Monthly Archives: November 2013

Guardianship and Mental Illness


By Martha C. Brown, CELA When someone is living with severe mental illness, the process of obtaining guardianship can be particularly complex. Symptoms may be intermittent, leading individuals to resist legally imposed assistance and making it difficult for a court to establish whether or not they are competent to care for themselves. The goal, of [...]

Guardianship and Mental Illness2020-07-13T15:44:38-04:00

Family Members Should Consider Trust Protector Role


By Robert B. Fleming, CELA, Tucson, AZ For family members wishing to participate in the care of a loved one with special needs, the role of trustee isn't always a good match. Family members may not be particularly familiar with investing, accounting and tax returns. They may not have time to handle ongoing disbursements, or [...]

Family Members Should Consider Trust Protector Role2020-07-13T15:50:54-04:00

Reflections on Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month


By Reginald H. Turnbull, CELA March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the truly dramatic advances made by the special needs community, as well as the challenges remaining before us. Families that have advocated on behalf of loved ones with disabilities are remarkable. They have consistently eschewed labels, fighting to eradicate [...]

Reflections on Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month2020-05-14T14:36:21-04:00

Mental Illness Awareness Month


A Largely Unaddressed Epidemic By Laurie Hanson, Esq. October is Mental Illness Awareness Month, almost an oxymoron. Do you realize that more people in the U.S. have mental illness than any other disability? That a quarter of all adults experience mental illness each year? And that over 50 percent of them will go without the [...]

Mental Illness Awareness Month2020-07-13T15:52:06-04:00

Harkin Report Cites Lack of Community Services


By Bridget O’Brien Swartz, CELA In 1999, the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision found that delivering services in a segregated setting when such services could otherwise be provided in a less restrictive, more integrated setting, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result, states were directed to provide services within the mainstream community to the [...]

Harkin Report Cites Lack of Community Services2020-07-08T09:44:06-04:00

Looming Budget Deadlines Threaten Safety Net


By Bridget O’Brien Swartz, CELA and Morris Klein, CELA As federal budget deliberations become increasingly urgent, there are a number of issues in play: Given that Senate and House versions of the 2014 budget are $91 billion apart and that the fiscal year begins on October 1, a short-term continuing resolution to provide temporary funding [...]

Looming Budget Deadlines Threaten Safety Net2020-07-13T15:52:35-04:00

Tax Planning for Families With Special Needs


By Bradley J. Frigon, CELA As tax-paying season approaches, there are a number of tax obligations and deduction opportunities that families with special needs should bear in mind. It's important to realize that the investment income generated by funds deposited in a special needs trust (SNT) are taxable, yet the details differ, depending upon the [...]

Tax Planning for Families With Special Needs2020-07-13T15:43:57-04:00

Structured Settlements and SNTs


Protecting Public Benefits By John F. Kearns III, CELA, West Hartford, Connecticut When settling a personal injury case, the value that public benefits will bring to the plaintiff's quality of life should be carefully assessed. Means-tested programs such as Medicaid and SSI will often play a central role in providing healthcare and maintaining financial security. [...]

Structured Settlements and SNTs2020-07-13T15:43:31-04:00

The Untapped Talent of Workers with Disabilities


By Jefferey Yussman, Esq. Unemployment for people with disabilities hit 16.8 percent last summer. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that in fiscal 2011, it received more complaints of disability-related employment discrimination than during the previous year. Much misunderstanding persists concerning the individual capabilities of people with special needs. Researchers at Cornell University, for instance, [...]

The Untapped Talent of Workers with Disabilities2020-07-10T13:52:44-04:00

March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month


Advances and Setbacks By Robert B. Fleming, CELA In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties had laid the foundation for significant social change, and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the "encouragement and opportunities" necessary for people with developmental disabilities [...]

March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month2020-07-13T15:52:56-04:00