Disability/Special Needs Law

Much like Elder Law, Disability/Special Needs Law is a new and highly specialized practice area concerned with safeguarding the more complex rights and interests of those with disabilities and special needs.

Issues of primary concern to both the individual with a disability or special needs, as well as to the family of that individual, include estate planning, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and medical coverage and other disability benefits and entitlements. An experienced Disability Law attorney can help everyone concerned ensure the ongoing safety and security of the individual with disabilities through what has come to be known as Special Needs Planning.

Here at the Law Offices of Sharon L. Pope, our attorneys are not only highly skilled at meeting the legal needs of clients with disabilities and their loved ones but uniquely committed to providing the additional support and insight of particular importance in special needs representation.

Disability/Special Needs Law Articles

This is the first article in a two part series about how to help a loved one who is having difficulty managing his or her affairs.

The Power of a Power of Attorney
Part two in a series about how to provide legal, financial, and personal protection for those with a significant disability.

Connecticut Home Care Programs
Connecticut`s two home-care programs offer different levels of care and different requirements for eligibility.

Veterans and Surviving Spouses: Aid and Attendance Pension
This article explains how the Veteran`s Aid and Attendance Pension works, including how to calculate the likely amount for which you could qualify. However, it’s important to remember that there are many different kinds of Veteran`s benefits and this is only one.

How Special Needs Trusts Work to Protect Assets and Income While Preserving Benefits for a Person with Disabilities
How can a person with disabilities receive or retain assets if they need medical or home care assistance through the Medicaid (T-19) waivers, such as: • the ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) Waiver • the PCA Personal Care Assistant) Waiver • the Medicaid Home Care Waiver for persons 65 or better • the DDS (formerly DRM) Waiver • or Community Medicaid? There is a common misunderstanding that you must be impoverished in order to qualify for Medicaid (Title 19) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). It is also commonly thought that if you have a child with a disability, you will have to disinherit that child in order to preserve important benefits. Both assumptions are incorrect.

Veteran`s Burial Benefits
All veterans of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who are honorably discharged from the service are entitled to the veteran’s burial benefit. Certain National Guard and reserve members may also qualify. Depending upon the veteran’s circumstances and personal wishes, there are a number of burial choices available such as burial in a national cemetery, burial in a private cemetery, and cremation. Eligible spouses and dependent children of veterans are entitled to be buried at a national cemetery but not at a private cemetery. Certain burial expenses are absorbed by the family and not the federal government. As part of the planning process, we encourage veterans to review the information below, convey their wishes to their loved ones, and gather the necessary paperwork.

Disability/Special Needs Law Documents

Pooled Trusts Screening Tool
This document can be used as a screening tool for Pooled Trust eligibility. You may click on the document and print it for your personal use. Pooled Trusts are a type of special needs trust. Money in a pooled trust is not counted for Medicaid or SSI (Supplemental Security Income). These trusts are especially helpful for our seniors, age 65 or better, who seek home care benefits through the Medicaid Waiver.
This is a document that you may download. >DOWNLOAD

Client Questionnaire for Married or Single
Please download and fill out this Client Questionnaire and bring it to your first consultation. This is for both Married and Single clients.
This is a document that you may download. >DOWNLOAD

Veteran`s Aid and Attendance Pension
This article discusses how the Aid and Attendance Pension works for Veterans and Surviving Spouses.
This is a document that you may download. >DOWNLOAD

Disability/Special Needs Law News

Local Attorney Attends Special Needs Meeting in Charleston
Attorney Sharon L. Pope was among the 100 attendees of the 4th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, which took place March 19-20th in Charleston, SC. Special needs planning is one of the fastest-growing areas of estate planning. Attorneys in the field focus on helping individuals with special needs and their families plan for a more secure future. The attorneys must combine compassion with skilled estate planning and a knowledge of the public benefit programs on which many individuals with special needs must rely. The Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), of which [attorney name] is a member, was established in 2006 to provide attorneys in this growing field of law with access to a collegial community and practice tools to assist them in fulfilling their clients` needs. ASNP`s 4th Annual Meeting featured presentations by nationally recognized leaders in special needs planning and related disciplines who shared insights on the latest developments and legal strategies in the field. Session topics included “Deconstructing that Special Needs Trust”, “SSI and SSDI Annual Updates”, “Special Needs Planning with Military or Veterans Benefits”, “Special Education Advocacy and Litigation” and “The Practical Applications of Qualified Settlement Funds.” To learn more about ASNP, visit www.specialneedsplanners.com and its companion consumer site, SpecialNeedsAnswers, at www.specialneedsanswers.com

Attorney Pope named Board Member of the Month by BIACT
Sharon Pope joined the BIAC Board of Directors in 2005. A gifted attorney and founding partner of her own firm, the Law Offices of Sharon Pope , Sharon is an integral part of the BIAC team. An organizational powerhouse, Sharon always jumps right in and lends a hand. Whether planning special events, sponsoring our annual picnic or sharing her expertise in the areas of elder and disability law with BIAC staff, Sharon’s contributions to BIAC are immeasurable, while truly adhering to our mission. Thank you Sharon!

Settlement Attorneys: About Medicare Set-Asides

A Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) is a fund set aside from the proceeds paid from the settlement of a Workers` Compensation or Personal Injury liability case. A portion of the settlement is set-aside to pay for future medical expenses related to the injury that would otherwise be paid by Medicare. Previously, MSA were only required in Workers’ Compensation Cases. New rules will require MSA for most Personal Injury liability cases where the plaintiff may receive Medicare benefits in the future.

Disability/Special Needs Law Websites

Brain Injury Association of Connecticut
BIAC is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with brain injury, their families, and caregivers while increasing the community’s understanding of brain injury and its prevention.

Spina Bifida Association of Connecticut
The mission of Spina Bifida Association of Connecticut is to promote the prevention of Spina Bifida and to enhance the lives of all affected.

Academy of Special Needs Planners
The goal of the Academy of Special Needs Planners is to provide attorneys in this field with all the practice aids they need to successfully fulfill their clients` needs.

Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association
The Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association is a non-profit association dedicated to creating and maintaining a more just society by preserving individual rights within the civil justice system to: Ensure that the civil justice system works for all people; Hold wrongdoers accountable regardless of their corporate, government, association or individual status; Protect consumer rights and safeguard the environment; Advance the cause of those whose person or property is injured or damaged; Preserve and protect access to the courts and jury system of this state and this nation; Uphold the honor and integrity of the profession of law.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others who work with older clients and their families.

State of Connecticut Probate Court
The state probate courts are also known as “family courts” because, in addition to overseeing decedents` estates and trusts, they handle a wide range of sensitive issues affecting children, the elderly, the mentally retarded, and the mentally ill.

Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
P&A is an independent State agency created to safeguard and advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities in Connecticut.

State of Connecticut Department of Veteran Afffairs
It is the responsibility of the Office of Advocacy and Assistance to provide assistance to veterans, their eligible spouses and eligible dependents in obtaining veterans benefits under federal, state and local laws.