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About the Master Pooled Trust

About the Master Pooled Trust

Established in 1997, The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust remains the first and only Texas-based pooled Special Needs Trust designed to improve the quality of life for all individuals with disabilities while providing resources for their ongoing supplemental needs.

This special needs trust is managed by The Arc of Texas with pre-approval from the Social Security Administration and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The goal of the Master Pooled Trust is to provide financial security to all people with disabilities, and thus a higher quality of life, knowing that their public benefits are safeguarded.

The Master Pooled Trust:

  • Serves any Texas resident who meets the definition of a person with a disability under the Social Security Act
  • Provides for the needs of people who have disabilities, while allowing them to remain eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income

  • Offers an affordable alternative to traditional bank trusts
  • Has low enrollment costs
  • Requires low minimum and no maximum funding requirements
  • Has low annual consultation fees for funded accounts; no annual fees for non-funded accounts
  • Is managed by The Arc of Texas, a nonprofit organization with over 60 years of experience in serving people with disabilities
  • Has simple and prompt disbursement procedures, with excellent customer service satisfaction ratings
  • Can be funded with the person's own money or with money from a friend or family member
  • Investments are professionally managed by our Trustee

Key Features of The Master Pooled Trust

MPT provides an ongoing source of income for beneficiary's supplemental needs.

For these purposes supplemental needs refer to anything other than food, housing and basic medical care. Government benefits including Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid will only pay for a person's primary living needs (food, housing, and basic medical care). The Master Pooled Trust is designed to provide another source of funds that can be used to pay for supplemental needs including but not limited to travel, entertainment, education, eyeglasses, insurance premiums, diapers, and other nonessential medical supplies and services.

› Read More About Supplemental Needs

MPT protects the beneficiary's government benefits.

If a person with a disability receives even a modest amount of money (exceeding $2,000) from an inheritance, a gift, a court settlement, or even from a savings account established on his or her behalf, he or she may no longer be eligible for government benefits. However, if the funds are placed in a Master Pooled Trust account, government benefits will not be at risk.

MPT releases families from responsibility of knowing Medicaid rules.

The Arc of Texas is the manager of the Master Pooled Trust. As the trust manager, The Arc of Texas is responsible for following current SSI & Medicaid regulations. The agency also ensures that trust disbursements will not create income that could cause the beneficiary to lose his or her government benefits.

MPT and The Arc of Texas provide disability related support services and referrals to beneficiaries and their families.

The Arc of Texas offers trust beneficiaries and their families free information and referral services, training opportunities, special education consultation, legislative information, and more.

MPT allows the beneficiary and their family to determine how the trust funds will be distributed.

The Arc of Texas' responsibility in approving requests is to ensure that funds will not be exhausted in a way that could jeopardize the beneficiary's eligibility for government benefits.

Even if the funder intends to fund the beneficiary's trust through a will or life insurance policy, the funder will have an opportunity to outline how they wish the funds to be distributed upon enrollment and completion of the legally binding Joinder Agreement.

The Arc of Texas will review and update the beneficiary's file annually to reflect current government regulations and the family's wishes.

MPT has low minimum and no maximum funding requirements.

Unlike a traditional bank trust, which often requires you to invest a minimum of $500,000, you can open a Master Pooled Trust account with small amounts of money. We have trusts ranging from as low as $500 to more than $2 million.

MPT is more affordable than traditional bank trusts.

The Enrollment and Annual Consultation Fees for the Master Pooled Trust are lower than those of many bank trusts. There are no annual fees for accounts which are not yet funded.

*In order to be eligible for the Master Pooled Trust, the person must meet the Social Security Administration's definition of a person who has a disability.

Providing For Supplemental Needs

The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust is designed to provide money for the supplemental needs of a person with a disability. The following examples are not exclusive, but will illustrate the types of special, supplemental, non-support disbursements that are appropriate for the Master Pooled Trust manager to make on behalf of the trust beneficiary:

  • Health and dental treatment and equipment for which there are not funds otherwise available
  • Rehabilitative and occupational therapy services
  • Medical procedures, even though not medically necessary or lifesaving
  • Medical insurance premiums
  • Supplemental nursing care
  • Supplemental dietary needs
  • Eyeglasses
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Companionship
  • Private case management
  • Cultural experiences
  • Vacations
  • Movies
  • Telephone service
  • Television and cable equipment and services
  • Training and education programs
  • Reading and educational materials

For more information see the general guidelines for sub-account disbursements in our toolkit..


