The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (the ABLE Act) enables individuals with disabilities to save money in a tax-exempt account (ABLE account) which can use for meeting disability-related needs with no impact on eligibility for public benefits based upon financial need. The law states that ABLE accounts should “supplement, but not supplant”.. read more →

Many attorneys create trusts, and some even create special needs trusts, often using pre-written templates.  So why, you may ask, do you really need an attorney whose practice focuses on special needs planning? It is important that special needs trusts not be unnecessarily inflexible and generic, which is what can happen with a “one size.. read more →

The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is a division of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services. The DDD provides public funding for certain services designed to assist eligible New Jersey adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, age 21 and older, to live as independently as possible. The DDD has developed a new resource for families.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper,.. read more →

(On December 1, 2016, I moderated the first Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium, an all-day event held at the New Jersey Law Center. In addition to moderating the panel of speakers, I also presented on the topic of the “Uses of Special Needs Trusts in Divorce.” Due to the length of my paper, I divided.. read more →

East Rutherford’s Access for All Committee Hosts the Second Annual Caring for Caregivers Conference on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the East Rutherford Community Center. At the upcoming Caring for Caregivers Conference, caregivers will be provided with critical information and resources that support the needs of their special needs or.. read more →

“Graduates Timeline” Helps Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Transition from School to Adulthood New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, an agency within the Department of Human Resources, provides public funding for services and supports that assist New Jersey adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are aged 21 and older to live as independently as possible. The.. read more →

M.L. is the co-guardian and mother of C.L., a disabled 25-year old man with autism and epilepsy. C.L. lives with his parents in their home. He receives support and funding from the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (“DDD”) under their Self-Directed Services (“SDS”) program. Under the SDS program, he receives.. read more →

  The Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli provides Special Needs Trusts and Disability Planning Attorney Services throughout the State of New Jersey. See: Elder Law topics covered in this video include Guardianships, Conservatorships, Power of Attorney, Representative Payeeships (SSA and SSI), Joint Tenancies (including joint bank accounts), Advance Medical Directives (living wills), Do.. read more →

The New Jersey Law Revision Commission (“NJLRC”) is an independent legislative commission of the State that engages in an ongoing review of statutes and case law, in order to remedy defects and clarify confusing language in those statutes. The NJLRC is proposing a revision to the New Jersey statutes in order to codify the Supreme.. read more →

New Jersey appellate court ruled that the state can reduce a Medicaid recipient’s allocated hours of private duty nursing [PDN] because the care he received from his school district and his mother limited the state’s duty to provide services. M.F v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, (N.J.Sup.Ct.App.Div., No. A-1790-11T2, Aug. 21, 2013). M.F… read more →

A New Jersey appeals court held that the State did not have a duty to inform a woman with special needs who was residing in an out-of-state residential facility that she was eligible for priority placement for services due to a change in regulations. The court also found that the disabled woman was not entitled.. read more →

(The 15th Annual Elder and Disability Law Symposium was held on October 3, 2012 at the New Jersey Law Center, in New Brunswick, NJ. This year, as in the past few years, I gave the case law update at the opening plenary session by summarizing the top ten (10) or so elder and disability law.. read more →

Plaintiff, Disability Rights New Jersey (“DRNJ”) filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Newark, NJ against defendant Jennifer Velez in her capacity as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services (“DHS”). DHS is a state agency that provides medical care and assistance programs for economically disadvantaged or disabled residents of New Jersey… read more →

A New Jersey appeals court ruled that the state has no obligation to pay for transportation that would allow a 25-year-old man with autism to attend an adult day program because he is on the waiting list for a Medicaid waiver and a comparable program is available closer to his home. J.J. and L.J. on.. read more →

    Here are my selections for the top ten (10) New Jersey cases involving Special Needs Trusts / Disability Planning decided in 2009 and 2010. For those cases I previously blogged about,  a link to the blog post as well as the case is included below. (1)     Special Needs Trust Can Be Established Only.. read more →

Yesterday, a discussion took place on a New Jersey elder and disability law listserv between several attorneys who regularly handle cases involving Division Of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) clients concerning a recent and significant change to the availability of DDD day program services. I have recreated the listserv discussion below by combining statements made in emails.. read more →

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) has proposed a bill that would eliminate the use of the word “retarded” in all federal programs. The new bill would replace the phrase “mental retardation,” which is used in many important pieces of federal legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, with the term.. read more →

2009 was an exciting year of litigation in the elder and disability law arena, producing a bumper crop of significant decisions from the administrative forum, as well as state and federal courts. In stark contrast with years past, New Jersey lawyers are now in the forefront of the effort to expand legal protections to greater.. read more →

Gov. Jon Corzine recently signed into law new legislation that requires fiduciaries of estates for developmentally disabled individuals to post bonds in Superior Court as a safeguard against theft and other improper conduct. The bill, S-550 , sponsored by Sen. Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, goes into effect in 60 days. S-550 requires that the amount of.. read more →

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment among people with disabilities reached its highest rate in June since the government began tracking such data. The rate of unemployment grew to 14.3% in June for people with disabilities. That’s the highest unemployment rate since the government began keeping disability specific employment records. The unemployment rate.. read more →

According to the February 19th Edition of the Kansas City Star newspaper’s online edition,, people with disabilities are one of the hidden victims of the economic downturn A new study shows that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims have generally increased during the seven recession periods over the past four decades. During 2008, the.. read more →

Sunday, February 8th, has been designated as Autism Sunday, an international day of prayer for those with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Sunday was first held in 2002 during Autism Awareness Year in the United Kingdom. This event is a new way to raise autism awareness around the world: World Church Leaders have sent messages of.. read more →

About one in five U.S. residents – 19% – reported some level of disability, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released recently.  Among those disabled Amercians, 35 million, or 12% of the population, were classified as having a severe disability. Some of the important findings in the U.S. Census Bureau report follow: A wide.. read more →

In the Sunday newspapers this week, I read two very different articles concerning people with developmental disabilities. The first, an article by Susan K. Livio in the Newark Star Ledger, addressed a pervasive problem with a grim prognosis for those with developmental disabilities. In jerseys-disabled-wait-years-for-homes, Ms. Livio recounts a common reality of those hoping to.. read more →