Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
How to Create a Special Needs Plan When Parents Are Divorced
Social Security Recipients to Get the Biggest Raise in Years!
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Upcoming Events:
Monday, November 6, 2017

The Ins and Outs of Qualifying for Social Security Disability & SSI Benefits

Social Security Disability, Estate Planning, Elder Law & Special Needs Planning Attorney, Sheri Abrams will discuss Social Security Disability & SSI benefits, who qualifies for them (with emphasis on people with mental illness) and how the application and appeal process works.   Sheri will also touch on how Guardianship and Special Needs Trusts interact with these benefits.

Prince William Medical Center
 8700 Sudley Road
4th Floor, Conf. Rm B
 Manassas, VA 20110

NAMI Prince William meetings are free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to NAMI Prince William at 703-659-9983 as light refreshments will be served. 

For more information about NAMI Prince William visit:

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


Issue: # 103

 October 2017

I can't believe fall is here already.  I hope you are enjoying your pumpkin lattes, pies, Halloween candy, and making the most of the season with your loved ones.

Each year, I look forward to seeing the pictures of my readers' kids, grandkids, and pets dressed up in fun and unique costumes.   Feel free to email me your creations again this year, or tag our firm on Facebook.  I enjoy keeping up with you and your family over the holidays!

Finally, November is National Caregiver's Month. Here at the firm, we are all too familiar with the challenges that caregivers of loved ones with special needs face, including lack of support, financial problems (usually from having to quit or cut back on work), difficulty obtaining other resources to help pay for their loved one's care and legal roadblocks that often prevent caregivers from managing their loved one's affairs.

If you happen to be in a caregiver role today, please know that you are not alone and that we are here for you and your family.   Simple planning can help solve many of the problems that you face.  Give us a call at (571) 328-5795 and we'd be happy to meet with you to discuss how we can help.
Have a great month,


P .S. A lot of divorced parents ask me how it's possible to create a special needs plan for their child when the parents no longer share finances, responsibilities, viewpoints, etc.  This is a very common problem that I see here at the firm.  I've outlined some suggestions for you to be able to move forward in the best interest of your child in the feature article below. 

How to Create a Special Needs Plan When Parents Are Divorced 

Raising a child with special needs comes with its own unique set of challenges.  When caring for a loved one that needs extra support, it's the hope that all family members are in agreement and ideally on the same page.

However, this is not always easy, or even possible if the parents are divorced.  Often there are separate estates, separate finances, and other factors to consider for both parents when creating Special Needs Trusts and other care plans for children with disabilities. It often takes the assistance of an experienced Special Needs Planning attorney to sit everyone down and map out a plan that not only meets the needs of the child, but is flexible enough to work within the framework of a divorced or blended family situation.  Here are some of the common issues that we address when creating such a plan. 

Everyone must be realistic about differing financial and/or familial obligations.  Remarriage and new families may make less money available for Special Needs Planning. One parent may rely on the other to financially back any plans without fully understanding whether the other parent can do what is expected. Since divorced parents' finances are separate, one parent cannot obligate the other to invest in or pay for something.  Also, considering that lump sum inheritances can disqualify your child with special needs from receiving SSI or Medicaid, it's best to make sure neither parent will accidentally undermine the other's planning due to unintended consequences of their estate plan.
Work out any differences in opinion or desired outcomes.   Parents may not want the same thing for their adult child with disabilities, even though they both want the best. This can result in fights and disputes, which can turn ugly and contentious if not resolved. Hiring a Special Needs Planning lawyer to handle your child's special needs plan means having a knowledgeable neutral party working in the best interest of your child, no matter what happens between the two parents.
Decide if one parent should take the lead.  If a child with special needs primarily lives with one parent who is more involved in the child's ongoing care, then it may be in the best interest of the child for the more involved parent to take the lead and do the lion's share of the planning.  If one parent takes on more responsibility, that parent should strive to keep the other in the loop, while the other pledges support, both emotional and financial.
Make sure all family members know what's going on. Your child may have family members on both sides who don't communicate with each other or know what's planned.  More importantly, they may have siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings who may be very concerned about your plans, and especially with any lack of planning.  Just because you've asked one or all of your children to take over for you when you're gone doesn't mean they can simply slip into your place, even if they have the time and means to do so. All parties who would be interested, or who may be expected to later serve as guardian of your child or Trustee of your child's Special Needs Trust  should be kept in the loop to avoid any arguments or fights over your child's plan when you're gone.
Special needs planning in Virginia can be just as unique as your own family.  Contact the Law Office of Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795 when you're ready to start planning. We have the experience and knowledge to work with challenges like divorced and blended families to create the right plan for your child and your family.

Social Security Recipients to Get the Biggest Raise in Years!

The Social Security Administration has just announced that those who receive Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be getting a raise in 2018, the largest increase since 2012.

It will result in about a $25 monthly increase for the average beneficiary.

The 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to Social Security Retirement and Disability beneficiaries in January 2018.  Increased payments to SSI beneficiaries will start on December 29, 2017.

The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, a broad measure of consumer prices.  It measures price changes for food, housing, clothing, transportation, energy, medical care, recreation and education.

Social Security checks went up 0.3% in 2017, but there was no increase at all in 2016.

The average Social Security check for a retired worker is currently $1,377 a month.  It will go up to $1,404 after the first of the year, a $27 increase.

You can get an estimate of your Social Security benefits using the calculator located at:

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.