Paralegal Assistant Training (PLAT) Program

Organizations such as The Autism Higher Education Foundation have been created to provide support to those who are disabled. Their Paralegal Assistant Training (PLAT) Program is a remarkable tool for aspiring teenagers and young adults on the Autism Spectrum. It is a shining example of how to support work goals for students, and how to partner with local government and businesses to provide opportunities for paid work. To learn all about the PLAT Program, click on the link below.

PLAT Program

Should a Parent Serve as Trustee of a 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 very unlikely that anyone else can match the loyalty and dedication that comes from the strong filial bond between a parent and child. The parent is almost always the individual most familiar with the child’s specific, unique needs that the trust must seek to fulfill in its administration. Another advantage is that the parent will usually work without compensation […]

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The Most Significant Legal Developments in 2016 for Special Needs and Elder Law

Happy New Year to All! As I looked back over the past year, I realized that there was a tremendous amount of change to talk about with all of you.

From housing, to special education, to the proposal of sweeping Medicaid (MassHealth) reform, we have gathered for you what we see as the most significant legal developments of 2016, and some thoughts about 2017 as well! It has been an interesting year in our courts and in our legislatures, particularly as our Federal and State agencies are looking at budgets that are widely believed to be unsustainable. This is certainly true of special education in our country.  However, the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments about what IDEA means for students with disabilities, hopefully in an effort to clarify the Federal educational standard for all students with disabilities. It has been many years since the Supreme Court has reviewed IDEA, so I am very excited about this.

There has been some very positive results of our advocacy as a whole, including newly available ABLE Accounts in numerous states (not ours), the SNT Fairness Act, the Disabled Military Child Protection Act and the Decambre case. There is a definite movement away from institutional bias and self-determination for adults and children with special needs in our country!However, not all the news is positive. MassHealth, in an effort to curb costs of an escalating budget, has proposed numerous new regulations that will greatly inhibit our seniors and people with disabilities to remain in the community, as well as support themselves in institutional settings. Many of these are focused around the use of trusts.

If you wish to discuss these, or any other important family matters with us, please call us on 508.861.3453 to schedule a consultation. Click below to read the full report.

What are ABLE accounts (“Achieving a Better Life Experience” accounts)?

Some public benefit programs (ie SSI, Medicaid etc) have asset limits. So if a disabled person is in need of benefits but is over the asset limit he/she is deemed not eligible.  The (d)(4)(A) trusts were meant to address this situation but with them came a large number of complications and expense. On June 1st 2016 the first ABLE account was launched in Ohio. To learn all about ABLE Accounts, click on the link below.