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By: Sipi Gupta | May 20, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for a spotlight on a different benefit program. Today, we take a look at TANF.


Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

Benefit:  Cash assistance to families with minor children; child care subsidy while parent works or is in school.  Parents with disabilities may receive this benefit for minor child in family

Asset Limit:  Each state sets limits within federal guidelines, usually more restrictive than SSI asset limits

In...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 16, 2019

Until a child reaches age 18, parents are their natural and legal guardians and have the legal authority to make medical, financial, and other decisions for their children. Most school personnel and health care providers will not question the authority of a parent of a minor child to make decisions, recommendations, and participate in all of the areas where a child needs to be represented. At age 18, an individual is presumed to have full capacity, unless otherwise proven.  As a  special needs child nears his or her 18th birthday, parents often wonder whether guardianship over their child is the best recourse. The short answer to this question is, “maybe.” At Gupta Law Firm we counsel against a knee-jerk reaction to pursue a guard...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 13, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for a spotlight on a different benefit program. Today, we take a look at Adoption Assistance.

Benefit:  Cash benefit to parents who adopt special needs children
Asset Limit:  None
Income Limit:  None
Comments:  Amount of the benefit and term of the benefit varies with each state and the child's needs

By: Sipi Gupta | May 09, 2019

Yes! A power of attorney for finances is a document that gives someone – your agent – the right to act on your behalf, but sometimes it’s helpful to have two agents acting for you instead of one. Multiple agents who can act together are permitted, and your document can specify whether you will allow co-agents to act independently of each other or together.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 06, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for a spotlight on a different benefit program. Today, we take a look at Aid & Attendance.

Benefit:  Cash benefit provided by VA if care costs and medical expenses exceed income

Net Worth Limit (combined assets and income):  $127,016; Residence exempt up to 2-acre lot

Comments:  Medical expenses deductible; three-year lookback with disregard for asset transfers prior to 10/18/18

By: Sipi Gupta | May 02, 2019

As a competent adult, you have the right to make your own health care decisions and appoint a trusted person, called a Health Care Surrogate, to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated. However, if you have not appointed a Health Care Surrogate and become incapacitated, the court can step in to protect your rights and appoint a Guardian to make medical decisions on your behalf. A Health Care Power of Attorney is considered an alternative to Guardianship, as giving your Health Care Surrogate the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf can avoid the need for a guardianship for medical decision-making.

By: Sipi Gupta | April 29, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for a spotlight on a different benefit program. Today, we take a look at VA Pension:

Benefit: Cash benefit to low-income disabled and elderly veterans and dependents

Asset Limit: Approximately $80,000; residence and vehicle exempt

Income Limit: Income reduces benefit.  Countable income for single veteran must be less than $13,537 in 2019

Comments:  No option for a SNT to protect excess assets.  Medical expenses can redu...

By: Sipi Gupta | April 25, 2019

These concerts allow sensory-sensitive patrons to engage with the music and the concert hall on their own terms!!  https://www.philorch.org/relaxed-SAA#/


Relaxed Sensory Friendly Performances

What is a Relaxed Sensory Friendly Performance?

Relaxed performances are designed to provide a concert experience that is welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable for children and families with sensory sensitivities, as well as anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment.

Our aim is to create a safe and accepting environment where children, including those on the autism spectrum and with other developmental disabilities, and their families can experience live music together. The Academy of Music’s Ballroom—with its comfy carpet-floor (...

By: Sipi Gupta | April 22, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for a spotlight on a different benefit program. Today, we take a look at CDB:

Child Disability Benefit

Benefit:  Cash benefit for child of deceased, disabled, or retired parent who paid into social security

Asset Limit:  None

Income Limit: None

Comments:  Child must be at least 18 years old, disabled before age 22, and not married unless to a social security beneficiary

By: Sipi Gupta | April 11, 2019

Information about the legislation that we will discuss during our round table next week with Senator Casey and Anna Perng:  http://ablenrc.org/news/able-age-adjustment-bill-reintroduced-us-senate  Currently, in order to open an ABLE account, an individual's age of onset of disability must be 26 or younger.  The ABLE Age Adjustment Bill would increase access to ABLE accounts by permitting individuals with a disability age of onset of up to 46 to qualify.



