Issues for Unmarried Partners

AmandaBy Attorney Amanda M. Buzo


Sally lives with her adopted adult daughter, Kayla, and Sally's partner, Pat, who is not the natural, adoptive or step-parent of Kayla. Sally has always been a stay-at-home mom while Pat is the wage earner. Kayla was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old.


While visiting the Social Security Administration to determine if Sally is eligible for Social Security Retirement, Sally learns that Kayla could have been eligible for Childhood Disability Benefits, which is calculated based on Sally's work history. The problem is that Sally and Pat decided that Sally would care for Kayla, which means Sally doesn't have enough work credits to provide a benefit to Kayla. And because Pat is not Kayla's parent, Pat's earnings history is not applicable to Kayla. The only cash benefit Kayla is eligible to receive is Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"), which at its maximum provides $698 per month in Ohio, instead of the potentially higher benefit from a parent's fully insured work history.

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From Our Blog:
How to Keep From Navel-Gazing: The Value of Donating Your Time

We all get flyers and letters in the mail throughout the year asking us to donate money to charities.  The mailings seem to get most intense towards the end of the year, with organizations incentivizing donors to give using the end-of-the-year deadline for charitable tax deductions on personal income tax returns.  My husband and I do make monetary donations throughout the year to a few charities, but I find that giving my time brings me a greater "return" than any kind of tax savings we realize from those monetary donations.  I get so much more back personally by participating in a fundraising event or helping out during an organization-sponsored activity. I meet people who benefit from the charity's work, and I get an opportunity to connect with others who value the same kinds of ideals/principles that I do. Either way, I am inspired to do more good in this world, and motivated to make the most of the talent and resources available to me.


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August 2012 Issue 


Attorney Elena Lidrbauch is a Certified Dementia Practitioner.


Attorneys Janet Lowder (Family & Elder Law) and David Myers (Trusts & Estates) are listed among Cleveland's Top Rated Lawyers by LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell for having reached the highest level of ethical standards and professional excellence.


Upcoming Events


Must they Go Back In?? The Challenges of Aging as an LGBT Person 

September 21, 2012

8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Holiday Inn - Independence 

Fee: $15

Learn about the unique challenges often faced by aging LGBT persons and same-sex couples and available protections, including planning for a child with special needs raised in an LGBT home.  3 CE credits approved for Counselors, Social Workers and Therapists.  Registration required. 

Click Here for Details


Are You Prepared for Life's Little Adventures? Navigate Through the Simple Steps of Assisted Living

September 27, 2012

7:00 p.m.

St. Mary of the Woods - Avon

Learn when and how to discuss assisted living with your parent, understand various planning and financing options, and find out about how to simplify the move.

Click Here for Details


Trustee School

October 13, 2012

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Penton Media Building First Floor Conference Center

Learn about the nuts and bolts of trust administration in this complimentary program, including:

  • Trustee responsibilities
  • Government benefits
  • Taxation and reporting requirements
  • Using care managers

Participants will also receive our 2012 Trustee Handbook.  Registration required.  Clients may register at any time.  Non-clients may register beginning 9/10.

Click Here for Details


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Phone: 216-861-0360 . Fax: 216-861-3113

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