Transition Planning – Public Benefits & Public Agencies

Next, we would determine the appropriate transition agency that would deliver adult services to the student. In Massachusetts, the two most likely agencies are the Department of Developmental Services, which serves people with Intellectual Disabilities, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, which serves just about everybody else. These agencies have particular programs that may be appropriate for an individual and these programs have income, asset and other eligibility rules that are important. In general, they serve individuals with disabilities who are of low income and resources.

The other two benefits that will likely become extremely important for adults with disabilities will be Social Security Insurance (“SSI”) payments and your state Medicaid program. These two programs will typically establish a baseline of eligibility for other various educational, housing, and support programs in your state. Therefore, eligibility for these programs is a gateway to many other benefits.

Often when I meet with a family, they may initially feel that they do not need to worry about qualifying for public benefits because they believe they have planned adequately, saved money, for their disabled child. The disabled child has wonderful brothers and sisters who will take care of them. Unfortunately, public benefits are still very important for many people with disabilities for various reasons:

  1. Predicting the cost of your disabled child’s future needs is so difficult that saving enough for his or her lifetime is almost impossible.
  2. You cannot depend on your other children to support the person with the disability. Too many things that can go wrong in their lives that could prevent them from doing so, including disability, divorce, creditor issues and their own or their family’s health issues.
  3. Some programs depend on public benefits eligibility to enroll, and you may not be able to pay for them privately.
  4. You want to be declared eligible for benefits under today’s eligibility rules because every year that goes by, the rules make it harder and harder to qualify.

Medicaid is a very helpful program for many people with disabilities. It offers care and medical supports that most private insurers do not pay for, such as personal care attendants, nursing, incontinence supplies and other medications, equipment and services. In Massachusetts, we have signed on to three federal waiver programs for adults, which combined with our state agency, the Department of Developmental Services, provides a valuable bundle of services and financial support for our most vulnerable population to continue living in the community. However, this waiver program requires you to be of little means, i.e., low income and assets.

For more information or schedule a consultation, please contact us at (508) 861-3453 or email us through the following form:

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