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Posts Tagged ‘special needs’

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act

On November 7, Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL); Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA); Finance Committee – Health Care Subcommittee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV); and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act in the Senate (S. 1672).  The House companion (H.R. 2123) recently picked up six new cosponsors. The bill would allow people with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts without having to ask a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or the court.   Now is the time to take action…

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Justice Department Enters Interim Settlement Agreement Regarding Segregated Job Placement of Persons With Disabilities

  On June 13, 2013, the United States entered a court-enforceable interim settlement agreement with the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence which resolved the Civil Rights Division's findings, as part of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Olmstead investigation, that the State and City have unnecessarily segregated individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in a sheltered workshop and segregated day activity service program, and have placed public school students with I/DD at risk of unnecessary segregation in that same program. The first-of-its-kind agreement will provide relief to approximately 200 Rhode Islanders with I/DD who have…

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Budgeting for Trustee Success

The government prepares a budget. Businesses and families prepare budgets. A special needs trust should be no different. Unfortunately, many trustees of special needs trusts (especially family members of trust beneficiaries) have little or no experience handling financial matters for another person. Add to that the fact that special needs trusts are often funded with sums of money that greatly exceed a trustee's own means and you have a recipe for mismanagement. The smartest solution is to name a professional as a trustee of a special needs trust, either alone or in conjunction with a friend or family member of…

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Parents Worry About Aging Children with Developmental Disabilities

Across the country, according to U.S. Census figures, 20 percent of adults below age 65 have developmental or physical disabilities – and almost 70 percent of the families of special needs adults in a recent MetLife survey said they worried about their offspring's future. The Alta California Regional Center, which serves 18,250 people with developmental disabilities in 10 counties, has about 5,000 adult clients who still live at home with their parents, just as Jessica and Lori do. "And every one of those clients will age," said Phil Bonnet, the regional center's executive director. "People who grew up in our…

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Parents Create Housing Alternatives for Adult Children With Disabilities

As children with disabilities enter adulthood, more parents are joining forces to create independent housing that is more "home" than "facility." Baruch and Joyce Schur were out of options. They couldn't find anywhere for their physically and intellectually disabled 26-year-old son to live, at least nowhere that met their criteria or didn't have a years-long waiting list. The 55-year-old couple made plans to move out of state. Uprooting themselves from their native Chicago and leaving friends and a family business was the only way to give Josh a home – not an institution – that offered independence, a kosher kitchen,…

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Help for parents who have children with disabilities

Parents of children with special needs are no strangers to years of expensive care for their children. As a result, a growing number of financial-services companies, lawyers and financial planners are referring to themselves as “special-needs planners”, and help parents provide for children with disabilities, particularly in the event that parents are no longer alive to do so. These professionals provide guidance for families through the complex maze of federal and state programs for disabled individuals, and help establish trusts, insurance policies, retirement plans and estate-planning documents.  The financial crisis has added urgency to families’ concerns insofar as how their…

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When is it Fraud?

Liz and Jennie are sisters who have always been close. Liz suffers from severe manic depression, but with medication she is able to live on her own, although she can't work. Because of her condition, Liz receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and she also lives in a government-subsidized apartment. For the last few years, Liz's aunt, as part of her estate planning, has written Liz a check for $10,000. Since Jennie knows that receiving large sums of money could jeopardize Liz's eligibility for her government benefits, she encourages her sister to endorse the check over to her so that…

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Funding a Special Needs Trust with Life Insurance

Family members often experience a feeling of accomplishment when they sign their special needs trusts (SNTs), but signing trust documents is really only the first step in reaching the ultimate goal. The SNT is just a piece of paper if the clients and their team of advisers (often a lawyer, financial adviser, and accountant) have not planned how to fund the trust. Funding the Trust-Common Alternatives Some families have sufficient assets to fund their SNT by directing their assets into the trust through their estate plans. However, even these families may be concerned about future financial setbacks or long-term illnesses…

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I’ve heard about Special Needs Trusts but what is a Pooled Trust?

A pooled trust is created by the person with special needs, a parent, grandparent, guardian, or a court. However, the trust is administered by a non-profit organization. The trust is funded by the disabled beneficiary’s assets. Each beneficiary has a separate account established, but for the purposes of investment and management of funds, the trust “pools” all these various accounts into one.  However, upon the death of the disabled beneficiary, if there are funds remaining in the account, the trust pays to the State of Maryland, an amount up to the total amount of Medical Assistance provided to the beneficiary.  The…

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 eliminates the option for health insurance companies to deny coverage for a preexisting condition

Until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), the only health care coverage available to persons with disabilities was Medicare or Medicaid. For persons with disabilities who have a limited work history, unless they became disabled before age 22 and later qualified for Medicare upon the worker parent’s retirement, disability or death, Medicaid has been the only available source of health care coverage. Consequently, the ACA eliminates the option for health insurance companies to deny coverage for a preexisting condition. Therefore, the new health insurance provides options for people with disabilities. Since September 23, 2010, health insurance…

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