Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Planning News
 Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law
In This Issue:
Virginia FINALLY allows Individuals with Disabilities to Receive Supplemental Medicare Coverage Before Age 65
Advice for Grandparents When Leaving an Inheritance to a Child with Special Needs
Does My Child Have to Pay Rent to Receive the Maximum SSI Benefits?
Special Needs Planning in the Age of The Pandemic
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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.

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


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Issue: #137

August 2020

It's hard to believe August is here and the kids are, for the most part, heading back to virtual school. The start of this year is anything but normal, but I wish your kids and grand-kids success in their year ahead.
I am excited to announce that Virginia recently passed a law that now allows individuals with disabilities who qualify for Medicare benefits to purchase supplemental plans before the age of 65.  This is a huge victory, as in the past individuals with disabilities had to pay out of pocket or go without the care they really needed simply because they did not have access to these Medicare Supplement policies.  I have outlined the changes to the program in the article below.
It goes without saying that I'm crossing all of my fingers and toes for an uneventful fall season ahead.  
Have a safe month,

Virginia FINALLY allows Individuals with Disabilities to Receive Supplemental Medicare Coverage Before Age 65

In Virginia, approximately 15% of Medicare beneficiaries who are disabled or have qualifying chronic conditions are under the age of 65. Until recently, Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia, who were under age 65, were not eligible to purchase Medicare supplement policies, which effectively limited the care (and the affordability of care) the individual could receive.
Fortunately, a new law was recently passed in Virginia that will now allow those who would otherwise qualify for Medicare benefits to be able to access supplemental plans even if they are under age 65.
Who Qualifies For Medicare Under Age 65?
Medicare is available for certain people with disabilities who are under age 65. These individuals must have received Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months or have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
What is a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Medicare Supplement Insurance helps to fill in coverage gaps that Medicare does not pay for. These are private insurance policies that are administered by the state.
New Eligibility Guidelines
Under Virginia Code Section 38.2- 3610, if you are on Medicare before the age of 65 by reason of disability and you are enrolled in either part A or B, you are now eligible to purchase Medicare supplement policies.
When Can I Enroll?
Because this is a relatively new law and coverage can vary depending on where you live in the Commonwealth, it's best to speak with an insurance professional to learn your options for enrollment.

Advice for Grandparents When Leaving an Inheritance to a Child with Special Needs

Grandparents who have grandchildren with special needs often express a desire to leave a portion of their estate behind for his or her long-term care and living expenses. Such expenses may include paying for respite care, hiring home health aides, making home and vehicle modifications, and so forth.
However, leaving an inheritance outright to a grandchild with special needs often causes more harm than good. If the child is receiving public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid or section-8 housing, receiving an inheritance (even a modest one) could cause ineligibility.
I have been asked before by well-meaning grandparents whether ineligibility matters if there is enough money left behind for the child's care. That is a tricky question to answer because benefits for individuals with special needs cover much more than money.
For example, if the child is found ineligible for Medicaid, there's a chance that he or she may not be able to find or afford quality health insurance coverage elsewhere. Medical expenses are generally high for people with disabilities and losing access to Medicaid could create ripple effects that goes far beyond dollar amounts.
The good news is that there is a way for grandparents to accomplish their goal of providing for their grandchild with special needs, without unintentionally causing benefit ineligibility. That's done by creating a Third Party Special Needs Trust.
The Trust can be set up in such a way that the grandparents can start putting money or assets into it during their lifetime, or they can name the Special Needs Trust as the beneficiary of their estate when they pass away.
In either scenario, money or property that is placed in the Special Needs Trust will not cause the child to lose benefits as the assets are owned by the Trust and are not owned by the child. The Grandparent 's will also have the ability to appoint a successor trustee of their choosing who will be responsible for ensuring that the funds are managed wisely and that resources are used according to their wishes going forward.
If you are a grandparent who is interested in leaving a portion of your estate to a grandchild with special needs when you are gone, we invite you to contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
We also frequently work with families who already have estate plans which have been set up with other attorneys. We can handle the special needs planning part and refer you back to your original attorney for any other work that needs to be done.

Does My Child Have to Pay Rent to Receive the Maximum SSI Benefits?

When a child with special needs turns 18, he or she may be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides benefits for disabled adults with limited income and resources.
How much money the disabled individual is eligible to receive depends on a number of factors, including his or her living situation. Under the Social Security Administration's current guidelines, anyone who receives SSI must pay for their own food and shelter costs in order to receive the current maximum benefit amount of $783 per month.
But what about an adult child who still lives with mom or dad for free? In that case the SSI benefit will normally be reduced by 1/3 of the $783 monthly benefit.
There is a way to avoid this reduction, however. The adult disabled child can pay rent to their parents. Using a written agreement a monthly amount for room and board will be paid from the child's SSI benefit to the parents.
Many times the parents will turn around and take this rent money each month and use it to fund a Third Party Special Needs Trust for the benefit of their adult disabled child. A Third Party Special Needs Trust is a special legal document that holds assets on behalf of the person with special needs, without causing him or her to lose eligibility for benefits like SSI or Medicaid.
By investing the funds this way month after month, parents can watch their child's Third Party Special Needs Trust grow, which provides the peace of mind of knowing that resources are continuously being set aside for their child's future care needs.
What Option Is Best for My Family?
Because there is no "one-size-fits-all" special needs planning approach, it's best to meet with an attorney who specializes in these matters to go over all of your options. This will provide your family with a road-map to receiving the maximum amount of benefits and resources possible, while ensuring there are additional safety nets in place for your child's long-term protection and security.
If you'd like to start the conversation, please contact the office.

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"

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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.