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ABLE accounts, new tax-free saving accounts for people with disabilities, hold great promise for special needs planning. But among the many questions surrounding ABLE plans is who can open accounts?  Only the person with a disability? Parents?  Other relatives? Friends? Created by Congress via the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014 and modeled after popular 529 college savings accounts, ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities to save for disability-related expenses while
ABLE Accounts, Medicaid, special needs planning, SSA, SSI
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that a person with disabilities is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the decision is not necessarily permanent. Depending on the circumstance, the SSA will either regularly or semi-regularly re-examine the person’s eligibility. This reexamination is known as a “redetermination.” According to a new audit, however, the SSA is not conducting redeterminations at the frequency required by federal regulations, resulting in the agency potentially overpaying hundreds of
special needs planning, SSA, SSI
According to court documents, legendary singer Aretha Franklin did not have a will when she died, despite reportedly having a son with special needs. The lack of a will opens up the intensely private singer’s estate to public scrutiny and unnecessary costs, and means that there are no specific provisions to protect her son. Franklin, who died in Michigan at age 76, left behind four sons, but no guidance on how to distribute her estimated
Elder Law, Estate Planning, special needs planning
Trustees of special needs trusts generally have wide discretion in determining whether to distribute funds to trust beneficiaries. But if the person with disabilities receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), careful precautions should be taken before any trust funds are used to pay for housing costs.  For the year 2018, federal guidelines set the maximum monthly SSI benefit at $750 for individuals, $1,125 for eligible individuals with an eligible spouse, and $376 for an “essential person,”
special needs planning, SSA, Uncategorized
Travel is sometimes necessary when a family has a child with special needs. Family members may need to visit the person with special needs, or a medical emergency may require travel to care for the loved one, or the family may simply want to take the child with special needs on vacation.  For years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has placed strict limitations on when special needs trusts can distribute payments to family members for
special needs planning, SSA

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