Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Won't Leaving an Inheritance Directly to My Child with Special Needs Help More Than SSI or Other Benefits Over the Long-Term?
What Health Care Benefits Will I Receive After I'm Approved for Disability Benefits?
Rideshare Services Are Opening New Avenues of Opportunity for People with Disabilities
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Sheri R. Abrams 
Attorney at Law

10467 White Granite Drive
Suite 306
Oakton, VA 22124

(571) 328-5795
Please see our website at:

for more information.
Upcoming Event

Able Accounts Vs. Special Needs Trusts

Thursday, October 3, 2019
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

Sheri will be joining Tia Marsili, Director of Trusts from The Arc of Northern Virginia, in an informative presentation for families who have members with special needs and community members.  This session will provide an overview of ABLE Accounts in Virginia and when this type of account may be appropriate, as well as an overview of three different types of Special Needs Trusts. Included will be the similarities and differences among these three trusts and when each type should be used. 


Disability Resource Center 
3rd Floor
10467 White Granite Drive
Oakton, VA 22124

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Source: Reprinted from the August 2019 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, 


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Issue: #125

August 2019

I recently dropped my son off for his first semester of college. It was an emotional time, but I'm excited for this new chapter in his life and mine.
Luckily my sister and her family are here to visit me as a distraction. They are enjoying all that DC has to offer, especially the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. If you've never visited this museum, click here for information .
Finally, I'm excited to be giving a presentation on October 3rd at the ServiceSource Disability Resource Center in Oakton (which is also where my office is located). The topic of the presentation will be ABLE Accounts vs. Special Needs Trusts, which are two resources that every parent who has a loved one with special needs should know how to utilize. More importantly, people need to know WHEN these tools can be used, as ABLE accounts are offered to only a small segment of the disabled population, while Special Needs Trusts can be utilized by almost everyone.
If you would like to attend, please CLICK HERE to register.  It's free and open to the public but spaces are limited, so be sure to register.
Have a great month,

Won't Leaving an Inheritance Directly to My Child with Special Needs Help More Than SSI or Other Benefits Over the Long-Term?
When I meet with parents to start the process of creating a special needs plan for their child with disabilities, I almost always advise against leaving any type of inheritance outright to the child when mom or dad passes away.

This can come as a shock to parents, who may strongly believe that over the long term leaving their child an inheritance would be more helpful than having the ability to receive any modest benefit offered by the government.

However, it is important for parents of children and adults with special needs to remember that government benefit eligibility and health insurance often go hand-in-hand. Individuals with disabilities often depend on their Medicaid benefits to pay for therapies, medications, doctor appointments and even long-term care costs.  Benefits like Medicaid are needs-based, meaning that having "too many assets" will result in an immediate termination of coverage.

Let's say, for example, a parent plans to leave $100,000 outright to their adult child with special needs. Doing so would cause the child to lose his or her eligibility for Medicaid when that parent dies.   It wouldn't be hard to imagine just how quickly a $100,000 inheritance would be spent on medical and long-term care costs once the child is forced to pay out of pocket for such expenses.

Fortunately, there is a solution that provides the best of both worlds for parents who want to leave their child an inheritance without jeopardizing access to benefits like Medicaid. That solution is most often the creation of a Third Party Special Needs Trust, which will "hold" the assets for the child without actually going into the child's name, and be managed by a trustee of the parents' choosing.

The funds set aside in the Special Needs Trust can then be used to pay for expenses for the child's future, but the child will still be able to stay on Medicaid and collect SSI benefits because technically his or her financial situation remains unchanged. In the majority of cases, this is the safest and best tool that will ensure the individual can access as many financial and medical resources as possible.

However, Special Needs Trusts are complex legal tools that should be created by an attorney who focuses in this area of the law.  If you live in Northern Virginia, we would be happy to meet with your family to answer questions and explore how a Special Needs Trust can help your child when you are gone someday. If you'd like to schedule an appointment, simply call our office.

What Health Care Benefits Will I Receive After I'm Approved for Disability Benefits?
Individuals who are under the age of 65 and are approved for Social Security Disability Benefits are also eligible to receive Medicare. However, the individual will be subject to a 24-month waiting period before Medicare benefits begin. This delay can present a major challenge for people who are disabled and need of health care immediately.
What Can I Do in the Meantime?
If you are disabled and waiting for Medicare to take effect following an award of Social Security Disability Benefits, you may have other options to access health care benefits while you wait.
For example, people with disabilities may be able to find coverage under the Affordable Care Act through the ACA Marketplace, which offers insurance plans for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Medicaid benefits may also be available if the individual meets certain income and asset guidelines set forth by the government.  Medicaid eligibility may even continue after the person is finally able to enroll in Medicare after the two-year waiting period.
Exceptions to the Waiting Period for Medicare
There are certain exceptions that may help to reduce the waiting period for Medicare benefits.  For example, individuals with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) are entitled to receive Medicare benefits the very first month in which they are entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits. As another example, patients who receive kidney transplants are entitled to start receiving benefits the same month that their transplant takes place.

Rideshare Services Are Opening New Avenues of Opportunity for People with Disabilities
Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are quickly becoming a part of daily living in communities all over America. In areas where public transportation is limited or inaccessible, ridesharing is filling in the gaps. These services also have the potential to make life easier for people with disabilities who are unable to drive.
As one of the two most popular ridesharing services, Uber has acknowledged the importance of providing travel options for those with disabilities. Uber's App includes Accessibility features that are meant to accommodate those who are blind, deaf, travel with wheelchairs, or travel with service animals.  For transportation to and from medical appointments, Uber also offers Uber Health, a non-emergency service that meets HIPAA regulations.
Lyft, the other most popular ridesharing service, is making efforts to address the needs of the disabled population as well. The Lyft app has a feature called "Access Mode," which when turned on, allows passengers to request a vehicle that can accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility needs. Many of these services must be requested through the app at least 24 hours in advance, as accessible vehicles in the market are still limited and cannot always be guaranteed.
Paying for Rideshare Services

Lyft permits riders with disabilities to pay for their fares using an ABLE Account, which is a special savings account for individuals with special needs that does not jeopardize access to public benefits.  Purchasing a membership for a rideshare service is also a qualified expense that can be paid for out of a disabled individual's Special Needs Trust.
Thankfully, with technology removing many of the boundaries that individuals with disabilities previously faced, the demand for services that improve lives and overcome obstacles will continue to grow.

Free Download of Sheri Abrams' Special Needs Planning Guide!

Special Needs Planning is critical to ensure that parents can access key benefits and resources that will be necessary to ensure a smooth transition for their child into adulthood. 

You can download a free copy:  here

Free Download of Sheri Abrams' Book "Don't Gamble With Your Social Security Disability Benefits"

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You can download a free copy: 

For more information please click  here  to read our Press Release.     

Our Office Location

The law firm of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law is located at: 

service source building


10467 White Granite Drive
Suite 306
Oakton, VA 22124
(571) 328-5795


This is in the "ServiceSource" building and there is plenty of free and accessible parking.

Our office is also accessible by public transportation.


If you know of someone who could use our legal services, please forward to him/her this e-mail newsletter or give him/her our telephone number: (571) 328-5795.


We provide legal services in the areas of Social Security Disability Law, Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts, Wills and Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives (Living Wills), Guardianship, Conservatorship, Disability Planning and Student Loan Discharge. 
If you, or someone you know, is involved with an educational event or support group that would benefit from a presentation on any of the areas of law for which we provide legal services, please call us at (571) 328-5795.