By: Sipi Gupta | April 11, 2019

Attorneys, check out this CLE on working with low-income clients and providing free representation! This program will address practical issues that often arise in pro bono representation, and strategies for successfully handling them. Faculty will discuss key considerations for transactional and litigation attorneys. Full scholarships and discounts available.  

By: Sipi Gupta | April 08, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for spotlights on different benefit programs. Today, we take a look at SSDI:

Social Security Disability Income

Benefit: Cash benefit for disabled person who paid into social security and under full retirement age

Asset Limit: None

Income Limit: None

Comments:  Must have required work credits based on age and, if over age 30, at least 20 credits must be earned within prior 10 years

By: Sipi Gupta | April 08, 2019

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIHEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). Stop in each week for spotlights on different benefit programs. Today, we take a look at SSI:

Supplemental Security Income

Benefit: Cash benefit to low-income individuals with a disability or who are elderly

Asset Limit: $2,000, single; $3,000, couple.  Exemptions for: home, vehicle, burial arrangements

Income Limit:   In 2019, $771/mo (single) or $1,157/mo (couple) Income reduces benefit.  

Comments:  SNT w...

By: Sipi Gupta | February 22, 2018

Imagine a holistic approach to creating more accessible spaces.   Check out this primer on Universal  Design, then read about the remarkable shift to a world with increased accessibility.

By: Sipi Gupta | January 03, 2018

Awareness of the need for all-access playgrounds continuing to rise. Check out this one in South Jersey!  And, read more about the movement to create more boundless playgrounds for kids here.

Category: Kids 

Tags: good news, disability, kids 

By: Sipi Gupta | May 25, 2017

Trustees of special needs trusts wear many hats. They act as investment manager, bookkeeper, distribution manager, benefits advocate, and financial planner. Often trustees are in constant communication with the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s caregivers regarding many aspects of the beneficiary’s life such as approving distributions for the purchase of a vehicle or even the purchase of a home.

This level of involvement can be confusing for beneficiaries and their families, who may be under the impression that the trustee has the decision-making power in all aspects of a beneficiary’s life. If a trustee can approve or reject the proposed purchase price of a home for the beneficiary, can’t they also decide where the beneficiary lives? In gen...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 22, 2017

A special needs trust cannot pay for food or shelter for an SSI beneficiary without affecting his benefits. But there is no penalty for paying for someone’s food or shelter while they are on SSDI. And if the SSDI beneficiary receives Medicare, there is no penalty there, either.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 20, 2017

The Kentucky attorney who called himself “Mr. Social Security” pleaded guilty to charges of theft of government money and payments to a federal judge for his role in defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA). On March 24, Eric C. Conn admitted to working with doctors and an administrative law judge to procure $550 million in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for clients who may not have been disabled. 

Attorney Conn built the third-largest disability benefits practice in the United States out of his tiny eastern Kentucky town of Pikeville.  The Wall Street Journal reported that he made $3.8 million from disability appeals in 2010 alone.  Under federal law, an attorney is entitle...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 16, 2017

I live in one state and my daughter lives in a group home in neighboring state.  Where should I establish a special needs trust for her benefit?

While the trust can probably be established in either state, your final choice of location may depend on where the trustee lives and what state provides Medicaid benefits for your daughter.  Regardless of where the trust is situated, if your daughter lives in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call us at 215-650-7017 to review the trust to make sure that it complies with local Medicaid rules.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 11, 2017

The challenges of being a child with special needs, or the parent of one, are fairly well known and documented. Less talked about and often ignored is the experience of being the sibling of someone with special needs.  The role can bring with it a confusion of emotions, including frustration, anger, pride, shame, competitiveness, protectiveness, and a sense of having been abandoned in favor of someone with seemingly greater needs.  All of these feelings are explored and dealt with in a new comic book, “Adventures From My World,” conceived and written by a New Jersey teenager named Julie Averbach.

The 20-page comic book presents six illustrated stories of children confronting the challenges of having a sibling with special...

Category: Kids 

Tags: special needs, good news, kids 

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