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Blogging Ahead

By: Sipi Gupta | September 13, 2019

Although special needs planning can seem overwhelming, it is important to begin identifying what your son or daughter will need throughout his or her life and the what-ifs for when you are no longer there.

Step 1: What Will Be Needed?

  • A future needs assessment taking into consideration your child's disability and anticipated resources - either from public programs like Medicaid and SSI or through private funds. 
  • Tracking regular and intermittent expenses to give you a baseline that includes the costs associated with your child's day-to-day living
  • Contact nonprofits for people with disabilities that offer support and education as well as the invaluable opportunity to connect with and learn from the experiences of others.  
  • Get a...

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 | March 28, 2017

Earned Income Credit

The amount of the parents "earned" income credit may be increased if there are minor or adult special needs children in the household.

The earned income credit allows lower-income taxpayers to take a certain percentage of their earned income as a refundable credit against the income tax. The earned income credit is determined in part by the number of a taxpayer's qualifying children. 

The earned income credit is phased out as a taxpayer's earned income increases. 

The term "qualifying child" is based on the definition under § 152. For purposes of the earned income credit, however, the support limitation does not apply, the family must live in the U.S., and the child cannot be married. Thus, an ...

By: Sipi Gupta | March 19, 2017

Deduction of Medical Expenses

Parents of a minor or adult child with special needs may be able to deduct some of the child's medical expenses, including certain expenses for special education.

A taxpayer is allowed to deduct certain non-reimbursed expenses for medical care of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse, or a dependent, as defined in § 152. The deduction for medical expenses applies to expenses incurred primarily for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.

Expenses for a mentally or physically disabled individual to attend a special school may be treated as medical expenses if a principal reason for attending the school is to alleviate the disability. Expenses for ordinary education that is incidental t...

By: Sipi Gupta | March 17, 2017

Taxpayers are allowed deductions for their spouses and their dependents.

Especially pertinent to lower- and middle-income taxpayers, the dependency deduction is allowed regardless of whether a taxpayer itemizes deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040.

By: Sipi Gupta | March 07, 2017

The terms "dependent" and "qualifying child" are key concepts in determining a parent's eligibility for several tax benefits. Under Internal Revenue Code § 152, a dependent is defined as a qualifying child or a qualifying relative. A child is a qualifying child of a parent if:

  • The child lives with the parent for more than one-half of the year;
  • The child meets the applicable age requirement (see below); and
  • The child does not provide over one-half of his or her own support for the year.

Concerning the age requirement, a child is a qualifying child if the child is under age 19 or, if the child is a student, under age 24. Under a special rule, however, a child who is permanently and totally disabled is also considered a qualify...

By: Sipi Gupta | February 26, 2017

Parents of children with special needs typically incur expenses for educating and caring for the child that are not reimbursed by insurance or government programs. 

In the coming weeks, Blogging Away will discuss valuable tax deductions and other benefits that may partially offset some of these non-reimbursed expenses or otherwise reduce the tax burden of parents with special needs children. 

Watch this space to learn about:

- "Qualifying" Child(ren)

-  Deductions for Dependents

- Medical Expense Deductions

- Earned Income Credit

By: Sipi Gupta | February 01, 2017

The Young Lawyers Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association provides peace of mind to first responders through this important pro bono project. Find out more about protecting those who protect us.

By: Sipi Gupta | January 27, 2017

Estate planning can be overwhelming. You know it’s the right thing to do, you want to get it done, but it’s easy to put off until tomorrow. The process is even more difficult for those who must consider the care and comfort of a family member with disabilities.

To get started, take it one step at a time.

1. Get Organized. Make a list of your assets and their approximate values. Don’t forget to include beneficiary-designated assets (such as life insurance and retirement plans) and tangible personal property, such as rare books, old coins, antiques, and jewelry. If you are the primary caregiver for an individual with disabilities, gather the most important documents someone else will need to take care of that person. Put everything in one pl...

By: Sipi Gupta | January 21, 2017

  • Make a Plan and Keep It Updated. Planning for your dependent’s future needs goes beyond weekly/daily medical treatments. Caregivers need to review beneficiary designations, apply for government benefits, prepare a Last Will and Testament, and carefully consider other planning techniques unique to each individual situation. Update your plan every 3-7 years to stay on top of changing laws and regulations.
  • Work With an Expert. Effective special needs planning requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and expertise. The same holds true for dealing with issues of medical insurance authorizations for specialized services and products such as physical therapy and medical equipment. Make sure your support team includes an experienced att...