housing assistance

Those with special needs often cannot get by without housing assistance from federal programs like the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. For example, while many people with special needs are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the average rent for a modest one-bedroom rental unit is equal to 105 percent of the monthly SSI benefit…

Trust Beneficiary

If you are the main person managing the care of the beneficiary of a special needs trust, have you planned yet for a time when you may no longer be able to perform this crucial role?  It is important to plan appropriately to ensure that the beneficiary will have an advocate and someone closely managing…

Law for Students with Special Needs

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is arguably the most important federal law for children with special needs.  The law mandates that all eligible children and youth ages 3 through 21 years old be provided with a “free and appropriate public education” in the “least restrictive environment.” To be eligible for services under the IDEA,…

Five Practical Uses for an ABLE Account

We have previously written about the pros and cons of ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014) accounts. These accounts allow many people with disabilities or their families to establish tax-free savings accounts that won’t affect their ability to qualify for, or remain on, government assistance as long as the account balance does not…

When your child is born with preventable birth defects due to medical malpractice, or suffers a catastrophic injury that leads to a lifelong disability, the resulting lawsuit can often take years. The end result of this long and arduous process will hopefully be a settlement or jury award designed to compensate your child for his…

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that helps people with disabilities and very low incomes pay for food, clothing and shelter.  But even more valuable than the SSI benefit itself is that, in most states, a beneficiary who receives even $1 from the program also qualifies for Medicaid health coverage. To qualify for…

A little-publicized effect of the health care legislation the House of Representatives recently passed is its potential impact on vital health services that special education students receive. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees all children a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. The Act requires that children with special…

special needs trust

It is common for a parent to want to be named as trustee of a special needs trust benefitting her child, especially when the parent is the one creating or funding the trust. There are many reasons why this makes sense. It positions the parent to have complete control over trust distributions. It is also…

The Arc Center for Special Planning

Many families of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities are familiar with The Arc. For more than 65 years, the Arc has been advocating for laws that protect the human rights of this population and offering hands-on support through its local chapters. In many ways, The Arc is a family’s resource directory in navigating real-life,…

private school vouchers

The Trump administration is planning to allocate billions of public education dollars to expand private school voucher programs, but vouchers may not be the best option for families with special needs children. Vouchers allow parents to use public funds to pay for tuition at a private school of their choice, including religiously affiliated schools.  This…

© 2015 MATTHEW L. MERCER | Attorney at Law

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