New Jersey’s ABLE law (the acronym is short for “Achieving a Better Life Experience”) went into effect a few months ago, in October 2016.  Under the new law, New Jersey’s Department of Human Services and the Department of the Treasury are required to establish the ABLE Program pursuant to federal law. Persons who became disabled.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) published two final regulations that will have significant impacts on the disability determination process for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and those applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on the basis of disability. The first set of regulations, Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical.. read more →

In Simonsen v Bremby(2d Cir., No. 16-204-cv, Feb. 15, 2017), the daughter/Medicaid applicant filed suit in federal court and sought a preliminary injunction barring Medicaid from imposing a penalty period as a result of trusts established for her benefit by her mother. The two third-party trusts were considered as available resources by Medicaid, and when.. 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 →

To ensure that all beneficiaries can receive their payments and make proper use of funds, Congress has granted the Social Security Administration (SSA) the authority to appoint third parties, known as representative payees, to receive and manage payments when the beneficiary is unable to do so. A representative payee is an individual or organization appointed.. read more →

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released its SSI and Spousal Impoverishment Standards for 2017. SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) SSI Federal Benefit Rate for an Individual: $735.00 SSI Federal Benefit Rate for a Couple: $1,103.00 Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Limit: $1,170.00 (Blind SGA: $1,950.00) MEDICAID  Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $24,180 Maximum Community Spouse.. 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 →

Question: Does a Section 529 educational savings plan account impact the eligibility of a minor receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?  Are there any regulations governing such plans? Answer: Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs), also referred to as Section 529 educational savings plans, allow individuals to contribute to an account established to pay a designated beneficiary’s.. read more →

“Use of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce”  to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., who will also act as Moderator of the Symposium [gview file=”https://vanarellilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Advanced-Special-Needs-Trust.pdf”] Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will moderate and present at the Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium given by the New.. 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 →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently published new guidelines mandating that the agency issue detailed notices when individuals are determined to be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of excess resources that include a countable trust. The public was notified of the new guidelines via internal agency instructions published in an Emergency Message… read more →

Below are figures for 2016 that are frequently used in the elder law practice or are of interest to clients. Medicaid Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Figures for 2016 These figures are unchanged from 2015.  The minimum community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) is $23,844 and the maximum CSRA remains $119,220. The maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $2,980.50. The minimum monthly.. read more →

[gview file=”https://vanarellilaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/POMS-SI-01130.740-Achieving-a-Better-Life-Experience-ABLE-Accounts.pdf”] As explained in previous blog posts here, here and here, an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account is a tax-advantaged account that can be used to save funds for the disability-related expenses of the account’s designated beneficiary, who must be blind or disabled by a condition that began prior to the individual’s.. read more →

Disability benefits are available to claimants under both disability benefit programs established under the Social Security Act (the “Act”), i.e., the regular Social Security disability program under Title II of the Act, and the Supplemental Security Income program under Title XVI of the Act. Social Security Disability (“SSD”) Benefits: Social Security Disability benefits are available.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires periodic reports from all recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If the SSI recipient has a representative payee, the payee is obligated to make the report. Recipients who are legally incompetent are not responsible for reporting, but their payees are. Required reports must be completed in order for eligibility for SSI benefits.. read more →

A federal district court concluded that a decision of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to permanently discontinue a recipient’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of temporary mismanagement of a special needs trust required remand to the agency for reconsideration of whether the trust is forever an includable resource. Elias v. Colvin (M.D. Pa., No. 3:15-CV-263,.. read more →

After advocates criticized the Social Security Administration (SSA) for refusing to allow court-established Special Needs Trust to qualify as exempt resources for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) purposes, the SSA has issued an Administrative Message, AM-15032, clarifying its policy regarding these trusts. The Administrative Message explains that the rejection of court-established Special Needs Trust is appropriate.. read more →

The 17th Annual Elder Law Retreat, presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association Elder and Disability Law Section, was held on April 21 – 23, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA. At least two significant events occurred at the Retreat this year. First, I was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing my “advocacy in elder and.. read more →

A New Jersey appellate court ruled that a person who is incapacitated may still be able to express a preference as to his or her choice of a guardian or place of residence, both of which are entitled to consideration by the court. Matter of the Guardianship of Walter J. Macak, 377 N.J. Super. 167.. read more →

  The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act became law on December 19, 2014. The new law creates an option for people with disabilities and their families to save for the future, while protecting eligibility for public benefits, without creating a special needs trust or similar estate planning instrument. What is an ABLE Account? .. read more →

 Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Effective 1-1-15  SSI Federal Benefit Rate           SSI Resource Maximum For an Individual – $733.00                   2,000.00 For a Couple – $1,100.00                      3,000.00 New Jersey State Supplement: New Jersey supplements the federal benefit rate with additional money. The payment received by SSI recipients each month includes.. read more →

What is SSI? SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is a federal program that provides monthly cash payments to people who are aged (65 or older), as well as for blind or disabled people of any age, including children. To qualify, an applicant must have little or no income and few resources. 2015 Cost-of-Living Increase The.. read more →

  Elder Law College 2014  Presented by the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education Thu, Dec 18 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Location: Crowne Plaza 690 Route 46 East Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 973-227-9200 If you have an interest in representing the graying segment of our population, this is the course for you. In just one.. read more →

On April 23, 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued Emergency Message 14026 providing instructions for the regional centralization of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) trust reviews to help improve the accuracy and consistency of SSI trust resource determinations. Under the new policy, effective April 28, 2014 a member of the new Regional Trust Reviewer Team.. read more →