Every year we release the key dollar amounts that are frequently used in elder law, estate administration and special needs trust planning, including Medicaid figures, Medicare premiums, Social Security Disability, and Supplemental Security Income. Be sure to check back often, as we will add any information that has not yet been released and update the page.. read more →

With the aging population becoming increasingly tech savvy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has moved a lot of services online. From applying for Social Security benefits to replacing a card, the SSA has online tools to help. To access most of the online services, you need to create a my Social Security account. This account allows you to.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced the 2019 cost-of-living increases for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSA announced a 2.8% benefit increase in 2019, and an increase in the SSA taxable maximum amount to $132,900. The federal benefit amount for an individual eligible for SSI in 2019 will increase to $771 per month. The information.. read more →

For additional information concerning NJ elder law and special needs planning visit: NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Services For additional information concerning Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability appeals, visit: Social Security Disability Appeals       read more →

After a trial court, expressing its disagreement with the legislative policy underlying special needs trusts, placed only a portion of the net settlement proceeds of a lawsuit brought on behalf of a severely disabled person into a special needs trust and ordered the remaining funds be paid directly to the disabled person, resulting in the.. read more →

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows people with disabilities who became disabled before they turned 26 to set aside up to $15,000 per year in tax-free savings accounts without affecting his or her eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This money can come from the disabled individual.. read more →

Recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published Transmittal No. 74, revising Part 05 of SSA’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS) covering Resource Exclusions in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program pertaining to Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts.  In the introduction to the new ABLE POMS, SSA said: Background This transmittal includes the current published guidance.. read more →

Our law firm has created a number of Legal Guides for our clients and website guests to provide a better understanding of important and oftentimes complex legal subjects. The Legal Guides are offered free of charge. One of the Legal Guides available to the public discusses Special Needs Trusts and Special Needs Planning. Parents of children.. read more →

Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will provide an overview of the use of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) by disabled persons so as to prevent an applicant’s financial assets and income from impacting eligibility for needs-based public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Section 8 Housing and.. read more →

I came across the 2018 version of a Social Security Administration (SSA) publication below. Not only has the agency updated the publication to include Special Needs Trusts, but SSA added information about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts as well.  And the agency included hyperlinks to other helpful information. This may assist applicants with.. read more →

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its Spousal Impoverishment Standards for 2018. The official spousal impoverishment allowances for 2018 are as follows: Community Spouse Resource Allowance The “community spouse resource allowance” is a protection provided under Medicaid law for the healthy spouse of an applicant for benefits (called the “community spouse”) to.. read more →

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 Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will moderate and present at the Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium given by the New Jersey Institute.. 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 →

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 26th birthday… read more →