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Herting v. California Dept. of Health Care Services Filed March 27, 2015, Sixth District Following the death of beneficiary of Special Needs Trust, Trustee sought to avoid reimbursement to the Department of Health Care Services for medical expenses paid on behalf of the beneficiary, citing 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(b)(1)(B) and Welfare & Institutions Code § 14009.5(b)(1), on the ground Trust assets were allegedly exempt from such reimbursement rights because the beneficiary was under 55 years of age when the services were provided.

Noting that the Special Needs Trust provided for reimbursement to the state upon the beneficiary’s death and that such a provision is required for a disabled beneficiary of a Special Needs Trust under the age of 65 to be eligible for public assistance under Medicaid, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling granting the Department’s claim. Held, statutes and regulations governing recovery from a Special Needs Trust do not exempt beneficiaries under age 55, either directly or by making them subject to estate recovery provisions.


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