Loud & Clear: Family Conversations is written by our member attorneys and guests for individuals with disabilities and their families. We tackle the day-to-day and long-range issues that affect the quality of life. Readers are welcome to comment on the discussion, though we can not answer legal questions here. For answers to specific legal questions, please find an attorney in our Directory.
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 [...]
This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). She is a frequent national speaker on special needs planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.
By Shawn R. Majette, Esq. Special needs planning for a loved one with mental illness is complicated. Symptoms tend to wax and wane. This makes it difficult to balance protection [...]
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 [...]
Older Adults with Developmental Disabilities Want to Age in Place Pamela Merkle is executive director of the St. Louis-based, nonprofit Association on Aging with Developmental Disabilities (AADD). “Individuals with developmental [...]
By James M. McCarten, Esq. As a 2017 holiday present to taxpayers, Congress passed tax legislation that your representatives, senators and many tax professionals have described as the most significant [...]
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 [...]
By Scott C. Suzuki, Esq. Scott Suzuki (in white shirt) has been a Special Olympics basketball coach for over 15 years. The recent Winter Olympics reminded us that competitive athletics [...]
By Robert B. Fleming, CELA ABLE accounts are relatively new savings options open to certain individuals with disabilities. As long as the funds are used “to improve the beneficiary’s health, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
By Barbara A. 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 [...]
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 [...]
This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She is a frequent national speaker on Special Needs Planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her vast amounts of free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.
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 [...]
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 [...]
By Scott C. Suzuki, Esq. Laws have to apply to everyone and this rigid standard can cause problems when dealing with the issue of "legal capacity," because capacity can’t be [...]
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 [...]
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), commonly designated as first-party and third-party SNTs. It is important to determine which type of SNT you have or need. This depends upon whose property is funding the SNT. If the property funding the SNT originates with the SNT beneficiary, then it is a first-party SNT. However, if the property funding the SNT always belonged to someone other than the SNT beneficiary, then it must be drafted as a third-party SNT.
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 [...]