Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
How to Obtain a Guardianship During the Pandemic
How Does Collecting Unemployment Insurance Affect Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability and SSI benefits?
Special Needs Planning in the Age of The Pandemic
Picture of Sheri Abrams

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.

Share this Newsletter

Join Our List

See Our Previous Email Newsletters

Newsletter Archives
Read and Sign Up
For Our Blog
Like us on Facebook
View our profile on LinkedIn

Follow us on Twitter
Visit our blog

View our videos on YouTube

Find us on Pinterest

Find us on Yelp

Article Reprint Authorization


We invite you to reprint our articles in order to bring helpful information to your readers, with the following guidelines:

  • The content is to be printed in its entirety;
  • Additions, deletions or changes in the text, title or illustrations may not be made;
  • Credit is given to Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, as the original source.


Source: Reprinted from the June 2020 Newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, 


Thank you for your reviews! 

Have you worked with our law firm? We would greatly appreciate it if you would leave us a  review, to do so please

Issue: #135

June 2020

I hope this month's newsletter finds you as well as to be expected, considering the circumstances. I know that for many who are reading this, life feels overwhelming, chaotic, uncertain... and even painful right now.

Please know that my door - or should I say "my socially distanced email inbox" is ALWAYS open if you have questions or need help on the legal side of things.  Even if you have needs outside my field, I would be happy to do the leg work and connect you with a colleague or someone in the community who can help. I am here to support you today and always.

With that said, two of the most common questions that I've received over the past month are:
  • "Are the courts still having guardianship hearings during the pandemic?"
  • "How does collecting Unemployment Insurance affect Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability and SSI Benefits?"
I've answered both of these questions in the articles below. I've also decided to repost the video I recorded on how to create a plan for a child or loved one with special needs. The COVID crisis is certainly not behind us, however, we are hearing from many parents who feel like they finally have the mental space and breathing room to explore their options and look into creating a plan now, before a second wave occurs.

Again, this video was designed to answer some of your questions and provide you a blueprint of how to get started. If you have further questions after going through the video or you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your family's unique situation in more detail, please feel free to "hit" reply and we'll work to schedule something at your convenience.

How to Obtain a Guardianship During the Pandemic

I have been receiving a lot of inquiries recently asking me if the Courts are having Guardianship hearings during the pandemic.

The answer is yes, with some changes to their regular procedures as indicated below.

A Guardianship is appropriate if an adult, 18 years of age or older, is unable to make decisions for himself or herself as it relates to his or her basic health, care and safety needs without the assistance or protection of another person (the guardian). 

In order for a guardian to be appointed, a petition must be filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the person in need of a guardianship lives.

The petition must be filed with the clerk of the Circuit Court, along with a filing fee.
Because of Court office closings, in person
filing is not encouraged during this time and petitions should be mailed to the Clerk's office.

An evaluation report by a physician or psychologist must accompany the petition.

In most cases, if need be, this doctor's
evaluation is  allowed to be done virtually.

Once the petition is filed, the Court will set a hearing and all parties will be notified of the proceedings. The Court will appoint an attorney, known as a "Guardian ad Litem" or "GAL" to be the "eyes and ears" of the Court. The GAL will meet with the person who may be in need of a guardian, the petitioner(s) and the proposed guardian(s) in order to investigate the situation and submit a written report to the Court.

During the pandemic, in most cases, the
Courts are allowing the GAL to hold this
meeting virtually.

The Circuit Court will then have a hearing on the petition --usually on a Friday morning. The Petitioner(s), their Attorney, the proposed Guardian(s) and the GAL will be present. In many cases the alleged incapacitated person does not have to be present at the hearing, but can be present if they wish.
At this time the Arlington County Circuit
Court and the Prince William County Circuit
Court are still having in-person hearings.
However, the Prince William Circuit Court is
limiting the number of cases allowed to be
heard and is modifying the time during the
day that these hearings take place.

As of now the Fairfax County Circuit Court is
not having in-person hearings. The Court is
using WEBEX to have video hearings at
roughly the same time of day as the in-person hearings were being held.

If after the hearing the Judge finds that the guardianship is appropriate, he or she will sign an Order and Qualification papers will be able to be obtained through the Probate Office.

The Arlington County, Fairfax County and
Prince William County Probate offices are
currently qualifying Guardians remotely.

For more information on Guardianship, please click here
How Does Collecting Unemployment Insurance Affect Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability and SSI benefits?

The pandemic has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket. Millions of people have applied, or are attempting to apply, for Unemployment Insurance.
Many are concerned about how this will impact their Social Security benefits.
Social Security Retirement: 

Unemployment Insurance is not counted as wages under the Social Security annual earnings test, so they won't affect Social Security retirement benefits.

In the past some states reduced Unemployment Insurance if a person was also collecting Social Security, but this is no longer the case.

Social Security Disability:

Unemployment Insurance does not count toward the substantial gainful activity level of $1,260 (2020) earnings per month because they are not the result of current work activities.  Therefore it is technically possible to receive both Unemployment Insurance and Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI).

However, this gets tricky.

When a person applies for Unemployment Insurance they attest to the fact that they are "ready and able" to work, but have lost their job through no fault of their own and are actively looking for work.   When a person applies for SSDI benefits they attest to the fact that they are "unable to work" at the substantial gainful activity level of $1260 per month (2020).

So you can see the problem.

SSI Benefits:

Unemployment Insurance would affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because it is counted as unearned income. So, each dollar of unemployment would count against the $803 (2020) per month unearned income limit for SSI.

Special Needs Planning in the Age of The Pandemic

Click the image below to watch a video I recorded with information on Special Needs Planning during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Free Download of Sheri Abrams' 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' 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.