Estate Planning. This refers to steps individuals or couples take to direct what will happen to their money and other assets after death. One aspect of future planning, this process is helpful for people in all types of financial situations. Most people want to direct how their money or assets will be distributed, minimize taxes as well as choose who will care for their minor children. Your parents may name people who will provide support for you. They may accomplish this by setting up a plan that includes a will, letter of intent, special needs trust and/or other pertinent documents.
Note: Your family should seek an attorney who understands not only estate planning issues but who also is knowledgeable about government benefits and understands the needs of people with disabilities.
Government benefits. Both financial assistance and health care benefits are very important for people with disabilities. Many parents think that they should not leave money to their child with a disability or their child will lose public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Please discuss this with your lawyer, as money left outright to a child could jeopardize benefits if assets are above the statutory threshold.
The fact that someone is receiving benefits should be incentive to begin planning. A plan can ensure that a person keeps needed benefits and is able to use the additional assistance from family to purchase items that government benefits do not cover to enrich his/her quality of life.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE) states that its purpose is to (1) encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life; and (2) provide secure funding for disability-related expenses of beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) and title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.
What else do you need to know about the ABLE Act? Michael Morris, Executive Director of National Disability Institute, gives us six steps for ABLE account planning in 2015.
Source: Planning Now: A Guide for Parents of Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities
There are two scholarships in Jewish Atlanta that may be beneficial:
- ALEF Fund, Inc. is a registered Georgia 501(c)3 Student Scholarship Nonprofit Organization that supports Jewish education in Georgia by helping taxpayers get a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for providing scholarships to students at the school or schools of your choice.
- JELF grants interest-free loans to Jewish students from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia for post-secondary study at accredited institutions. JELF’s loans are “last dollar” — they supply the final funds that a student needs to attend school. These loans can be used for study at a college or university, graduate school or professional/vocational school that leads to a degree or certificate.
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (GSNS) Program is a school choice program available for special needs students who currently attend Georgia public schools and are served under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) but whose families are considering private school. This is also referred to as SB10 funding.
You can also contact Bobby Dodd Institute or InCommunity about Family Support Services Financial Assistance. This can provide up to $3000 to individuals with disabilities to be used for behavior therapists, psychiatrists, OT’s, socialization (including camps) and respite.
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) can provide information about the Comprehensive Supports Waiver (COMP) and the New Options Waiver (NOW) Programs, which promote personal choice and control over the delivery of waiver services. You can also apply for the New Options Waiver and Comprehensive Supports Waiver on DBHDD’s website.
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency provides services to help eligible persons with disabilities prepare for, start and maintain competitive employment, thus becoming productive and independent citizens in their communities.
You can also get accurate work incentive information for people between the ages of 14 and full retirement age who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or both through Benefits Navigator.
ABLE Act of 2014