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Latest from Virginia Disability Law Blog

In Virginia, approximately 15% of Medicare beneficiaries who are disabled or have qualifying chronic conditions are under the age 65.  Until recently, Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia who were under age 65 were not eligible to purchase Medicare supplement policies, which effectively limited the care (and the affordability of care) the individual could receive. Fortunately, a new law was recently passed in Virginia that will now allow those who would otherwise qualify for Medicare benefits to…
We often hear from grandparents who want to leave an inheritance to a grandchild with special needs when they are gone. They want the peace of mind knowing that there will be money set aside to help offset expenses that the family may incur, such as hiring home health aides, making home and vehicle modifications, and other disability-related expenses. However, leaving an inheritance outright to a person with special needs often causes more harm than…
When a child with special needs turns 18, he or she may be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides benefits for disabled adults with limited income and resources. How much money the disabled individual is eligible to receive depends on a number of factors, including his or her living situation.  Under the Social Security Administration’s current guidelines, anyone who receives SSI must pay for their own food and shelter costs in order…
A Special Needs Trust is an important legal tool that holds assets for a person with special needs.  By keeping assets separate in a Special Needs Trust, the funds will not affect the person’s eligibility for public benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In the end, the person with special needs will have money set aside for his or her future care, while keeping key benefits necessary for healthcare and other daily…
Planning for the future of a child with special needs can be overwhelming. There are so many details to consider. Planning ahead to secure their lifestyle and health-related needs requires a lot of time and energy. Even the idea of how much money to leave them is challenging because you could inadvertently put their access to government benefits at risk. It is recommended that you work with a lawyer who fully understands the intricacies of…
A Special Needs Trust (also called a Supplemental Needs Trust) is a legal tool that allows someone of the family’s choosing to be in charge of managing money and making decisions on behalf of a child with disabilities. The Special Needs Trust also helps to ensure there are enough financial resources available to meet the child’s long-term care needs, without jeopardizing eligibility for state or governmental aid. This aspect is key, as benefits such as Social Security…
Social Security (SSA) has suspended work on the following until further notice: Social Security will not start or complete any current medical continuing disability reviews.  If you have a medical continuing disability review pending, please do not request medical information from your doctors at this time.  SSA will follow up with you for any medical evidence once the COVID-19 public health emergency subsides; Where possible, SSA is suspending their processing and collection of overpayments; SSA…
Effective March 17, 2020, All Social Security Offices Are Closed ** Phone & Online Services Remain Available ** All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. However, Social Security will still be able to provide critical services. Secure online services remain available at www.socialsecurity.gov.   Local offices will also continue to provide critical services over the phone. If you need help from Social Security:…
The issue of long-term housing for an adult with special needs is often a source of fear and frustration for many parents. We meet with parents who want the peace of mind of knowing that their child will have a suitable place to live when mom or dad is gone, but the options are often limited and waitlists are long. Because the issue of housing can present a number of challenges, we encourage parents to…
Parents who have children with special needs spend a lot of time thinking about the future. They may wonder, “Who will care for my child when I’m gone someday” or “How will we afford a lifetime of care?”  The answers to these questions can feel so overwhelming that parents may feel “stuck” when it ultimately comes to creating a legal plan. Parents may also have prior assumptions about special needs planning that can cause them…