Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
All Families Need Legal Planning-But Even More So When Your Child Has a Disability!
Have You Been Denied for SSDI in Virginia? Don't Panic!
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We invite you to reprint our articles in order to bring helpful information to your readers, with the following guidelines:

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Source: Reprinted from the July 2017 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,


Issue: # 100

 July 2017

I hope this month's newsletter finds you well and enjoying your summer.
My summer has not been as exciting as I had hoped; a good friend of mine had heart surgery just a few weeks ago. It was honestly my first experience camping out for hours upon hours in a hospital waiting room. I walked away with a new appreciation for people with sick loved ones that spend more time in the hospital than they do at home.   It's a really tough situation to be in.
Our Canada trip is still on the radar for August, and thank you to everyone who responded last month with ideas of things to do and see while up there.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing Niagara Falls and spending some quality time with my son.
Finally, there's a lot of talk in Washington right now about possible cuts to Medicaid.  If you have a child or loved one with disabilities that relies on Medicaid for insurance coverage, these proposals might be worrisome to you.  Fortunately, there are alternative strategies you can still use to fund your loved one's care that are not totally dependent on the government. 
I always advise families to have multiple back up plans, so if after reading the article below you don't feel that you have adequate protections in place for your disabled loved one, give me a call and we'll get you into the office for a planning session to ensure all of your bases are covered.

Have a great month,

All Families Need Legal Planning-But Even More So When Your Child Has a Disability!  

As a Special Needs Planning attorney, and a mother myself, I can honestly say that legal planning is critical for all parents of minor children.   It provides the opportunity to determine who will raise your children if you can't, what money will be set aside or used for their upbringing, and even what money will be used to support them as adults. 
Yet each of these choices can become even more difficult when the child has a disability, especially if he or she is receiving some type of government assistance.  This is where working with an experienced  Special Needs Planning attorney comes into play.
A Special Needs Planning attorney is familiar with the most common choices faced by parents of children with disabilities and can offer advice and suggestions as to the best plan for your child's care.   A Special Needs Planning attorney also understands the ramifications of receiving an inheritance when it comes to eligibility for public benefits. 
It's important for parents to keep in mind that just leaving their child money outright if something happens to them can jeopardize the child's chance of receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits in the future. 
That's why we recommend using a Special Needs Trust which, when drafted properly, will allow for the continuation of public benefits.
However, special needs planning also covers more than just maintaining eligibility for government support.  It also protects the individual with a disability from lawsuits and other debts, as the trust cannot be seized in order to pay these.  This protects the trust and the individual who relies upon it for his or her needs. 
And of course special needs planning also helps to ensure that your special needs child will be raised by the people you want, in a way you want, if something happens to you. 
So if you are ready to get started in creating a plan that makes sure your child with a disability stays protected if the unthinkable happens, please call the office to set up an appointment.

Have You Been Denied for SSDI in Virginia? Don't Panic!

Approximately 80% of applications for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI)  are initially denied If you fall into this category, don't Panic!  Being denied SSDI in Virginia is not the end of the world. You have the right to appeal the decision. It is important to read the denial letter carefully, as the letter will explain why you were denied. After you read the letter here are the steps you'll want to take:

1) File an appeal right away.

You need to file an appeal as soon as possible after being denied. In fact, you are required to file the appeal  within 60 days  of the denial notice, but it is best to do it sooner. If this is your first denial, you will need to file a Request for Reconsideration.

2) Request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). 

After you file your first appeal, you will enter into the Reconsideration phase. If you are denied during this stage you will need to file a request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).   This is your opportunity to appear in person.

3) Request review by the Appeals Council.

If your claim is denied by the ALJ, you still have the right to appeal. You can appeal to Social Security's Appeals Council.  This appeal is done in writing, you do not appear.  The Appeals Council can "remand" your case back to the ALJ if they made a mistake. They can also reverse decisions in some cases. It can, however, take around a year for the Appeals Council to reach a decision.

4) Federal Court appeal.

If your claim is denied by Social Security's Appeals Council, the last step is to file an appeal in Federal Court.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) in Virginia can be a long, complicated, and frustrating process. If your claim has been denied please call the office so we can screen your case and determine if we can help you.

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

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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.