If you have other ideas for how you would like your family member to use his or her trust, but aren't sure if it would be considered a "supplemental need," please contact the Master Pooled Trust at 1-800-252-9729, (512) 454-6694, or trust@thearcoftexas.org.

Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible? Who's Eligible?

Any Texas resident under the age of 65 who meets the Social Security Administration's definition of a person with a disability can benefit from the Master Pooled Trust. It is designed so that all individuals with disabilities and their families can benefit from the Master Pooled Trust.


Value for Individuals

Individuals who receive a personal injury settlement, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) back payment, inheritance or those with any holdings in a savings account may benefit, as the Master Pooled Trust enables them to use their funds while not jeopardizing their means-tested government benefits, like SSI or Medicaid.

Value for Families

Families are equally well served by the Master Pooled Trust. The Arc of Texas can hold, protect and administer inherited money in a professional, caring and cost-effective manner. Parents or family members who wish to provide funds to benefit their loved one with a disability can do so immediately or in the future from an insurance policy, an estate or other sources. And a third-party sub-account in the Master Pooled Trust helps ensure that your family member is cared for when you pass away.


So why should you trust The Arc of Texas
Master Pooled Trust with your financial future?

Expertise & Skill

The Arc of Texas is a known and trusted organization with a
60-year history of helping people with disabilities.
The Arc of Texas knows the trust laws and governmental
requirements,and how to best serve the needs
of persons with disabilities.

Affordability & Accessibility

The Master Pooled Trust was designed with lower fees and low minimum deposits. The low fees for establishing and maintaining a sub-account are attractive to families and beneficiaries, compared to a traditional bank trust. There are low minimum and no maximum limits on an account with the Master Pooled Trust. The Arc of Texas also knows and understands the issues families with disabilities face so we make accessing the money an easy process.

Safety & Security

The Arc of Texas' simple and prompt disbursement procedures allow beneficiaries and their families to use the funds to meet the beneficiary’s needs. Our Master Pooled Trust team continues to earn excellent customer service satisfaction ratings, and our investments are professionally managed by our Trustee.


Real life stories from current members of the Trust.

Todd's Story

When Todd was 34, he was seriously injured in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. When he was awarded a generous settlement from a personal injury lawsuit, his attorney was concerned rather than relieved. She knew the additional income meant Todd would no longer be eligible for the Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits that were paying for his primary living needs (food, housing and basic medical care). As a result, they established a Master Pooled Trust account in Todd's name that allowed the court to award the settlement directly to the trust, rather than to Todd himself. Todd considered placing the money in a bank trust, but he felt that he would need a great deal of information and support for the rest of his life. The fact that The Arc of Texas would manage his trust was extremely important and comforting to him.

Brianne's Story

Weighing only 14 ounces when she was born, Brianne was the smallest baby ever to survive at the Methodist Hospital in Dallas. As a result of her premature birth, Brianne has a number of serious medical complications. Her parents depend heavily on government benefits to provide Brianne with nursing care, physical therapy, and medical supplies such as catheters and oxygen tanks. A local Kiwanis Club raised money to help Brianne's family. However, knowing that Brianne's benefits would be endangered if they accepted this gift, her parents thought they would have to decline the offer. Instead, their attorney suggested they open a Master Pooled Trust account for Brianne. Now the trust is providing Brianne with materials Medicaid does not, such as diapers, eyeglasses, and visits to her grandmother.

Ethan's Story

Ethan is an active 8-year-old who has various intellectual disabilities. He is dreaming about his future. Someday he wants to work at a library and live in his own apartment. Ethan's parents are planning for his future too. They want to make sure when Ethan moves out of their home he will continue to have everything he needs to lead a happy and productive life. His parents started their planning process by opening a Master Pooled Trust account for him. They decided that in addition to funding the account through their life insurance policies, they would invest $10,000 of their savings to the trust now so that while Ethan is growing, his trust will also have a chance to grow. This way, they know Ethan will have money available throughout his adulthood to use for any supplemental needs his job or government benefits do not provide.

