Loud and Clear: A Special Needs Conversation

Buying A Vehicle With Funds From A Pooled Special Needs Trust

By Joanne Marcus, MSW, Executive Director, Commonwealth Community Trust Buying a vehicle is a big financial decision involving research and patience.   For individuals receiving Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the rules allow for ownership of one vehicle without jeopardizing benefit eligibility.  When an individual has adequate funds in a pooled special needs trust (PSNT), […]

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Posted: July 6th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Supreme Court Special Ed Decision Leaves Questions Unanswered

By Cora A. Alsante, Esq. A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court regarding Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) has been widely praised.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees “free appropriate public education” to students with disabilities.  The definition of “appropriate,” however, was at issue.  The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that in order […]

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Posted: June 16th, 2017 | No Comments »

American Health Care Act Sparks Controversy

By Mary Alice Jackson, Esq. The American Health Care Act (ACHA), which has the objective of repealing and replacing major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, by a razor thin margin─217 in favor, 213 against. Not many stakeholders like the House’s plan […]

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Posted: May 24th, 2017 | No Comments »

Roundup: Inheritances/Caregivers/Court Filings

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. The grandparents of my child with special needs left him an inheritance. What do we do? Without special needs planning, a well-intentioned inheritance can leave someone ineligible […]

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Posted: May 15th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Terminating a Special Needs Trust

By Charlene K. Quade, Esq. Individuals establish special needs trusts (SNTs) to protect assets intended to supplement means-tested government benefits for a sole beneficiary, and to preserve the individual’s eligibility for such programs. SNTs exist in the form of first party, first party pooled, third party, and third party pooled trusts. First party and first […]

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Posted: April 14th, 2017 | 6 Comments »

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: A Time to Reflect

By Elisa Dillard Rainey, CELA Since 1987, when President Ronald Reagan declared March to be “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month,” this has been a time to celebrate progress and recognize the remaining challenges facing those with special needs. One of the biggest victories has been the increased involvement of individuals with disabilities in mainstream life. I […]

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Posted: March 1st, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Proposed Changes to Public Benefits Create Confusion

By Robert F. Brogan, CELA Public benefit programs are likely to see significant modifications. Legislators are already proposing major changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare and other programs of enormous importance to individuals with disabilities. Legislative action is likely to impact the following: Repeal or revision of ACA Block grants […]

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Posted: February 9th, 2017 | No Comments »

Retirement Funds and SNTs

Watch Out for the Details By Andrew H. Hook, CELA Retirement accounts are often among a family’s largest assets, so you may have thought about leaving a portion to your son or daughter with disabilities. But if they will ever need means-tested benefits, your good intentions could disqualify them for important programs such as Medicaid […]

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Posted: January 4th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

New Rule Would Ban Required Arbitration in Nursing Home Disputes

By Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq. New regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), scheduled to become effective November 28, 2016, prohibit federally funded nursing homes from requiring applicants to agree to binding arbitration in the event of future disputes. The regulations, however, are currently on hold due to an injunction entered by […]

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Posted: November 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

ABLE Implementation: Fall 2016 Update

By Taylor Woodard MPAff & MSSW, Program Associate, The Arc There have been numerous developments in ABLE programs since the enactment of the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014. With this piece of legislation, lawmakers made it possible for some individuals with disabilities with onset prior to age 26 […]

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Posted: October 24th, 2016 | 2 Comments »

Expanding ABLE: Three Bills to Improve the ABLE Program

By Taylor Woodard MPAff & MSSW, Program Associate, The Arc The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act authorizes tax-advantaged savings accounts for some people with disabilities and their families. Modeled after the existing qualified tuition (529) accounts, these accounts allow for more individual choice and control over spending, while protecting eligibility […]

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Posted: October 18th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

When Should You Consider a Pooled Trust?

By Janet L. Lowder, CELA, and Elena Lidrbauch, CELA Directly receiving a personal injury settlement, inheritance or other sizable sum of money can derail the finances of someone with disabilities. That’s because having more than $2,000 in resources makes them ineligible for means-tested government programs such as Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which may […]

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Posted: September 27th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Coaches Can Help Job-Seekers with Disabilities

By Katherine N. Barr, Esq. Only 17.8 percent of U.S. working age individuals with disabilities have jobs. For adults who have autism, a developmental disability that has skyrocketed in prevalence, the unemployment rate is 80% (The Economist, April 2016). On average, those with jobs only worked part-time and faced large pay gaps compared to the […]

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Posted: August 2nd, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Adopting a Child with Special Needs

By Jennifer L. Lile, CELA There are up to 134,000 children with “special needs” awaiting permanent homes, according to the National Adoption Center, and the demand is growing. In the context of foster care and child welfare, “special needs” refers not only to a child who has disabilities, but to children whose risk factors for […]

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Posted: July 25th, 2016 | No Comments »

Roundup: Subsidized Housing/Nursing Home Contracts/Alzheimer’s

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. SNTs and Section 8 Housing A recent court decision has implications for special needs trust beneficiaries who seek subsidized housing. Read more. Nursing Home […]

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Posted: July 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

I Just Want to Raise My Child:

Discrimination Against Parents with Disabilities By Robert L. McClelland, CELA The National Center on Parents with Disabilities estimates that at least 4.1 million Americans with children under 18 (6.2 percent) have disabilities of their own. Every day, in countless ways, those moms and dads battle deep-rooted stereotypes as they take on that toughest of jobs […]

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Posted: June 1st, 2016 | 2 Comments »

Tips for Negotiating the Best IEP

By Linda M. Gorczynski, Esq. For many families, negotiating for their child’s special ed services is highly stressful. So much depends on a young student’s getting the tools to prepare for adulthood. By law, every child with disabilities is entitled to a “free and appropriate” public education (FAPE), but coming to agreement on exactly what […]

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Posted: May 19th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

Roundup: Family Case Study/Modified Curriculums/Paying Home Care Workers

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. Family Case Study Planning for the long-term needs of a loved one with disabilities is a big job. Check out this case study about […]

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Posted: May 3rd, 2016 | No Comments »

Bipartisan Policy Center Recommends Long-Term Care Innovations

By Robert F. Brogan, CELA It was in late 2013 that the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), led by former Senators Tom Daschle (D) and Bill Frist (R), began studying the financing and delivery of long-term care. It took only a few months for them to assess the problem’s scope. Long-term care is costly in the […]

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Posted: April 13th, 2016 | No Comments »

Vote!

By The Arc “Vote as if your life depends on it,” Justin Dart, Jr., the disability rights pioneer often known as the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act, implored us, “Because it does.” Our core values call us to focus on voting during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in this critical election year.  The Arc’s […]

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Posted: April 1st, 2016 | No Comments »