Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
The Worst Way to "Help" A Child with Special Needs
Can I Purchase a Car While on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
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Source: Reprinted from the July 2018 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law,


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Issue: #112

 July 2018

I can't believe summer is halfway over already. Seems like it's flying by faster than normal. I've been busy planning for college visits with my son. I also was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the baseball All-Star Game. Another check off the "Bucket List."
In firm news, I'm doing a little bit of research this week and I hope you can help me.
Each year, I allocate a certain amount of my time to help support local organizations in our area. As we are heading into the second half of the year, I'm looking for sponsorship opportunities or events to get involved with.
So here's my questions to you:
  • Do you belong to any local groups or organizations who have any upcoming events or fundraisers I should know about?

  • Do you know of any upcoming events, health fairs,etc. that are focused on helping local individuals with disabilities or special needs?
If you have a quick second to hit "reply" and share with me your feedback, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Don't forget that I'm happy to volunteer my time to make presentations on Special Needs Planning or Social Security Disability related topics.  Education is my passion and I enjoy helping people in our community.  My presentations are ALWAYS FREE, so please also let me know if you are aware of a group in need of a speaker.
Looking forward to your feedback,


The Worst Way to "Help" A Child with Special Needs

I have found that some inexperienced attorneys  and financial planners have a really bad habit of telling parents of children with special needs that they need to write their child out of their estate plan in order to maintain their child's eligibility for government benefits. While this tactic would accomplish the goal of preserving government benefits, it is the worst way to help a child with special needs.
Both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are means-tested programs with very strict income and asset limits. This makes parents concerned about leaving their child an inheritance. Rightfully so!  But, writing a child out of an estate plan is not the right solution.
While SSI may provide a small cash benefit to your child, it is not nearly enough to support a person with special needs for their lifetime. The added benefit of an inheritance that is placed in a Special Needs Trust can fill the gap and provide a way for your child to maintain their quality of life. Further, government benefits are subject to the whims of Congress and the President, so the benefits that may provide for your child today could be eliminated or severely cut back in the future.
Rather than disinheriting a child with special needs, parents should almost always establish a Special Needs Trust. When properly drafted by an experienced Special Needs Planning Attorney, the Special Needs Trust will hold the child's inheritance so that it can be used to supplement their government benefits.
Special Needs Trusts can also receive life insurance payouts, so even if a family does not have a lot of liquid assets they can still provide for their child with special needs when they pass away. Disabled individuals who don't even need government benefits often benefit from a Special Needs Trust because by having a Trustee manage the assets it provides additional oversight of spending and can protect the child from financial abuse.
If you've received bad advice about disinheriting your child and created an estate plan that reflects that choice, we invite you to contact us today to discuss better options. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at (571) 328-5795.

Can I Purchase a Car While on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Many people who are disabled and are collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) maintain the ability to drive, despite their conditions.
At some point, the person with disabilities may need to purchase a new or used car, and since their benefits are needs-based, they may wonder what their restrictions are.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not to be confused with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is a disability benefit for workers who have accumulated enough work credits. For people collecting SSDI benefits, there is no limit to how many cars you can own.
SSI, however, is a benefit for low-income individuals who have either never worked or have not accumulated enough work credits, (or enough work credits in the time necessary), to qualify for SSDI. If you are receiving SSI benefits, there are certain limitations that apply when purchasing a vehicle.
Specifically, an SSI beneficiary's household is allowed to own only one (1) car, as long as it is used to transport the beneficiary or anyone in the beneficiary's household. The vehicle can be of any make and model and can be of any value.
If the disabled individual has a Special Needs Trust, it may be worthwhile to have the trust own the vehicle, rather than put it in the beneficiary's name.   If the person with disabilities is on the title of the car, he or she will normally also have to be on the insurance.  If someone else is driving the car on behalf of the person with disabilities (like a caregiver or primary driver), there could be issues with the insurance in the event of an accident. Having the car owned by a Special Needs Trust can help lower such risks.
A Special Needs Trust can also hold funds for maintenance, upgrades and future modifications for the car, without such expenditures jeopardizing the person's access to their SSI benefits.
The bottom line is that when you collect SSI benefits, what may seem like a "routine" purchase like a new car must be carefully considered and done in consultation with a Special Needs Planning Attorney to ensure that you are not violating any rules or holding title to any asset in the incorrect way.
If you need help working through your options for purchasing a car while collecting SSI benefits or would like to discuss creating a Special Needs Trust for a loved one, we can help. Please contact the office at (571) 328-5795 to schedule an appointment.

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"

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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.