Government Benefits

Roundup: Decisions for Minors/Aid & Attendance/SNT Cost-Benefit

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 from member blogs and newsletters… Who Can Make Decisions for a Minor Child with Special Needs? In these days of blended families, who can represent the interests of a [...]


How to Handle SSI Overpayments

By Neal A. Winston, CELA Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly cash payment to qualifying individuals with disabilities, based on financial need. While it often forms the foundation of their financial security, its requirements are both strict and complex. Even attorneys who don’t routinely deal with public benefits may get confused. So it’s not [...]


More Monitoring of Representative Payees

By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has appointed millions of representative payees to manage Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for individuals who are unable to handle their own finances. Such assistance, which is provided to minors, as well as those with cognitive disabilities or substance abuse [...]


Housing: A Big Piece of Puzzle for Ensuring Your Loved One’s Future

By Desiree Kameka, Autism Housing Network As the project leader for the Autism Housing Network, I have visited over 100 residential options and social enterprises across our country. I have seen the great, the good, the bad, and the “I thought this was a good idea.” Abraham Maslow was right when he listed “shelter” as [...]


Roundup: Back to Work/Money Management/SSI

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 from member blogs and newsletters. Transitioning Back to Work After Receiving Disability Benefits Learn about government programs designed to ease you back into the workforce, while protecting certain benefits. [...]


How to Get Started with Special Needs Planning

By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq. Given packed schedules, fragmented services and lack of information, how can families get started with special needs planning? A University of Illinois study found that fewer than half its respondents had done long-term planning for their children with developmental disabilities. Getting Started While the challenges are significant, the reality is [...]


Dual Eligible Beneficiaries Under Medicare and Medicaid

By Amy C. O`Hara, CELA There are an estimated 11.4 million individuals receiving services through both Medicare and Medicaid. These individuals, or “dual eligible beneficiaries,” are among some of the most vulnerable members of the patient population, due to a combination of low income and a high incidence of chronic health conditions. However, dual eligible [...]


Citizenship Status and Special Needs

By Barbara Isenhour, Esq. Citizenship issues can significantly complicate the often bewildering process of qualifying for special needs benefits. Each federal program has its own stringent citizenship regulations. In addition, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which are two of the most important programs for individuals with disabilities, have strict income requirements. If a non-citizen [...]


Government Benefits for Vets with PTSD

By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq. While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs throughout the U.S. population, military veterans are particularly at risk. Some studies estimate that up to 30 percent of the vets who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD. The disorder, which is caused by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying [...]


Crowdfunding Should Be Handled with Care

By Stephen W. Dale, Esq. Crowdfunding, with websites such as GoFundMe, has increasingly been used to raise money on behalf of individuals with disabilities. In such cases, family, friends and members of the general public want to help pay for medical treatments, home renovations or the many other expenses faced by someone with special needs [...]


Avoiding SSI Reductions When An Adult With Disabilities Lives With Family

By Neal A. Winston, CELA When individuals with disabilities live with family members, it can complicate their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since SSI’s monthly cash payments are meant to pay for food and shelter, contributions from others for such living expenses may reduce SSI or could disqualify the beneficiary completely. With planning, that [...]


ABLE Accounts and SNTs: How to Choose?

The “ABLE” account is a relatively new planning tool that offers an individual with disabilities a tax-free savings option (similar to a 529 College Savings Plan) that does not interfere with the individual’s eligibility for means-tested government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Special needs trusts (SNTs) are well-established savings tools that [...]


Appealing Medicaid And SSI Decisions: Know Your Rights

By Ann N. Butenhof, CELA & Judith L. Bomster, Esq. Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) are often essential to quality of life for individuals with disabilities. So it can be very stressful if benefits are denied, decreased or terminated. But federal law guarantees the right to appeal if you think a mistake has been [...]


The Social Security Administration’s Special Needs Trusts Review Process

A Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient is eligible to receive a monthly cash benefit when the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that, among other eligibility criteria, the recipient’s income and resources fall below certain limits. Generally, the SSA includes funds held in trust for the benefit of the recipient towards this resource limit; however, funds [...]

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 [...]


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 [...]


A Place Of Her Own (Part II)

The 2014 CMS Home and Community-Based Settings Rule By James McCarten, Esq. This is the second in a series of three articles exploring the challenges, options and effects of new regulations on community-based living for individuals with disabilities. The author is both a special needs attorney and father to Kathryn, who has autism. The first [...]


Government Programs for Children with Disabilities

By Mary Waltari, Esq. Are you aware of the federal government programs available to minors? Some cover all minors and some cover only minors with disabilities. They vary from cash payments to healthcare coverage to a range of other supports. Cash Payments Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Children with qualifying disabilities whose families meet SSI's low [...]


Finding the Right In-Home Aide

By Paula Peaden, Esq. In-home services are often the key to keeping individuals with disabilities of all ages living in the mainstream community. But hiring and working with aides in the family home can be an emotion-fraught experience. Here are some tips. Think Through Needs Carefully consider exactly what services your loved one requires. These [...]


SSI Rules for Students

This installment of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Somers Tamblyn King Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. Barbara's practice focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with children who have special needs. A board member of Full Life Care in Seattle, Barbara frequently lectures around the state of Washington on issues involving special needs trusts and government benefits for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.