Loud and Clear: A Special Needs Conversation

In Case You Missed This: Choosing Summer Camp for Kids with Disabilities

The summer camp experience can benefit a child with special needs and parents alike, but they’re likely to feel anxious ahead of time. For kids, it’s fear of the unfamiliar. For parents, it’s worries about having someone who doesn’t really know their child suddenly take charge. But if properly researched, spending time at a day […]

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Posted: February 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

Don’t Let an Emergency Find You Unprepared

By Elizabeth L. Gray, CELA While snowstorms, fires and other disasters can plunge entire communities into chaos, the challenges for those with disabilities are often even more acute. But with careful planning, individuals with special needs and their families can reduce the disruption. Get Informed Begin by contacting your local emergency management office to understand […]

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Posted: January 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Paid Family and Medical Leave: The Disability Angle

By TJ Sutcliffe, Director, Income & Housing Policy, The Arc The need for paid family and medical leave is universal. Nearly all of us at some point will need time away from work to care for a family member’s or our own serious medical condition, or to welcome a new baby or new child into […]

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Posted: December 10th, 2017 | No Comments »

SNA Members at The Arc Convention

Members of the Special Needs Alliance played an active role at The Arc’s recent convention in San Diego. Mary E. O’Byrne, SNA board member, shared the podium with Robin Shaffert, The Arc’s Senior Executive Officer, Individual and Family Support, during a popular session on ABLE accounts and special needs trusts (SNTs). Mary, along with SNA […]

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Posted: November 28th, 2017 | No Comments »

Travelers with Special Needs Learn Ins and Outs of Airports

Travel can be especially stressful for individuals with disabilities…or it can open doors. During October, members of the Special Needs Alliance participated in programs in Chicago, Houston and Phoenix that were designed to introduce those with special needs to the airport experience. The Houston and Phoenix events were part of a nationwide program, Wings for […]

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Posted: October 31st, 2017 | No Comments »

Special Ed Needs Flexibility

By Krista S. Peyton, Esq., Guest Blogger Families find it difficult to navigate the special ed system. In my experience, there’s a tendency for school districts to push a one-size-fits-all model, with parents expected to accept what’s on offer. My son, Maxwell, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and through grade nine, […]

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Posted: September 19th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

In Case You Missed This: Adopting A Child With Special Needs

In case you missed this: Adopting a Child with Special Needs By Mary L. Waltari, Esq. There’s a growing need by children with disabilities for permanent, loving homes.If you think you’re ready to adopt a child with special needs, it’s important to the child, yourself and your family to research the financial, educational, medical and legal […]

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Posted: September 4th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

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 | 3 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 | 1 Comment »

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 | 3 Comments »

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 | 11 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 | 1 Comment »

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 | 2 Comments »

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 »