Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Why a Special Needs Planning Lawyer Should Be a Part of Your Child's Special Needs Team
No Matter Your Age - It's Critical to Review Your Social Security Earnings Statement
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Source: Reprinted from the August 2017 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,


Issue: # 101

 August 2017

I hope this month's newsletter finds you well and enjoying what's left of the summer! 

We've been extremely busy here at the firm, but I'm still trying to squeeze in a little fun with my friends and family over the next month.  I recently tried out one of those local paint parties where you drink and paint a picture step-by-step.  Let's just say I'm terrible at art and the wine didn't help the situation at all.   But, it was a great summer night out with friends.

I'm also looking forward to my end-of-summer vacation to Niagara Falls.  I'm thinking it will be a much-needed break with my son before all the craziness of the school year starts. 

Speaking of school, I know that parents of children  with special needs will soon be reconnecting with their top "point people--" usually the guidance counselors, OT's, PT's, speech therapists, etc. to plan out their child's care plans for the upcoming year.  Yet one key person that is notoriously left off of the family's team is a Special Needs Planning lawyer.  That is a HUGE mistake.  And the start of a new school year is a great time to fix that problem!

Many transitions that you'll encounter during your child's life will require the help of a lawyer, such as applying for disability benefits, protecting your child's inheritance, petitioning  for guardianship, navigating legal issues with the school and creating a Special Needs Trust.  If you don't have a lawyer, consider fostering that relationship now, maybe even before you need it.  It will give you great peace of mind knowing that you have a professional that you trust already in place when the time comes.

We'd be happy to support you in these areas if you find yourself needing assistance today or in the future.  If you'd like to get to know us better, feel free to call the office to schedule a consultation.  There's no pressure to work with us-let's just have a conversation about your child's needs and how we might be able to help.  You can also learn more about the importance of adding an attorney to your "planning team" in the featured article below.

Have a great month,

Why a Special Needs Planning Lawyer Should Be a Part of Your Child's Special Needs Team 

Through all of your child's life there's been a team of adults involved in his or her care. Besides parents and relatives, doctors, teachers, social workers, therapists, and psychologists should all be part of the team helping your child have the best future possible.

However, the team isn't complete without a Special Needs Planning lawyer.  If all the other bases are covered - necessities, education, therapy, medicine, socialization, and community integration - without legal advocacy, then all the bases aren't covered. Here's why your child's team should have a Special Needs Planning lawyer:
A Special Needs Planning lawyer knows both Disability law and Estate Planning law. Special Needs planning lawyers have a niche specialty. They're well versed in Federal and Virginia special needs laws, as well as areas like special education and employment. They're also estate planning lawyers who can help you create a Special Needs Trust to ensure your child is provided for without losing their public benefits.
A Special Needs Planning lawyer can create the right trust for your child. A Special Needs Trust is intended to benefit your child, and it can be composed of many types of properties or investments.  If you're starting early enough, your Special Needs Planning lawyer can help you figure out the best assets to use to create an optimal trust.
A Special Needs Planning lawyer can be your child's advocate in a variety of forums.   He or she knows both Estate Planning law and Disability law. A Special Needs Planning lawyer can help you create a trust, but he or she can also be your child's advocate when it comes to schooling or housing.  Sometimes, even knowing that a family with a special needs child has attentive legal representation is enough to deter those who might try to take advantage.
A Special Needs Planning lawyer can help you set up Guardianship or draft a Power of Attorney for your special needs child.   Getting court-ordered guardianship is a necessity that many families will need to go through when their child turns 18 or when they are older.  At age 18 your child will be considered an "adult" in the eyes of the law, despite his or her disabilities, and you will lose the ability to make decisions or speak on their behalf.  If your child is high functioning and has the mental capacity to sign legal documents, your family may be able to accomplish the same objective by having your child sign a Power of Attorney.  A Special Needs Planning lawyer can direct your family down this path when the time comes.
Every parent of a special needs child should create a team of specialists in order to best care for their child.  Make your team complete by including a Special Needs Planning lawyer to assist with your child's legal and financial planning issues. 

No Matter Your Age - It's Critical to Review Your Social Security Earnings Statement

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has decided to reduce costs by no longer sending out paper earnings statements to workers under 60 years of age. This doesn't seem to concern most people who are still far from their retirement years.  But it should!

Every worker should be reviewing their earning statements yearly, which you can do online at "mySocialSecurity," since mistakes may exist that need to be corrected immediately.

Here are the six most important things to know when looking at your Social Security earnings statement:
  1. When is your "full retirement age?" This is not when you plan to retire, but when SSA will start paying you full benefits. For most people today, the full retirement age is between 66 and 67 years old, but it varies from person to person. (The retirement age was raised for younger workers in the 1980's to make sure that Social Security would be funded long term.)
  2. Your retirement bonus.  The official name is a "delayed retirement credit" and you receive this by delaying the date that you start receiving Social Security benefits. You receive an 8% annual increase in benefits from your full retirement age until you reach age 70.
  3. Your Disability amount.   How much will you receive if you apply for and receive Social Security Disability benefits.
  4. Understand benefits for family members and spouses. If you pass away, your spouse and children are entitled to survivor benefits. The benefits vary, but you can calculate the amount your survivors will receive on your online "mySocialSecurity" account.
  5. Medicare Sign-Up. This program is connected to Social Security, but has its own unique set of rules. Unless you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you become eligible when you turn 65. You should sign up for Medicare three months before you turn 65 so that your Medicare is in place when you turn 65.
As you can see, it is never too early to start reviewing your Social Security earnings record.

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

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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.