19437 Son with autism kisses mom on the cheek shutterstock 699095782 - Special Needs Planning

Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Tresi Weeks

An important part of special needs planning is protecting your loved one from financial abuse. A True Link card is a tool you may not have considered before, but it could save your family member from exploitation and predatory banking practices. 

Although True Link offers many benefits to its customers, there are a few downsides to consider before opening an account. Continue reading to learn more about True Link accounts and how it affects your special needs trust portfolio, and whether creating an account is right for you or your loved one.

What Is a True Link Visa Card?

A True Link card is a prepaid, reloadable Visa debit card designed to help people who may be at risk of exploitation or financial abuse – including adults with disabilities – manage their money. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services National Center on Elder Abuse, financial abuse costs vulnerable Americans more than $2.6 billion every year.

A True Link card simplifies wealth management while providing special needs beneficiaries, or their caregivers, guardians, payees, trustees, and other overseers with the tools they need to protect themselves or their loved ones from fraud and exploitation.

In addition, a True Link card can help a special needs beneficiary avoid becoming disqualified from receiving public benefits. For example, giving cash to a loved one with a disability who depends on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and is limited to certain asset limits can inadvertently make them ineligible for SSI.

How Does a True Link Card Work?

If you want to monitor your loved one’s finances while helping protect their eligibility for government disability benefits, a True Link card allows you to do so.

For one, you can set customizable spending rules made from their account. Examples of spending rules available include:

  • Limiting the amount spent at specific retail stores or on certain types of products
  • Blocking or allowing access to cash back or ATM withdrawals

Along with spending rules, True Link lets its customers set alerts to monitor any suspicious activity. Examples of customizable alerts a caregiver can place on an individual’s account include:

  • Balance alerts when the account balance is lower than a specified amount
  • Cash withdrawal notifications
  • Spending alerts for transactions over a set limit
  • Deposit alerts
  • Notifications of blocked transactions
  • Alerts for suspicious purchases or activity

Is a True Link Card the Best Option Available?

True Link cards may provide the cardholder and their families with many benefits, but there can also be downsides to using this card.

In addition to helping to protect a special needs trust beneficiary from exploitation and aiding caretakers in monitoring their loved one’s finances, a True Link card offers security benefits that include the following:

  • Security firewalls
  • Encrypted communication between True Link and customers
  • Two-step authentication requirements for administrator access
  • If multiple family members want access to an account, they each receive a specific account access level

Having a True Link account also gives cardholders access to investment opportunities designed for special needs trusts. Unlike traditional retirement and investment accounts, True Link does not require a minimum balance. Money is not a barrier to investing.

True Link also provides investment advice tailored to each client. Cardholders and their families can use this information to plan for the cardholder’s financial future.

Downsides of True Link

Although there are many upsides to individuals with disabilities using a True Link card, there are some downsides, too. Cardholders of True Link Visa cards may pay higher fees than with competitors and may have fewer available in-network ATMs.

True Link service fees include:

  • Out-of-network ATM fee = $1.50
  • Domestic ATM balance inquiry fee = $0.50
  • Card replacement fee = $5
  • Bank teller withdrawal fee = $4
  • Monthly service fee = $10

Note that cardholders are also subject to a monthly fee of $12 to maintain the account.

How Do I Obtain a True Link Card?

Individuals can start a True Link account and order a card on the True Link website. For beneficiaries of a special needs trust, the card account can be set up to receive deposits directly from the trust. Speak to a professional special needs trust attorney to learn more.

Minimum and Maximum Account Balance Amounts

True Link accounts have no minimum balance requirement. The maximum on a single True Link account at any given time is $20,000. The card allows you to load up to $5,000 per day.

Cardholders are not limited to the number of True Link Visa cards they can have.

Learn more about the True Link card and how it affects your special needs planning by contacting our team of special needs attorneys in Texas today.

Communication resulting from use of this web site does not create an attorney-client relationship. You will need to meet with an attorney and sign a separate written retainer agreement.