under the resource limit required to stay on SSI and Medicaid.

You can assist your client with filling out the Joinder Agreement and Schedules to get your client enrolled. The templates and enrollment forms are available on the “forms webpage” and can be filled out electronically or by hand, depending upon preference. Then the paperwork needs to be signed, notarized and sent to the trust office to complete the enrollment.

Or you can refer your clients to the DD Endowment Trust Fund’s office whose staff will assist the client and/or family to enroll. Essentially, your clients can apply for and fund their DD Endowment Trust Fund account themselves.

Estate plans can be drafted to direct bequests to an DD Endowment trust account rather than a third party testamentary trust. Such DD Endowment accounts, called Trust 1 accounts, are not Medicaid payback accounts.

Developmentally disabled individuals who find themselves directly receiving an inheritance, can route those funds to a DD Endowment Trust 2 account, which does have a Medicaid payback (required by federal law).

Personal injury awards and structured settlements can similarly be routed to a DD Endowment Trust 2 account in order to preserve the client’s eligibility for SSI and Medicaid.

The DDETF is an irrevocable (d)(4)(C) special needs trust governed by 42 USC § 1396(p)(d)(4)(C). These supplemental special needs trusts are exceptions to the general premise that all trusts are countable assets with regard to means-tested governmental programs. The D4C trust, also known as a “pooled trust” or a “master trust” has the following conditions apply: 1) The trust is established and managed by a nonprofit organization; 2) A separate account is maintained for each beneficiary of the trust, but, for purposes of investment and management of funds, the trust pools these accounts; 3) Accounts in the trust are established solely for the benefit of individuals who are disabled (as defined in Title 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1382c(a)(3)) by the parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of such individuals, by such individuals, or by a court.

The Social Security Administration reviewed the DDETF in 2019 and approved it was compliant with POMS SI 01120.203 Exceptions to Counting Trusts Established on or after January 1, 2000. See PS 01825.053 Washington B. PS 19-064 Analysis Of The Washington State Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund II. The DDETF program’s enabling statutes are RCW 43.330.430 – .437 and its rules are WAC 365-220. Over 3,300 accounts have been opened since 2002.

For more information, call the DD Endowment Trust office to learn how this trust program can be useful to your clients. With the matching of the $600 origination fee, as well as matching of portions of other fees, the DD Endowment Trust Fund is a financial gift to Washington residents with developmental disabilities. Your clients will be delighted and grateful to learn about it from you.


The funds in the trust are conservatively invested and safely managed by the Washington State Investment Board. The DDETF transfers contributions quarterly to the WSIB to invest in the market. For additional details on how the funds are invested and historical investment returns, please visit the Washington State Investment Board website.

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