Claudia's Story

Jorge and Teresa have specified in their wills they want to leave assets from their estate to their daughter, Claudia, who has cerebral palsy. Their attorney suggested they direct the assets into a Master Pooled Trust account so when Claudia receives her inheritance, she will remain eligible for her government benefits. However, Claudia's parents wanted assurance the money would be used in the way they intended. They decided to enroll in the trust now (even though the account would not be funded until the time of their deaths) so they can put their wishes for Claudia in writing through a legally binding Master Pooled Trust joinder agreement.
Why Choose Us? Why Choose Us?

Choose the Trust That's Right for You

There are four trusts to choose from, based on you or your family member’s personal needs.

Supplemental Trusts

Supplemental trusts allow disbursements to be made only for supplemental needs, which include most items that are not food or housing costs.

Discretionary Trusts

Discretionary trusts allow for more flexibility. If a beneficiary does not currently need to qualify for means-tested benefits, both basic support and supplemental payments may be approved.

Enroll in Three Steps

Becoming enrolled in the Master Pooled Trust is as easy as A-B-C.

Determine the source that will fund your family member’s trust.

The money could come from a variety of sources, such as a will, a life insurance policy, SSI back-payments, a court settlement, a gift, or even cash from a savings account.

+ Read More/Less

Determine which of four trust agreements best meets the needs of the beneficiary.

While we recommend that you seek the independent advice of an experienced estate-planning attorney or certified financial planner. The Arc of Texas can refer you to a list of attorneysthroughout the state who work with families of persons with disabilities who need estate planning.

Complete the Joinder Agreement.

Download the Joinder Agreements and Mailing Checklist. The Joinder Agreement is the legal document needed to establish a Master Pooled Trust sub-account. Follow the instructions included with the joinder agreement and complete the mailing checklist. Then mail the completed joinder agreement to The Arc of Texas with a check for the $600 enrollment fee, payable to The Arc of Texas.


After Funding

After the account has been funded, you will receive Quarterly statements, showing the disbursements, investment performance, and fees. Each year we also conduct a Satisfaction Survey and provide the results in an Annual Report.

Associated Fees

The following fees, which may be changed from time to time, may be charged by The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust.

Download Fee Schedule

Enrollment Fee

A one-time enrollment fee of $600* is due at the time the Joinder Agreement is executed. The enrollment fee covers the cost of opening a Trust sub-account for the Beneficiary.

Annual Maintenance and Consultation Fees

There is no annual renewal fee before the sub-account is funded.

After the sub-account is funded, the following annual fees are due. Although annual fees may increase or decrease over time, you will never be required to pay a higher fee than the rate that is applicable at the time your account is funded.

Fee schedule for “Distributions Authorized” accounts
(means disbursements will be requested)

Annual Consultation fee:

  • 1.75% on the first $50,000
  • 1.25% for amounts between $50,000 up to $100,000
  • 1% for amounts over $100,000
  • Minimum annual fee: $300

Fee Schedule for “Distributions Deferred” accounts
(means NO disbursements will be requested)

Annual Maintenance Fee:

  • 1.25% for amounts up to $100,000
  • 1% for amounts over $100,000
  • Minimum annual fee: $250

Contact the Master Pooled Trust for consultation fees on amounts over $250,000.

Special Assessments

The Trustee and the Manager have authority from time to time, as necessary, to assess all sub-accounts or certain sub-accounts with special assessments for specific costs such as the cost of defending a sub-account of the Trust, or taking actions to preserve a beneficiary’s Government Assistance. See Section 7.9 of the Trust Agreement for a description of possible defense costs.

Other Fees

  1. Frequent Disbursement Fee for disbursements that exceed 24 per year - $12.50 per disbursement.
  2. IRS tax preparation fee – To be negotiated at the lowest reasonable rate
  3. Closing Fee- A $100 fee will be assessed upon closure of the sub-account

Enrollment Documents
& Forms

You will find all the forms you need to enroll in the Master Pooled Trust below.

Joinder Agreements

Joinder Agreement I (description) Download
Joinder Agreement II (description) Download
Joinder Agreement III (description) Download
Joinder Agreement IV (description) Download

Trust Documents

Trust I Download
Trust II Download
Trust III Download
Trust IV Download
Social Security Administration Certificate 4/6/2011 Download
Medicaid Eligibility View


Trust Forms View

To request and receive your disbursements from The Arc of Texas Master Pooled Trust, please follow the steps below.

