Dental care rarely gets attention as a disability rights issue, but numerous people with disabilities suffer from inadequate and inaccessible dental care. According to a 2012 study of more than 4,700 patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, one-third had cavities and 80 percent had serious gum infections. Among the culprits are dental practices and hospitals with inadequate…

You have completed and executed your plan for your special needs child. Everyone you’ve selected to serve—your guardian, your trustee, your health care proxy, your executor, and possibly a trust protector as well—has signed the paperwork. All set? For now, yes. But it’s a good idea to review these selections on a regular basis, because…

If you are in the process of setting up a special needs trust, you must appoint a trustee. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about the trust.  The trustee must have the necessary expertise to manage the trust, including making proper investments, paying bills, keeping accounts, and preparing tax returns.  Moreover, the…

People wishing to help someone with special needs save for their future without jeopardizing the recipient’s public benefits can now do so using a Gift of Independence gift card. Funds in these gift cards can be placed directly into a person’s ABLE account, which is a relatively new and growing savings tool for people with disabilities. “ABLE” stands…

A proposal tucked into the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) 2020 budget, released March 18, is raising fears that people applying for government disability benefits will soon have their posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks scrutinized. Since at least 2014, the SSA’s Office of Inspector General has used social media as a tool for tracking down…

When parents ponder how to provide for their child with special needs, they sometimes forget one of the key advantages of a special needs trust that is created while the parents are still alive: the trust can be the recipient not just of the obvious assets that are available for the child. Members of the…

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that helps people with disabilities and very low incomes pay for food, clothing and shelter. SSI is often confused with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). One of the main differences between the two programs is that SSDI is available to people with disabilities no matter how much…

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Structured Settlements When victims of medical malpractice and other catastrophic accidents receive awards in personal injury lawsuits, obtaining the award is only half the battle. Of equal, or greater, importance for the person’s future is constructing the settlement structure in a way that best protects their long-term interests. Personal injury…

Families taking advantage of ABLE savings accounts will have a little more flexibility in planning for special needs as a result of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. As we previously discussed, ABLE accounts, created by Congress via the passage of the Achieving a…

Is There a Difference Between “Supplemental” and “Special” Needs Trusts? Have you heard the terms “special” needs trust and “supplemental” needs trust and wondered what the difference is? The short answer is that there’s no difference. Here’s the long answer: When the field of special needs planning began more than two decades ago, trusts created…

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