Janet Locke tossed her books down on the counter and got up her nerve. “Hey, Mom, there is something Lyn and I want to discuss with you and Dad. You two have done so much for Lyn all these years, making sure she had every opportunity. And she has exceeded all of our expectations. But now you are climbing up there in years. Isn’t it time we seriously discuss her future?”
“You know, honey, Dad and I have been thinking about that a lot lately, too, especially with our 60th birthdays coming up. I was reading the other day that The Arc has created a Center for Future Planning®. Why don’t the four of us sit down this weekend and see what they can offer us?”
The Arc’s Center for Future Planning® launched Build Your Plan™, an interactive web-based tool that allows families like the Lockes to think through the different aspects of future planning online, while encouraging them to reach out to experts when they need advice and guidance.
Click here for the full article
Our friends at the Ruderman Family Foundation have issued a timely and important White Paper about how the vast majority of TV and movies with disabled characters are played by actors who aren't disabled.
Famed violinist Itzhak Perlman recently received in Jerusalem the $1 million Genesis Prize, an award that honors individuals who have attained excellence in their professional fields, have made a significant contribution to humanity, and serve as an inspiration to others through their dedication to Jewish values and the State of Israel.
Perlman said he will use the prize money from the State of Israel, The Jewish Agency, and the Genesis Prize Foundation primarily to invest in projects that foster greater integration of people with disabilities into Israeli and North American societies.
Click here for the full article.
Money management is complicated for everyone, and even more so for families who have children with disabilities. You can build your financial know-how with free tools and information to help you make more confident decisions, from how to improve your credit rating to saving money on your monthly bills.
BetterMoneyHabits.com® sponsored by Bank of America in partnership with Khan Academy is a free service that enables everyone to understand finances through objective videos and tools.
Get started at the Better Money Habit website
Sharing this from our friends at the ABLE National Resource Center:
With the first ABLE program having launched June 1st, and several other State ABLE programs gearing up to launch in the very near future, the ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) would like to invite potential ABLE participants, their families, and all other ABLE stakeholders to view this webinar archive focused on helping you understand how to determine which ABLE program might be best for you and how to best prepare to open your ABLE account. In addition to our presenter and moderator, Michael Morris, the webinar also features the perspectives of a diverse group of guest panelists comprised of both potential ABLE beneficiaries and family members.
Long-term financial planning is even more complicated than usual when there's an adult child with special needs who will financial support over his/her entire lifetime. Many financial planners aren't familiar with the different needs of our families so choose wisely, and ask if the financial planner has a special care planning certification. We will be putting together a list of local financial planners who have received those certifications.
Special Advice For Special Needs Parents
“These parents are spending $30,000 to $60,000 a year, and a lot of that is out of pocket,” Friese says. “You’re not only planning for the special needs child’s care, you’re trying to make sure the parents are OK.”
Planners have dubbed the issue “retirement for three” as parents never experience an “empty nest.” Around 25% of family caregivers are over 60, according to research by the University of Illinois, and the average age of a person being cared for at home is 38. More than half of special needs children outlive both parents.
Cost-cutting strategies such as downsizing homes or moving to lower-cost areas become impossible if medical and occupational resources for the disabled person aren’t available.
For many families, saving is difficult, Flaum says
To read more, click here.
Good news from the Special Needs Alliance: New Federal rules now allow military veterans to direct their benefits to a special needs trust for their dependent adult children with special needs. Previously, the Department of Defense took the position that a "person" did not include a trust for a child with disabilities, which meant that military members couldn't direct their pension to their adult child with disabilities without jeopardizing their essential government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. Learn more in the article below.
Disabled Military Child Protection Act Policy Issued
On December 31, 2015, the Department of Defense released its policy implementing the Disabled Military Child Protection Act, providing guidance on who may assign survivor benefits to a special needs trust and the procedure for doing so.
President Obama signed the Disabled Military Child Protection Act on December 19, 2014. This law allows a military parent to provide a survivor benefit for a child with a disability, and have it paid to a special needs trust for that child’s benefit. Until this law was enacted, military parents of children with disabilities faced a serious dilemma at retirement – whether or not to choose the military Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) retirement option for their children. The dilemma was that under prior law, the benefit could not be assigned to a special needs trust and could potentially interfere with the child’s eligibility for means-tested government benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid.
Read more at the Special Needs Alliance website.
We came across this great article on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) called: Don't Forget: Some SSI Beneficiaries Can Switch to SSDI When a Parent's Circumstances Change. Check it out and let us know what you think: . A little preview is below:
Because of her disability, a person receiving SSI may not have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits on her own work record. Therefore, once she meets the government’s strict physical or mental disability requirements and falls under SSI’s income and asset caps, the SSI beneficiary might assume that she will never obtain SSDI benefits in the future. But this is not always the case. In fact, many SSI beneficiaries who became disabled prior to turning 22 years old may begin to receive SSDI benefits when one of their parents retires, becomes disabled or passes away.
Click here for the full article.
We wanted to share this great article from the Special Needs Alliance about important tax implications of caring for a loved one with special needs. As always, consult a tax adviser to discuss the details of your particular situation.
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 on people with special needs? Of course there are.
We wrote about tax tips for parents with a child with special needs back in April of 2014, and the information we shared then is still mostly applicable – though with updated figures for this year’s tax filings. In March of 2014, we wrote about tax returns filed by the trustee of a special needs trust, and that information is also still accurate (but with updated figures). You should read those articles! Today, we will update the information in our earlier articles, and add the few new things that have developed since those articles.
To read more of the article, visit the Special Needs Alliance website here.
Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust held our first salon event this month to introduce our pooled special needs trust! The aim was to build up support so we can accomplish our three primary goals for people with disabilities: Protecting Benefits, Promoting Independence and Providing Peace of Mind.
Hosted by Board Member Stanley Kandel and his wife Charlotte, the event was very successful in reaching out to community leaders and raising needed funds, helping us move closer to our public launch. Pictures from the event can be seen below.
Until our next salon event, here are three ways you can help out:
1. Referrals - We are looking for more families who would be interested in learning about and signing up for the trust and appreciate any family or professional connections you are able to make. Please send names and contact information to email@example.com.
2. Volunteers/Donated Goods - We have many ways that volunteers can help us with the launch of the trust and appreciate any time and expertise you are able to give. We are currently seeking used laptops in good condition and other office equipment.
3. Financial Support - We need your help to get us to our launch date! Please make your check out to "Bet Tzedek" with "JLA Trust" in the memo line and mail to: 6230 Wilshire Blvd #1178, Los Angeles, CA 90048. Any and all amounts are greatly appreciated.