Fill out the Disbursement Request Form.

To begin the disbursement process, begin by downloading a printable version of the request form and filling it out.

Download Form (pdf)

Send the request form to
The Arc of Texas.

Once you have finished filling out the Disbursement request form, you may either email or fax it (1–2 days) or you can mail it via U.S. Mail (3–5 days) to The Arc of Texas.

Email: trust@thearcoftexas.org // Fax: (512) 454-4956 // Mail: The Arc of Texas, Attn: MPT, 8001 Centre Park Dr, Ste. 100, Austin, TX 78754

The Arc of Texas
processes your request.

Once your request is received, The Master Pooled Trust Coordinators will review each disbursement request. If more information is needed the Coordinator will contact the Primary Representative. Approved disbursements will be sent to the Trustee within 2 business days. .

The Arc of Texas sends your request to the Trustee.

After receiving the request from The Arc of Texas, within 1 business day, the Trustee processes the request and either prints a check or sets up a direct deposit, depending on your payment preference.

The Trustee sends the funds.

Depending on the payment method, the Trustee will either send the printed check in the mail (3–5 days) or directly deposit the funds into your bank account (ACH 1–3 days).

You receive your funds.

Within the alotted time period indicated above, you will receive the funds you requested. Overall the process takes anywhere from 5 days to 13 days, depending on the transfer methods you choose.

Important Things to Know

  1. If you are mailing your request, send us COPIES of the receipts. Please DO NOT SEND the following:
    • Original payment stubs, order form, payment envelopes (The Master Pooled Trust will NOT forward these since only the check is sent).
    • Original receipts/invoices (Make a copy to send to us and keep originals for your records).
  2. For security reasons, DO NOT give disbursement forms to unauthorized people. Do not sign blank forms.
  3. If the check has not been received 10 days from mailing (from the bank) a stop payment can be ordered and a new check can be issued.
  4. If you have a recurring bill for the same amount every month, an automatic disbursement can be set up to send a check on the same day of the month. Please complete and send in an automatic payment request form.
  5. Don’t forget to inform us of change of e-mail, address and phone number!

For more information, visit the Disbursements section of the Toolkit.

Still have questions? Contact the Master Pooled Trust at 1-800-252-9729,
512-454-6694 or email trust@thearcoftexas.org.

Ready to get started? Click on one of the buttons below to download a printable version of the Disbursement Request Form. Then, once you have have finished filling it out, email it, fax it or mail it to The Arc of Texas.

Download Form (pdf)



Future Planning Tool

Planning ahead can help guide a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) to lead a good life as independently as possible.

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Letters of Intent and Expressing Wishes for the Future

The Letter of Intent outlines information on daily needs, supports, and legal and financial matters of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD).

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The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys provides a list of attorneys who are experts in disability benefitsk estate planning, wills, trusts and special needs trusts. If an attorney has CELA next to their name they are a certified elder law attorney.

Visit Site »

The Texas Chapter of NAELA

The Texas Chapter of NAELA provides a list of attorneys who work in Texas.

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Texas Legal Services Center

will provide names of attorneys screened and will work at a reduced rate. Call them at 1-800-622-2520.

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ADA.gov has information about the American Disabilities Act.

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Section508.gov explains the requirement that federal government buy electronic and information technology that is accessible to people with disabilities.

Visit Site »

About The Arc of Texas

For over 60 years, The Arc of Texas has been instrumental in the development of virtually every program, service, right and benefit available to the more than half a million Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The organization is the nation's leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and the premier provider of the supports and services people want and need.

On a national level, The Arc of Texas focuses on public policy, supports and services, and education and activism to champion the rights of and to serve the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Texas furthers this cause by delivering assistance to Texans in a number of ways, including:



The Arc of Texas is here to teach individuals and their families how to effectively advocate for themselves and the people they care about.



The Arc of Texas offers an array of effective trainings in advocacy, education and independent living.

Information & Referral

Information & Referral

The Arc of Texas has a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of interest to individuals and families of people with disabilities.

Our Vision

The Arc of Texas envisions a world where Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are included in their communities where quality supports and services are available to meet their needs and choices.

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