Category Archives: Special Needs Planning

12 Free Preventive Services Medicare Provides

Retirees are entitled to a variety of preventive tests and services once they sign up for Medicare at age 65.  Some of these screenings are provided with no out-of-pocket costs for retirees. Here are some of the free preventive services

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ABA Commission Develops App for Healthcare Directives

April 16 was National Health Care Decisions Day, and we posted an article in our last newsletter emphasizing the importance of having a current Advance Health Care Directive.  This document names the person(s) who would have legal authority to make

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Back-to-School Tips for Children with Special Needs

Courtney Elder Law Associates Law Firm, released an article discussing "Back-to-School Tips for Children with Special Needs ", if you would like to know more Please continue reading here. As a new school year approaches, nerves often take center stage

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Baseball, RBIs and Caregivers

Dear Will, A couple weeks ago you had a great night at the ballpark.  Your team was behind (and eventually lost, but that’s not a big deal).  You came to the plate and took a strike from the pitching machine

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Can Daddy Sign a Will or Power of Attorney?

When a spouse or parent has been diagnosed with dementia or some other condition that affects cognition, the family members may conclude (or be told by others) that the person no longer can sign a valid will or power of

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Caregiver Agreements Can Clarify Family Roles

Paying a relative for care of a frail parent or of an adult child or sibling with disabilities is an option that sometimes solves a variety of problems. “Caregiver agreements” can enable an individual with special needs to remain living

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Consider Medical Expenses In Your Retirement Planning

Did you know Medicare doesn't cover long-term care? The common belief that Medicare will cover the vast majority of healthcare expenses in retirement is simply not the case.  A recent study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) estimates that

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Do a Letter of Intent for Your Child

A “Letter of Intent” is a detailed description of a child (or incapacitated spouse) with a disability, including explanations of his or her medical, physical, mental, emotional, family, social, religious, educational and recreational history, abilities, preferences and dislikes.  This Letter

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Income Taxes and Special Needs

As April 15 looms, people with special needs - and their families, caretakers and trustees - think about the same thing that preoccupies every other American: income taxes.  But are there special rules, benefits or practices that are particularly focused

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Legal Rights to Autism Treatment Services for Children

On July 7, 2014 the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services issued an Informational Bulletin addressing services available to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) available under the federal Medicaid program.  Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can

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Medicaid Where Assets Don’t Matter

I recently had the opportunity to help two clients who were in despair about lack of health care coverage.  One was a young single mother of a disabled child, the other a retiree widow.  The young mom told me that

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More Autistic People or More Diagnoses?

A new study from the British Medical Journal suggests that outside factors ranging from diagnosis methods to socioeconomic status may have inflated reports that suggest rates of autism are spiking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's March 2014 report

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Plan For Your Health Care Decision-Making

The law presumes that every adult is competent to make his or her own health-care decisions, and that no one has authority to make such decisions for the individual unless (a) the individual has voluntarily given that person authority to

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Representative Payee for Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program is the primary government benefit that provides income to people with disabilities. If individuals with a disability are unable to work and have paid into the social security system, they may receive Social

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Richard Courtney Testifies Before Congress

Richard A. Courtney, President of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) and principal in the Courtney Elder Law Associates section of Frascogna Courtney, PLLC, testified Friday, September 18 before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health in favor

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Siblings Don’t Always Make the Best Trustees

As the parent of a child with disabilities, you may already know that you have to establish a trust to handle any inheritance you leave for your son or daughter.  But do you know the most important question?  Selecting your

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Social Security Clarifies Special Needs Trust Rules

We regularly help attorneys and families of disabled children or adults who have public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.  These programs have limits on the “countable” assets recipients may own to be eligible.  When the size of

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Social Security to Resume Mailing Benefits Statements

Do you remember getting your annual benefits statement from Social Security around the time of your birthday each year?  These Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statements (PEBES) included:  an estimate of monthly benefits you could expect to receive at various

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The Life Care Plan – Helping You Care For Mom

A Common Family Crisis.  Consider the following situation:  Your mom has recently begun to suffer the effects of dementia, stroke or other incapacitating illness. You have a spouse and full-time job and are raising children of your own, but you

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The Ups and Downs of Special Needs Families

October is national Special Needs Law Month.  It has been my privilege and passion for over 30 years to help other families with children and adults with disabilities.  We help those clients plan to effectively use and pass on family

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Tips for Negotiating the Best IEP

By: Linda M. Gorczynski, Esq. For many families, negotiating for their child’s special ed services is highly stressful. So much depends on a young student’s getting the tools to prepare for adulthood. By law, every child with disabilities is entitled

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Trust Protectors for Special Needs Trusts

Loving parents set up a special needs trust (SNT) for their child with disabilities and name themselves as trustees.  They intend to fund it with assets upon their deaths and provide for the appointment of the husband’s sister as the

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Two Breaks for Disabled in New Tax Bill

The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act threatened to remove some important provisions for persons with disabilities from the law.  However, two important provisions were kept after the tough negotiations over the Republicans’ overhaul of the tax code. Medical Expense

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Two Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

This article is reprinted with permission of the Special Needs Alliance - www.specialneedsalliance.org. 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

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Two Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

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

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Upcoming Events and Presentations

Below are some upcoming presentations by Richard Courtney on various elder law and special needs planning topics, followed by important information about some great events to be put on by a variety of non-profit groups.  (Contact us if you would

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What About Hiring a Caregiver?

Many spouses, children and siblings of persons with disabilities or incapacitated elders hire non-family caregivers.  If non-family caregivers are paid to provide such services, they are either employees or independent contractors.  This article addresses how this determination is made and

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What is Protection & Advocacy, and What Can It Do for You?

Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. The first P&A program - PADD (Protection and Advocacy for People with Developmental Disabilities) – was created

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Where Can Service Animals Go?

by Richard A. Courtney, CELA Service animals can change lives. My daughter, Melanie, who’s had service dogs for years, comments that beyond the many helpful tasks they perform and the unconditional love they provide, they open up opportunities for social

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You Must Take This Important Step by April 16!

March 31 was a sad but important anniversary.  Nine years ago on that date, Terri Schiavo died.  But not before her husband and parents battled for over 15 years in at least nine courts to decide whether the young Florida

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