Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Planning Ahead for Housing: What Parents of Special Needs Adults Should Know
Can Your Social Security Disability Benefits Be Taken Away?
Questions to Ask Your Attorney When Developing a Special Needs Plan
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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 January 2020 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, 


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Issue: #130

January 2020

The first month of the new  year  is almost behind us, and I'm encouraged by the number of families that I've seen commit to putting a plan in place this year to protect their children with special needs, both now and in the future.

Whether that means resolving to begin researching and gathering information, exploring services in the community, looking at housing options, or learning more about Special Needs Trusts... there is no better time than the present to start somewhere.

If you have made the commitment to put a plan in place for the protection of your loved one with special needs, please feel free to reach out to us for help and guidance. We are here to answer all of your questions and steer you toward the best options for your family ---- without pressure or stress. Just hit "reply" or call the office if you'd like to schedule an appointment.

On the football front, I'm excited for the Super Bowl and looking forward to the day when I can check going to one off of my "Bucket List."  Another one of my bucket list items is attending the Sundance Film Festival, which I was happy to see, is making changes to improve accessibility for attendees with disabilities.  For information on these changes, click here.

Planning Ahead for Housing: What Parents of Special Needs Adults Should Know
The issue of long-term housing for an adult with special needs is often a source of fear and frustration for many parents. Frequently, we meet with parents who want the peace of mind of knowing that their child will have a suitable place to live when mom or dad is gone, but the options are often limited and waitlists are long.
Because the issue of housing can present a number of challenges, we encourage parents to start thinking about their child's options well before they are needed. We often suggest that parents place their children on waitlists as soon as they can. However, many times these parents are still on these waitlists after more than a decade. For that reason, having a plan and a solid backup plan is key.
While housing choices will ultimately depend on a number of factors, including the type of disability the child has and the financial resources available, we recommend that our clients consider the following factors when starting their search:
  • In-home care: Parents who wish to care for an adult child with special needs in their own home still need to take steps to plan for the future. For example, home health care agencies may be needed to help with the child's medical needs and tasks of everyday living, such as bathing and transferring, especially as mom or dad ages and is no longer able to provide hands-on support. Thought also needs to be given to what will happen when mom or dad passes away. Will a caretaker move into the home? Will the child need to move out and is he or she prepared for such a transition? These are questions that will need to be answered to ensure the child's comfort and future security.

  • Living independently in another home: Parents who wish for their child to live independently or semi-independently can purchase or rent a property for the child to live in.   In addition to the monthly mortgage or rent payment, the child will also need to have enough resources to cover expenses such as maintenance, taxes and other costs that come along with home ownership. Likewise, parents should think about how they want their child to spend their time in the home. If isolation is a concern, it may be better to choose a property in a larger community, perhaps even with other adults who have special needs, so that living alone doesn't always mean being alone.

  • Group homes: Group homes are another option where an individual with special needs has the option to live semi-independently with roommates and typically a live-in staffer or counselor who helps to provide a watchful eye. Because many variables exist in trying to find a group home that's a good fit for the child, planning early and getting a good idea of what options are available is of utmost importance.

  • Section 8 Housing: The federal government provides vouchers for people with low incomes to live within the community, but waiting lists for such properties are long. If you think your child will need section 8 housing in order to live independently in the future, it's important to plan sooner, rather than later.

  • Long-term care facilities: For adults who are unable to live independently and require a significant amount of care, a long-term care facility, such a nursing home or specialized program for individuals with disabilities, may be necessary. Many of the higher-end programs are private pay only and can be extremely expensive for the average person to afford. Other facilities in the area may be covered under Medicaid, but are also subject to waitlists and limited availability.
Here at our firm, we help parents weigh the pros and cons of all options, while exploring the best ways to financially prepare for any care the child will eventually need. 
Can Your Social Security Disability Benefits Be Taken Away? 
Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the right to review a person's receipt of Social Security Disability benefits at ANY time.
SSA can request your medical records to see:

1) if you are still being treating by a doctor;


2) to check if your medical condition has improved.
If you have not been receiving treatment from a doctor or if SSA believes your medical records show improvement they will find that you are no longer disabled and cut off your benefits.

Recently, the Trump Administration issued a proposal that would have 2.6 million Social Security Disability cases reviewed for eligibility.   In other words, 2.6 million people currently on Social Security Disability benefits would have their current medical records reviewed to see if they are still disabled.
While we hope that this proposal does not come to pass, we recommend that if you are currently receiving benefits, you actively pursue medical treatment so you are prepared for a possible review.

An article on this proposal can be found by clicking  here.
Questions to Ask Your Attorney When Developing a Special Needs Plan  
When a child with disabilities approaches age 18, parents often find themselves surprised and overwhelmed to learn that they will soon lose the legal right to manage their child's affairs or make key decisions on their child's behalf.
Special Needs Planning is critical in order to ensure that parents can stay in control, and access key benefits and resources that will be necessary to ensure a smooth transition into adulthood and beyond. To ensure that parents have all necessary plans in place by the time their child becomes a legal adult, it's important to plan ahead.
You should consider asking the following questions:
  1. Will my child with special needs need a Guardianship with the local courts so that someone retains the legal ability to make medical and personal decisions when he or she becomes a legal adult? What does this process in Virginia entail and how do we prepare?
  2. What are the pros and cons of alternatives to Guardianship if the child is high-functioning but still needs some help managing their personal affairs and decisions? Is it possible that the adult child can utilize legal documents, such as a Powers of Attorney, if it is found that he or she has the mental capacity to have these documents drafted?
  3. Are there public benefits that my adult child may now be entitled to? Remember, even if you have been denied benefits in the past, your child may soon become eligible for benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), now simply because he or she has turned 18.
  4. How can we properly use ABLE Accounts for a semi-independent adult, so he or she can manage money and accumulate some savings without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for public benefits.
  5. What is the best way to prepare someone to manage a child's affairs if mom or dad becomes sick, disabled or passes away? This conversation should involve the creation of legal tools, such as Special Needs Trusts, so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your child will always be cared for the way you want and that their future security is not jeopardized because of money mismanagement. 
  6. What are the easiest ways to "fund" a lifetime of care?You'll want to look at what tools are available to ensure there are enough funds available to care for your adult child for the remainder of his or her life.
Uncovering the answers to these questions can feel over-whelming but rest assured, you are not alone. 
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.