Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Social Security Recipients to Get Small Raise
Google Unveils "Action Blocks" Aimed at Making Smartphone Use Easier for People with Disabilities
Caution: What Individuals with Disabilities Should Know Before Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
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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.

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


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Issue: #127

October 2019

I'm looking forward to Halloween this week.
Sadly, this will be my first Halloween without my son in the house. I'm debating on whether to hide in the house with the lights off and eat the candy that I bought or open the door and give the candy out. I didn't think I would feel this emotional about not having my own Trick or Treater-but I guess this is the new life of an empty nester.
If you collect Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), be sure to check out the article below, as you'll soon be getting a small raise in the new year. Of course, if you have any questions about public benefits, please contact us.

Have a great month,


Social Security Recipients to Get Small Raise
The Social Security Administration has just announced that those who receive Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be getting a 1.6% raise in 2020.
The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin in January 2020 for the more than 63 million people who receive Social Security Retirement and Disability benefits. The maximum Social Security benefit will increase to $3011 a month.
Increased payments to the more than 8 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will begin on December 31, 2019. The amount of SSI will increase to $783 a month for a person and $1,175 a month for a couple.
The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other important changes in 2020 include:
  • Significant Gainful Activity (SGA) increasing to $1,260 a month; and
  • a Trial Work Period (TWP) increasing to $910 a month.
The complete 2020 Social Security Fact Sheet is available here.

Google Unveils "Action Blocks" Aimed at Making Smartphone Use Easier for People with Disabilities
Google announced this week that it will soon begin rolling out a new and innovative function on their smartphone devices to help make life easier for those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

The feature is called "Action Blocks," and it will allow users to complete a series of tasks with the push of a single icon from the menu screen. The icon is then powered by Google Assistant to carry out the custom demand, which could cover virtually anything that can be done on a smartphone.
For example, a person with a disability could have an icon programmed to call an Uber that would not only open the app, but also fill in the person's location, remember his or her desired rideshare preferences and ultimately order the ride with a single tap of a button. Action blocks can also be used to contact a specific person without having to scroll through a contact list, or even unlock doors and switch on the lights at home without having to unlock the phone, open a separate app or input extra information.
Action Blocks are still in the testing phase, but if you are interested you can now sign up to use the feature before it's official launch to the public. To request more information about becoming an approved tester, simply click here to submit your information to Google for consideration.

Caution: What Individuals with Disabilities Should Know Before Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits can take a long time to settle, and it's no surprise that the end of the process is often met with relief by injured parties who are anxious to collect their award for the pain and suffering they have experienced.
Yet for a person who has special needs or disabilities, receiving a personal injury settlement must be done with extreme caution. The following is an overview of information that we discuss with our clients before they successfully settle any personal injury suit.
The Amount You Settle For Is Not What You Will End Up With
This may seem like an obvious point but it's one that injured parties lose sight of as their case drags on for months or years. The injured person may jump at the chance to accept an offer from the defendant, thinking that the amount is sufficient to meet their current and future needs. However, it's important to remember that the amount of the settlement isn't the final amount that you will actually receive. Attorney's fees and other expenses are usually deducted from the settlement funds, so you'll want to make sure that what's left over is going to cover your financial interests now and in the future.
The Pros and Cons of a Structured Settlement
Structured settlements are common in personal injury lawsuits. A structured settlement allows for a long-term stream of payments rather than one lump sum right away.    A series of payments spread out over a longer time period may be best in some situations. However, if your financial needs are immediate, a structured settlement may not be the best option. For example, home renovations needed to accommodate a wheelchair or the need for medical equipment would require immediate funding.  In this case, a lump sum payment would be more appropriate.  Ask your personal injury attorney about your options for a structured settlement, a lump sum payment, or a combination of the two.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Should Consult with a Special Needs Planning Attorney
An attorney who specializes in personal injury is usually going to be focused on getting the maximum amount possible for their client. How that money is managed, on the other hand, may fall outside of their area of expertise.  If your personal injury attorney isn't experienced with handling lawsuits involving someone with a disability, consult with a Special Needs Planning attorney who can assist with legal planning, including setting up a First Party Special Needs Trust for the settlement funds so that you are not in danger of going over asset limits for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Setting up a First Party Special Needs Trust to manage the settlement payments allows the individual to maintain their eligibility for these benefits. 
Consider an ABLE Account
Another option for managing the funds from a personal injury settlement within a certain dollar amount is an ABLE account. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities or their families to set up a tax-free savings account without leaving them ineligible for government benefits like Medicaid or SSI. This type of account was created under a federal law referred to as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. While ABLE accounts are less complicated than a Special Needs Trust, they aren't as flexible and they do have stricter eligibility requirements.
Bottom Line: Make Every Decision in Consultation with a Special Needs Planning Attorney
What may seem like financial relief when receiving a personal injury settlement can actually cause future problems and headaches that people with disabilities and their families must work to avoid. If you anticipate receiving a settlement and want to ensure that you are not making any of these common mistakes, and that you are prepared to receive the funds in the smartest and safest way possible, we encourage you to contact us to schedule an appointment. 

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.