Articles Posted in Special Needs Planning

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. 

Tax Free SavingsFor those who are new to the game, ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts for individuals with qualifying disabilities that began before age 26.

Created in 2014 as the ABLE Act, there are now over 20 ABLE programs to choose from and now Connecticut has its own ABLE plan!

How does an ABLE account work?

Who Blue cubes. Part of a series.

There are many ways a trustee of a special needs trust could cause harm to a beneficiary, however unintentionally. This is why many people choose to have a disability planning attorney take on this critical role.

Here are 10 things to consider when deciding who should administer a special needs trust:

1. SSI, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid… sound confusing? It can feel like alphabet soup to the uninitiated. Does the prospective trustee understand the differences between these public benefit programs and the rules that govern them? A trustee with limited understanding could unwittingly jeopardize a beneficiary’s eligibility.

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iStock_$GiftIf you’re coping with a disability, either your own or a family member’s, a little help goes a long way. The little-known PLAN of Connecticut Charitable Trust is available to pay for a wide range of products and services that could significantly improve your quality of life.

The Charitable Trust provides assistance to people of all ages with disabilities, based on financial need. According to the US Department of Labor, individuals with disabilities are three times as likely to live in poverty as any other group regardless of race, age, gender or geography. Continue reading

dollars-1412644-mThe Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning Continue reading

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.

compassYour child with special needs is getting older – and so are you. Perhaps your child has always had special needs, or maybe he had a life-altering event such as an accident or the onset of mental illness.  Whatever the reason, he will need help long after you’re gone.

We imagine your goals are two-fold:

1. Your deepest desire is to help your special needs child maintain his quality of life when you’re no longer here.

2. You also want to protect your child’s eligibility for government programs designed to support people with disabilities.

What is the best way to achieve these goals? Continue reading

High speed rail tracksYou may be able to get financial help sooner than you think.

If you become permanently disabled before your retirement age and are no longer able to work, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that allows you to apply for your full Social Security benefits now.

Don’t be discouraged by the stories you hear about the application and determination process taking months, or even years. If you have one of the conditions included on the “Compassionate Allowances” list, your application may be approved in a matter of weeks.

How great that would be! Continue reading

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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