BenefitU logo - color.

Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund (DDETF)

Quick Navigation


Special Needs Trust

Medicaid, depending on the eligibility pathway, often has a $2,000 resource limit. This limit makes it challenging for people to save for items, services, or other life needs.

There are options for people to save money and not risk losing their Medicaid or other public benefits.

One option is a Special Needs Trust. A Special Needs Trust account can allow you the flexibility to save and still be eligible for programs like Medicaid and SSI.

There are many Special Needs Trust options that allow a person to set aside money and other assets in the name of a beneficiary. In addition, Washington State offers their own Special Needs Trust, the Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund (DDETF).

DDETF Eligibility

To be eligible for DDETF, you must be:

Types of DDETF Accounts

There are two types of Special Needs Trusts. The type of Trust account is based on who can contribute money to the account. Some people may have both types of Trusts, depending on their financial needs and goals.

Trust 1 / Third Party Trust: This trust allows anyone other than the person it’s created for to contribute money to it.

Trust 2 / Self-Settled Trust: This trust allows only the person it’s created for to contribute money to it.

The key differences between Trust I and Trust II are:

All other management, policies, contributions, and disbursements are managed the same for both types of trusts.

Spending DDETF Funds

The money saved in the trust can be used for support services and purchases which improve a person’s quality of life.

For those receiving SSI, the trust cannot pay for room and board, as this would count as in-kind support. The trust manager reviews and approves how the money is spent to avoid breaking SSA rules.

Can I have both an ABLE account and a DDETF account?

Yes! Diversifying your savings accounts gives you flexibility and options when managing your money and budgeting for your future.

For a comparison of the ABLE and DDETF programs, check out the document below:

Please note:

All other management, policies, contributions, and disbursements are managed the same for both types of trusts.

Medicaid Payback: Estate Recovery

States can recover the costs of long-term care and other medical services paid for by Medicaid from a person’s estate. This is called Estate Recovery, or Medicaid Payback.

In Washington State, the State will seek reimbursement from the estate of a person who has passed away after the age of 55.

Under Estate Recovery rules, Medicaid expenses may be recovered from some trusts, before any remaining funds are distributed according to the trust’s terms.

Estate Recovery work different with Trust I (Third Party) or Trust II (Self-Settled) accounts

Trust I (Third Party)
A Trust I is an account that can only receive contributions from a third party (anyone who is not the Beneficiary).

When a beneficiary dies, the remaining balance is distributed based on how the trust documents were filled out when the account was opened. Unlike Trust II, they are not paid to the state as recovery for services received during the person’s life.

Trust II (Self-Settled)
A Trust II is an account where only the Beneficiary’s funds may be deposited.

When the beneficiary dies, the state is entitled to recover dollar for dollar the costs for services provided. If the individual has been receiving services for any length of time, it is unlikely there will be any funds left in the account after Estate Recovery.

This is a requirement of all special needs trusts funded with the Beneficiary’s funds, according to Social Security law.

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about Developmental Disabilities Endowment Trust Fund accounts, please visit the DDETF website.

Scroll to Top