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Articles Posted in Special Needs Planning

By  Colleen Masse

AdobeStock_330235599-300x200These are strange times. We all feel it. We’re in our homes, venturing out cautiously, masks have become a part of daily life. I constantly have the eerie feeling I’m in a dystopian movie. All families are finding new ways to be together and take care of each other. In families already dealing with underlying disabilities these new stressors can be terrifying. 

Families with members who have disabilities have always had to learn to zig and zag since society isn’t always easy to navigate, so adaptability is a skill that has been developed by necessity. Now more than ever that adaptability is being tested. It’s no news to you that advocacy and determination are now, more than ever needed.

AdobeStock_125116470-300x200By Colleen E. Masse

Planning a secure, comfortable, and fulfilling future for a loved one with a disability is a huge responsibility. It’s not a task to be undertaken lightly, or without expert legal assistance. 

A strong plan has two parts. The first is the drafting and executing of core legal documents including power of attorney, a healthcare directive, a Will, and a special needs or supplemental needs trust. Each of these documents serves an important role, but they are just the foundation. 

AdobeStock_69276169-300x200Seeking competitive advantages is a key part of any business’ survival strategy. Whether you are running an auto parts store, advertising agency, or global tech firm, your venture has a better chance at long-term success if you are able to uncover unique ways to gain an edge over your competitors. Today, some of the savviest corporations and small businesses are doing just that by hiring people with disabilities.

There are a great many misconceptions about how employees with disabilities affect the efficiency and profitability of the companies that hire them. Far too many people still believe long-outdated ideas about the capabilities of individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. Recent research, however, is breaking down these archaic notions to reveal the huge potential in an inclusive and diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities.

Take for instance the findings of the U.S. Department of Labor, which reported that employers who embrace disability as a core part of their staffing plan typically see:

AdobeStock_187262416-300x200We may not have flying cars or robot butlers yet, but technology is constantly edging us closer and closer to the world of the future that used to exist only in cartoons like The Jetsons. While many of the latest technology products are marketed primarily as nice-to-have devices that offer entertainment or convenience, there is a whole other application for these items. Wearables and text-to-speech programs and voice-activated devices can be very helpful, but they can be life-changing to someone who is disabled or elderly.

For people with mobility issues, impaired vision, speech disorders, and other challenges, assistive technologies can make all kinds of tasks easier. The ever-growing range of “smart home” devices is an area of particular interest. These primarily voice-activated products offer a novel solution for busy people who feel the need to multitask, but for others they can be a powerful new tool for handling the day-to-day tasks needed to remain independent.

So-called “smart home” technology  refers to devices that connect to, monitor, and control physical objects such as thermostats, blinds, security cameras, lighting, music, computers, and so forth. These smart devices are used to manage a broad range of elements including a home’s environment and energy use, ambiance or atmosphere (lighting, music, etc.), entertainment, and security.

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Since our primary goal for clients with special needs is to help them build a life within the greater community, we are always looking for additional resources to help us accomplish this goal. We are pleased to introduce you to Aimee McBride, the most recent addition to our team.

Aimee, care manager for Connecticut Community Care, is now part of our special needs planning department. She will work closely with our special needs trust beneficiaries and will perform assessments and develop care plans with the objective of keeping our beneficiaries in their preferred environment.  She will also help to ensure they are receiving all the state and federal benefits that they are entitled to as well as getting access to appropriate home care services.

“We are excited to expand the firm’s advocacy for our families,” says Attorney Colleen Masse, head of our special needs planning department.  “With so many programs and services available, it can be overwhelming for individuals to navigate alone.  Adding Aimee to our team expands our ability to help maximize our clients’ independence and quality of life. “

iStock_000023479361SmallEveryone yearns for time to relax and refresh during the summer months – especially sun-starved New Englanders. But if you’re a family caregiver, a ‘carefree’ vacation may be hard to come by.

–      If you leave town, who will take your place?

–      If you bring your loved one with you, will your vacation venue be equipped for their special needs?

There’s a lot to think about. But with good planning, you can take a breather from caregiving and give yourself a well-deserved break.

Here are some helpful suggestions: Continue reading

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Lindsey Runkel playing sled hockey

Now that we are done rooting for the USA teams to do their best in the Olympic Winter Games, we want to shift focus to the Paralympics Winter Games that are about to begin on March 8th, also in PyeongChang.

Let’s give a shout-out to some amazing athletes in our own state – members of the Gaylord Sports Association.

colleen-240x300We are pleased to welcome special needs planning attorney Colleen Masse to our team as a valuable and experienced addition to our Special Needs and Disability Planning Department. Colleen was drawn to focus on helping families navigate special needs trusts because of her own passion for special needs advocacy, a passion that grew out of personal family experience and evolved into an impressive and rewarding career.

Colleen began her legal career at Travelers, but after 9/11 took some time off to be a stay-at-home parent to her two sons. Her deep interest in helping children with disabilities and survivors of child abuse inspired her to become an advocacy trainer. In that role, she coordinated seminars for teachers and parents, helping them better understand and address the challenges faced by children with special needs, students and their caregivers and teachers. She also took on related roles:

  • Joined the board of SpEdConnecticut, a lobbying and advocacy group with a similar focus

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By Colleen E. Masse

You did it! You made it to 18 and now your child is an…ADULT?!

Yes, that’s right, your little bundle of joy is all grown up and your work is done, or is it? Here are some things to consider as your child reaches the age of majority.

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While there are endless concerns for parents of children with special needs, one of the greatest worries is who will care for them in the future.

With proposed Connecticut State budget cuts to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) totaling millions of dollars, parents need to plan now to ensure quality care throughout the child’s lifetime.

“Generally, the parent of a child with special needs has two goals: to provide or source enough financial security to  maintain the child’s quality of life now and after the parent is no longer here, Continue reading

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