MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – New financial assistance is being offered to West Virginians with disabilities through the “West Virginia PACE Trust Fund.”

A press release by the West Virginia PACE Trust Fund said that people with disabilities are often on needs-based benefit programs like SSI and Medicaid. If they come into inheritance, receive money from an accident settlement, or accumulate too much money in an account, they could lose their benefits. However, beneficiaries are able to prevent this by transferring excess assets into an individual special needs trust fund. It can be expensive, but a “pooled trust” can now present another option. This option comes with fewer expenses but the same level of professional trustee management.

Joe Lefkay, director of marketing and development, had said that there were already 45 states that have been using pooled special needs trust funds. PACE Enterprises has been doing research and studies for years before they founded this trust in 2021. Families had an understanding when it came to the importance of ensuring the dignity of those with disabilities, and how to promote a high standard of living for them.

There is a huge importance in why this needed to be brought to West Virginia. Lefkay said, “they may not know the ins and outs of the state’s benefits and things like that. So this trust fund through PACE is already set up, it’s there, ready for them to come in, you know, after they decide if it’s the right way or the right thing to do, to go ahead, put the money in and start using the trust fund.”

The company is now accepting trust accounts, where sources of funds can be gifts, inheritance, or funds of the person with a disability.

This trust fund is one part of a three-step plan that PACE Enterprises has moving forward. The plan is called “vision 2025,” and the next two steps include extending the building to add more jobs for those with disabilities. The third will be a housing development available for 12 independent individuals who also have disabilities.