Planning for Loved Ones with Special Needs

Those with special needs are often eligible for or already receiving public benefits such as income benefits and Medicaid.  However, eligibility for these benefits is often “means tested”.  In other words, if an individual has money he or she is not eligible for these benefits.  This can be a problem for parents or grandparents of special needs children, or for individuals with health issues.  Fortunately, appropriate planning can protect these funds while preserving eligibility for benefits. 1) Special Needs Trusts A Special Needs Trust or “SNT” is used specifically to [...]

By |2017-10-26T13:00:52-04:00November 24th, 2017|Blog, Special Needs Trust|

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act – Persons With Disabilities Can Now Establish and Fund Their Own Trusts

On December 7, 2016, the U.S. Senate approved the 21st Century Cures Act (H.B. 34) that is expected to be signed into law by President Obama shortly. Significant to disabled individuals, this legislation includes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, which finally rights what has long been considered an error in prior law regarding establishment of First-Party Special Needs Trusts for disabled individuals with mental capacity. For the first time, persons with disabilities can now establish and fund their own special needs trust without the need to do so by a parent, guardian, or the court.  

By |2016-12-11T14:43:56-05:00December 11th, 2016|Blog, Special Needs Trust|

NJ ABLE Act Signed Into Law

On January  11, 2016, Governor Christie signed the New Jersey ABLE Act into law.  The law is not scheduled to take effect until October 2016. Under the Achieving A Better Life Experience (ABLE) program, persons who become disabled before age 26 can open an ABLE account, and become the beneficiary of that account.  The beneficiary and their family or friends can contribute up to the amount of the annual gift tax exclusion to an ABLE account (currently $14,000 per year).  The ABLE account holds that money, and is managed and [...]

By |2016-01-29T14:44:52-05:00January 17th, 2016|Blog, Caregiver, Family, Law Update, Medicaid, Social Security, Special Needs Trust|

Announcing Rothkoff Law Group’s 2016 Focus on the Professional Seminar Series

We want to thank all of our clients, their families, and professional friends and colleagues who have made our elder care firm seminars so successful by attending our Professional and Caregiver Seminar Series over previous years.  We are proud to announce our 2016 seminar series for long term care professionals.  We will continue to offer continuing education credits to social workers, case managers and administrators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Seminars  are scheduled in the morning, afternoon, and early evening (for our popular dinner seminars) to best accommodate your schedule. Please click [...]

Nike’s Latest Shoe Is for People With Disabilities

Nike's latest footwear, the Zoom Soldier 8, is designed for people with disabilities. The Zoom Soldier 8 story began back in 2012, when Matthew Walzer, a 16-year-old who lives with cerebral palsy, wrote a letter to Nike asking the company to consider developing a shoe designed for people who have trouble tying shoelaces. “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day,” he wrote, according to Nike. “As a teenager who is striving to become [...]

By |2015-07-20T11:28:11-04:00July 20th, 2015|Blog, Special Needs Trust|

The ABLE Act – New Planning Opportunity Available for a Child With a Special Need

Last week, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which creates tax-favored accounts for children and adults whose disability occurred before age 26. The ABLE Act allows these tax-favored accounts to receive up to the annual gift tax exemption (currently $14,000 per year). Beneficiaries are restricted to one account, but anyone could contribute to their account. Modeled after 529 college savings accounts, ABLE account programs will need to be implemented by the states Assets in an ABLE account and distributions from the account for qualified disability expenses [...]

By |2015-05-04T11:38:42-04:00December 21st, 2014|Blog, Elder Care, Family, Medicaid, Social Security, Special Needs Trust|

Special Needs Planning from a Parent’s Perspective

On July 25, 2012, I could hear the neuropsychologist’s words, but I could not process what she meant. She said, “Mrs. Male, Leo has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.” “What does that mean?,” I replied.  She responded, “Your son is on the Autism spectrum. He has an Autism diagnosis.” I could not remember how I got myself from the neurologist’s office, and into my car. I can remember staring at my lap with tears trickling down my face, but also feeling relieved that a professional validated my [...]

By |2015-05-05T10:43:35-04:00October 4th, 2013|Blog, Special Needs Trust|

Pennsylvania Statute Goes Too Far in Limiting Pooled Trusts (E.D. Pa.)

Pennsylvania Statute Goes Too Far in Limiting Pooled Trusts (E.D. Pa.) Posted by: Jerold E. Rothkoff Posted Date: Monday, September 5, 2011 10:20 In a class action, plaintiffs challenged a Pennsylvania statute (62 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 1414) as being inconsistent with federal law. The issue was whether Section 1414 established improper eligibility criteria for beneficiaries of pooled special needs trusts. The issue briefed prior to decision was whether state Medicaid eligibility methodology must be “no more restrictive” than federal Supplemental Social Security ("SSI") methodology in the context of [...]

By |2015-05-05T11:10:04-04:00September 5th, 2011|Blog, Special Needs Trust|

GUARDIANSHIPS – The Benefits & Pitfalls

Previously, I have written about legal documents needed to assist a relative or friend who has diminished mental capacity. However, what if a person who is now incapacitated has not already executed a financial or healthcare power of attorney? Often, relatives of elderly adults find themselves without the legal authority to help their loved ones who have become incapacitated due to mental disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease or dementia. In most of these cases, the incapacitated person has not executed a power of attorney which allows someone to act [...]

By |2015-05-05T12:49:35-04:00April 21st, 2008|Blog, Caregiver, Special Needs Trust|