Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Who Needs to Know about My Child's Special Needs Plan?
5 Ways You Can Qualify for Social Security Benefits
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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 February 2019 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,


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Issue: #119

 February 2019

I don't know about you, but I have a major case of spring fever. I've been counting down the days; we have less than 30 to go! I hope this month's newsletter also finds you well and looking forward to a new season ahead.

February is also my birthday month, and instead of well-wishes, I'd like to ask you to help me empower families who have children with special needs. All you have to do is forward my's why.
I have created a free comprehensive planning guide which is available on my website that teaches parents how to plan ahead for their child's future, from soup-to-nuts. I cover how to apply for guardianship when the child turns 18, how to protect the child's inheritance so that there's enough money available to cover future care needs, and how to achieve these goals without causing the child to become ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
This guide can be downloaded here .
So, for my birthday, will you please help me spread the word? Just share this email...or tell your friends about the guide. Special needs planning is my passion and I want to help as many families as possible experience safety, security and peace of mind.
Have a great month

Who Needs to Know about My Child's Special Needs Plan? 

Creating a Special Needs Plan is an important step that parents of children with all types of disabilities can take to make sure that their child is prepared for life without mom or dad, and that assets are safely and securely set aside for future care needs.
In most cases, the creation of a Special Needs Plan includes naming a legal guardian for your child if he or she is a minor, petitioning the court for a legal Guardianship if your child is over 18 and unable to make decisions for themselves, and establishing a Third Party Special Needs Trust. Let's briefly highlight what each of these means:
  • Naming a legal guardian for minor children: Parents who have minor children with special needs can use their estate plan to name a guardian whom they trust to raise their child if they became incapacitated or pass away;
  • Legal Guardianship for Adults with Special Needs: Adults with disabilities who are over 18 may need a court-ordered Guardianship so that someone else can manage their affairs. In most cases, the legal guardian named by the court is the parent.  Successor guardians should also be chosen who can take over this role if something happens to mom or dad; and
  • Third Party Special Needs Trust: This is a legal tool that is designed to hold assets for a child or adult with special needs in a safe and secure way that does not jeopardize access to public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. 

Once a plan along these lines is created, it is important for the parent to share the details of the plan with anyone else who may be called on to assist the child. Important people to notify about the existence of your plan and what to do if called upon include:

  • The people you've chosen to serve in helper roles: Your Successor Trustee, Successor Guardians and other interested parties should understand what roles you've appointed them to in your legal documents, what is expected of them, and the steps they should take to help your child if something happens to you;
  • Your Child's school:  It's a wise idea to notify your child's teacher and guidance counselors about your plans for your child and how to get in touch with your chosen guardians if an emergency happened during school hours and you can not be reached; and
  • Caretakers: If you utilize the services of a caretaker, or a babysitter if your child is still young, it's a wise idea to leave them the phone number of your chosen guardians who they can contact in an emergency.
It's important to note that you don't have to share your entire plan with these people, but it is a smart idea to let them know how to find your documents and who to contact, if something happens. You may also want to provide these people with the name and number of your Special Needs Planning Attorney, who can also help guide your loved ones through the decisions they need to make if you were suddenly incapacitated or pass away.
Of course, the most important first step is to create a special needs plan. If you have not done so and you are ready to get started, we invite you to contact our office to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways You Can Qualify for Social Security Benefits

The Social Security program plays a critical role in keeping Americans out of poverty. As important as this program is, I find that there is a lot of confusion about how to qualify.
Here are the five ways you can qualify to receive a Social Security benefit:

1. Work to earn your retirement benefit


The most common way to qualify for a Social Security benefit is by working.  In order to receive a retirement benefit, you must be at least 62 years old and have accrued 40 lifetime work credits. Up to four credits are earned each year you work. That means you'll have to work at least 10 years to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

It is important to note that the Social Security Administration will take your highest 35 earning years when calculating your benefit amount. That means that the longer you work and the more your salary rises, the higher your benefit will be in retirement.
2. Work to receive a Social Security Disability benefit

Another way to receive a Social Security benefit is via the Social Security Disability program. Generally, you would need to have earned 40 lifetime credits before becoming disabled.   However, for those that haven't earned their 40 work credits, there is a staggered scale allowing younger adults to qualify despite having earned less than 40 work credits.
3. Receive a survivor's benefit based on your spouse's work and earnings history

Social Security provides survivor insurance protection for 90% of working Americans between the age of 20 and 49. This means that in the event of an untimely death, a surviving spouse and/or their surviving children would be provided a benefit based on the deceased worker's earnings history. These survivor benefits are dependent on the deceased worker's accrued lifetime credits and the age of the surviving spouse and children.
If the deceased worker passes away prior to reaching 40 earned credits, a staggered scale exists that allows a family to qualify for a benefit if a younger worker dies. Also, surviving spouses are typically not eligible to begin receiving a payout until age 60, or age 50 if he or she is disabled.
4. Stay married for at least 10 years
Another way to qualify for Social Security is to marry. This means that if your spouse dies you could potentially qualify for a survivor benefit as long as the survivor benefit would pay out more than what you would earn from your own retirement benefit.
If you are divorced and were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years you may be able to qualify for a benefit based on your former spouse's earnings history. You can even qualify for a benefit if your former spouse has remarried.  
5. Be a child of qualifying age
Finally, simply being a child under certain circumstances can qualify someone for a Social Security benefit. Generally speaking, a child can qualify for a benefit if they meet the following criteria:
  • Is under the age of 18, or up to age 19 if a full-time high school student
  • Is 18 years or older and disabled prior to reaching age 22
  • Is unmarried
  • Has a parent who is disabled, retired or deceased, and eligible or was eligible to receive a Social Security benefit
If a parent becomes disabled or retires, a qualifying child is eligible to receive up to 50% of their parent's full retirement benefit. If the parent passes away, the survivor benefit paid to the qualifying child could be as much as 75% of the deceased worker's full retirement age benefit.

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

Picture of Book
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.