Government Benefits

Obtaining Disability Benefits for a Child with Special Needs

By Ram Meyyappan, Social Security Disability Help Parents of children with special needs are well aware of how costly it can be to provide the best care for their loved one. Fortunately, disability benefits are available to provide financial assistance. Conditions that May Qualify Children can medically qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security [...]


Unfinished Business

By Michael Morris, Executive Director, National Disability Institute The Commission on Long-Term Care was charged by Congress with developing recommendations for the design and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated and high quality system of services and supports for individuals below and above the age of 65 to live full and healthy lives. Although on October [...]


Liability for Medicare Set-Asides Largely Undefined

By Robert B. Fleming, CELA, Tucson, Arizona Medicare set-aside agreements (MSAs) constitute an evolving area of law that should be considered by anyone settling a third party liability claim. The issue dates from passage of the Medicare Secondary Payor Act of 1986, which mandated that settlements in workers' compensation cases evaluate Medicare's potential role in [...]


Military Survivor Benefits and SNTs

Will Congress Correct this Inequity? By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq., Virginia Poor word choice can derail intent. Nearly a decade ago, legislation governing the military's Survivor Benefit Plan stipulated that payments be made to a "person." A literal reading of that language has meant that veterans who have children with special needs can't assign those [...]


It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Mary Andrus, Asst. Vice President, Govt. Relations, Easter Seals Office of Public Affairs As Yogi Berra once put it, "It's déjà vu all over again." On May 16, 2013, the House of Representatives voted for the 37th time to repeal or defund at least part of the Affordable Care Act. Though nothing in Washington [...]


How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect SNTs?

Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., Florham Park, New Jersey Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a hybrid system comprised of Medicaid and state-based insurance exchanges seeks to extend health coverage to all Americans. How will this shape the life care plans that families establish for loved ones with disabilities? Will special needs trusts (SNTs) continue to [...]


CCD Task Force Seeks to Improve Social Security Processes

By Ethel Zelenske, Co-Chair, Social Security Task Force, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is a working coalition of more than 100 national consumer, advocacy, provider and professional organizations, working together with, and on behalf of, the 57 million children and adults with disabilities and their families living in [...]


“Less Visible” Federal Programs Could Feel Budget Ax

By Bridget O’Brien Swartz, CELA As the 113th Congress gets down to business, it's all about the budget. Given the limited tax hike that was approved in the early hours of 2013, the long-term sustainability of many social services remains an issue and cuts appear inevitable. The question is where they will fall. Although entitlement [...]


SSI Overpayments: How Does It Happen and What Can One Do?

This issue of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Tara Anne Pleat, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. She practices in the areas of Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, and Trust and Estate Planning and Administration. Tara writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

Military Families Face Legal Inequities

By Jeremy Hilton I am a Navy veteran and spouse to an active duty Air Force member. After our daughter, Kate, was born with a number of significant disabilities, I resigned my commission to be a stay-at-home dad. This year I was honored as Military Spouse of the Year for my advocacy on behalf of [...]


VA Benefits: A Broken Bureaucracy

By Pi-Yi G. Mayo, CELA It's been said that navigating the Social Security and Medicaid systems is a "sprint," while applying for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits is a "marathon." The relevant law is far more complex and the process is riddled with challenges. In 2009, the VA set itself the goal of the resolving all [...]


SNAP! Food Assistance for Persons with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Laurie Hanson, Esq., a shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law firm of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. The firm's focus is to provide positive strategies to individuals who are aging or living with disabilities to enable them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Laurie concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of government benefit eligibility, special needs trusts, trust and public benefit litigation, estate planning and planning for incapacity. She is the past president of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is repeatedly named a Super Lawyer in the field of elder law by her peers.

2024-05-06T14:28:00-04:00Tags: |

Charitable Intentions – Uncharitable Results

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Mary Alice Jackson, Esq., a member of the Special Needs Alliance and active participant on its Public Policy Committee. She is a partner at Boyer & Jackson, P.A., with offices in Sarasota, Florida, and Austin, Texas. Her practice includes special needs and long-term care planning, estate planning, probate and end-of-life issues. Mary Alice is also an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a past Chair of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section, and an adjunct professor in the Stetson University College of Law Elder LL.M. program.

2024-05-06T14:26:28-04:00Tags: |

Citizenship Status and Disability Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with special needs children. A board member of NAMI Eastside in Redmond, Washington, and 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 disabled.


Private Disability Insurance

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Lisa Nachmias Davis, CELA of the New Haven, Connecticut law firm of Davis O'Sullivan & Priest, LLC, where her practice concentrates on elder law, planning for those with special needs, estate planning and administration, and advice to not-for-profit organizations. A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Connecticut Bar Association's Elder Law Section executive Committee, in 2011 she was named one of the 25 best women lawyers in Connecticut and one of the top 50 women lawyers in New England by SuperLawyers, a Thompson Reuters business that rates attorneys.

2024-05-06T14:22:27-04:00Tags: |

Benefits for Special Needs Children of Civil Service Employees

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Sandra L. Smith, CELA who is a law partner with Andrew Hook, a Special Needs Alliance member from the law firm of Oast & Hook, P.C. in Suffolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the editor of the firm's weekly newsletter, the "Oast & Hook News," which is available on the firm's website and is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Sandra is the co-author of the "Special Needs Trusts" chapter for the Elder Law in Virginia handbook published by Virginia CLE. She retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 20 years active duty service, and earned her law degree from the College of William and Mary School of Law.


Medicaid and Special Needs

By Carol S. Battaglia, Esq. Medicaid, jointly funded by the federal government and individual states, is arguably the most important public benefit available to individuals with disabilities. While eligibility guidelines, services and payment rates vary widely, the federal government requires that all state Medicaid programs pay for physician visits, prescriptions, hospitalization, lab work, x-rays and [...]


Military Life Complicates Care Plans for Dependents with Special Needs

By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq. Managing the care of a child with special needs is time-consuming and stressful. But for military families, who must relocate every three years, the process is grueling. A recently published study, co-authored by the National Council on Disability and the U.S. Marine Corps, details the challenges faced by participants in [...]


Is There a Place for a Family Member with Special Needs in The Family Business?

Jefferey Yussman, Esq. is a member of the Estate Planning Group of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP, in Louisville, Kentucky, where he chairs the firm's special needs planning practice. His practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning and administration, business succession planning and charitable planning, but the birth of his two special needs children 20 years ago led him into the sub-specialty of planning for individuals with special needs. In addition to the Special Needs Alliance (where he is a member of the board), Mr Yussman is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is listed in America's Best Lawyers, Estate Planning (Kentucky estate planner of the year in 2010) and Elder Law, as well as Kentucky Super Lawyers. Mr. Yussman is the current board chairman of Wellspring, a Kentucky organization providing crisis stabilization and housing supports for mentally ill adults, and is a current executive board member of The Community Foundation of Louisville.


Balancing Wages with Public Benefits

By Barbara Isenhour, Esq. Individuals with disabilities and their families often worry about the effect that the individual's working will have on government benefits. Holding a job—aside from delivering a paycheck—is an important route to independence and self-esteem. On the other hand, disability cash benefits such as SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) and SSI (Supplemental [...]