End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act, passed in 2000, allowed seniors to continue working while receiving Social Security benefits.  This Act permitted Social Security benefits planning strategies that helped couples maximize their retirement income benefits.  These strategies were tied to the concept of a primary wage earner delaying the start of their benefits while a lower earning spouse or disabled child would begin receiving the spousal benefit or disabled adult child (DAC) benefit.  The advantage of delaying the start of benefits is that a higher monthly benefit is paid the later benefits are started. ...

2015 The Case For Inclusion Summary

2015 The Case For Inclusion Summary

The following summarizes the United Cerebral Palsy's annual study of the special needs programs and resources available across the country. For more information and access to the entire study, visit www.ucp.org/the-case-for-inclusion/2015. The Case For Inclusion 2015 report is the broadest and most interesting national study of special needs services we have found. They have been publishing similar reports annually since 2006 and have implemented more thorough measures since 2014. The major areas of evaluation used to calculate the rankings include promoting independence, tracking community involvement and safety, keeping families together, promoting productivity, and reaching those in need ...

ABLE ACT:   Mid-Year Update

ABLE ACT: Mid-Year Update

Six months after Congress authorized ABLE Accounts as tax-free savings accounts for individuals with special needs, the Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations on how the accounts should be implemented and managed.  The proposed regulations outline the requirements the states must meet to offer the accounts as well as eligibility and reporting rules for individuals who wish to open an account. The proposed regulations can be found at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/22/2015-15280/guidance-under-section-529a-qualified-able-programs.  Over the next 90 days (through 9/22/2015), the IRS will be accepting public comments before issuing final regulations.  If ...

Housing Options For Family Members With Special Needs

Housing Options For Family Members With Special Needs

 For most families, living with their adult child or parent with special needs is the reality.  However, the optimal situation for many individuals with special needs would be living elsewhere.  Normally, during the transition years of school (ages 14-21), the issue of housing is addressed.  A delay in addressing housing, due to an injury or diagnosis happening after the end of the school years, makes the search for housing options even more challenging.  Adding to the difficulties of making the appropriate housing choice is the need to find quality support staff and organizations and evaluating the limited subsidized housing options that exist.   The first key point to understand is ...

Administrative Burdens When A Family Member With Special Needs Lives With Parents Or Siblings

Administrative Burdens When A Family Member With Special Needs Lives With Parents Or Siblings

In a perfect world, we would all live interdependently in safe houses in our desired neighborhoods, feel integrated with the community, and be close to our loved ones. Achieving this ideal housing situation is difficult for anyone, but for an individual with special needs, the challenge is magnified by the complications of maintaining government benefits, finding quality support personnel, accessing transportation, and locating a community with compassionate neighbors. ...

Welcoming the ABLE Act

Welcoming the ABLE Act

Congress has done little since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to improve the lives of those with disabilities. With the one exception being the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which was not directed at the special needs community, it is difficult to find other legislation that specifically benefits this group. Now we have the 2014 Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This article highlights what the Act is, what it isn’t, and who stands to benefit from its existence. First, it is important to acknowledge that the Act will have very little impact on an individual with special needs achieving a better life experience. The Act’s title was ...

Beware of the Language Minefield

Beware of the Language Minefield

 Language is powerful. It can be used to inspire and empower, but also to dehumanize and ostracize. In the special needs community, we face a language minefield that creates challenges for even our best-spoken advocates. We hope that this article generates discussions, reflections, and actions that contribute to an improved use of language in the special needs community. The children’s rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” first appeared in 1862. While the motivation for the rhyme is to encourage children not to retaliate with physical actions when they are taunted or called names, the reality is that words and phrases can do damage and their ef ...

A boy, his sister and Down syndrome

A boy, his sister and Down syndrome

Originally Featured in the Chicago Tribune Written by Randi Gillespie It had been a typical morning in our house — kids waking up way too early to raid the freezer for frozen chocolate chip waffles instead of cereal or fruit. I overhear their voices giggling and making silly jokes to one another while playing "Minecraft" on their iPads. They are adversaries one moment and each other's greatest champions the next. But all good things must come to an end, and Liam, 7, became upset with Maddy, 9. She was not following his rules and was becoming too silly for him. She persisted with her ways, ignoring his rules. She was unaware that her actions were pushing his buttons. Liam was losing hi ...

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