The December Newsletter
Creating a Special Needs Legal and Life Care Plan
Please join The J and The Washington Group Special Care Planning Team for a no-cost virtual workshop on Creating a Special Needs Legal and Life Care Plan...

January 13, 2021 (Wednesday)
2:00 - 3:15 pm
Via Zoom
Speakers: Jerry Hulick, CLU, ChFC, ChSNC, CLTC and Pearl Hartley, Special Care Planner

We will explore benefit programs available to families with special needs members. A quality of life is very much integrated with the financial instruments and assets that we have. An understanding of the best way to structure your special needs family financially will help to meet considerations and concerns for the future. 

This webinar will focus on the employer benefit structure with the integration of government entitlement benefits as well as planning that has already taken place. We will also include an in-depth discussion of social security disability benefits (SSDI) with a broader discussion of all public entitlement and public assistance benefits. There will also be an overview of important legal and special needs legal instruments to consider (Wills, POAs, Special Needs Trusts, Guardianship and Alternatives, etc.). We will also touch on some tax planning tips and deductions for special needs families.

Understanding the various public assistance and entitlement benefits as well as legal considerations will help to ensure the best quality of life and resources for your loved one with special needs. This workshop is intended for individuals, families, case managers, and
community members who want to learn about legal and financial considerations for special needs.

To RSVP please email Carey or call (571) 378-0245
How to Put Together a Disability Friendly Emergency Kit
By: Sheri R. Abrams, Special Needs Planning Attorney

Over the past year, we've all been confronted with our fair share of emergencies and natural disasters. In what felt like an instant last spring, life shut down due to the coronavirus. In addition, people on the west coast were displaced by some of the worst wildfires in our nation's history. This was the first year that we ran out of English names for hurricanes and actually had a storm from the Greek alphabet to hit our shores.
2020 has certainly been a reminder to all of us that life can change in an instant. It also gave many of us the extra push we needed to create preparedness plans for our families. For some, that meant putting documents such as powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and wills in place so that life would be as easy as possible for their family if something happened.
Parents of children with special needs also realized the urgency this year of creating disability specific emergency plans. It's no secret that the shutdowns and nationwide emergencies were extremely hard for people with disabilities. Kids could not access basic services they needed, stores were closed, doctor visits were postponed, and medications got delayed in the mail. As a result, we've heard from many parents who are now putting together disability specific emergency kits so that their loved one's needs are met in a crisis.
If you have a loved one with special needs and you'd like to create a similar emergency kit, here are some suggestions for what to include:
  • Photocopies of important documentation such as health insurance policies, ID cards, and medical alert information. 
  • Copies of all prescription drugs that your child takes and contact information for doctors and pharmacies in case you need an emergency refill.
  • Extra batteries for medical devices such as hearing aids or breathing machines.
  • A patch kit to repair tires on a wheelchair or scooter in an emergency.
  • A two-week supply of medical care items such as needles, bandages, etc.
  • Cooler and ice packs for any medications that must be kept cold.
  • Masks, blankets, and towels.
  • A backup supply of special dietary foods. 
  • A lightweight manual wheelchair to use as a backup in the event a power chair goes down.
  • A "grab and go" bag of items that will keep your child calm ---- such as toys that he or she likes or a favorite book.
  • Extra food and supplies for service animals. 
  • A power adapter that can be plugged into the car for any electronic communication devices.

Finally, it's a smart idea to identify local shelters that are equipped to house people with special needs in the event of a disaster. You can contact the Red Cross for further information at

We are also here to answer any questions you have about legal planning to ensure the future protection and security of your child. Please feel free to contact our office to schedule an appointment.

4th Annual Arts Showcase
The J is hosting their 4th annual arts showcase virtually this year! 

Shop online this holiday season to support local talented artists, gift makers, and the Pozez JCC’s Special Needs & Inclusion Department!

Local vendors have created handmade arts, jewelry, photography, and so much more, for sale on their website or ecommerce platforms.

Please be sure to mention the Pozez JCC fundraiser when you purchase from any of our vendors, and they will donate a portion of their proceeds back to the J to help support our special needs and inclusion programming.

Do I Need to Update My Retirement Accounts Beneficiary Designations?
By: Yahne Miorini 

I want to share with you my conclusions on my recent presentation to the MassMutual Group Financial Planner Division on Special Needs on the SECURE Act.

If you have a family member who qualifies as “disabled” or as “chronically ill” and have substantial retirement accounts, you may want to review the beneficiary designation of your retirement accounts. 

Two top changes on retirement accounts with the SECURE Act of 2019 are (1) the end of the inherited retirement planning opportunity of the transfer of wealth replaced by a ten year payout requirement, and (2) an exception to the ten-year payout rule for beneficiaries that fall under the new category called Eligible Designated Beneficiaries.

The Act authorizes the creation of a trust that can benefit an individual falling into one of these two categories of eligible designated beneficiaries along with other family members while avoiding the ten-year payout requirement. In certain circumstances you may want to create a stand-alone retirement trust to take full advantage of the new rules which will benefit the special needs individual and other family members. This is a completely new approach developed for adjusting to the SECURE Act new requirements.

There are many aspects to the new law. If you have any questions about the SECURE Act and how it may affect your retirement account, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.

It's been such a challenging year for so many of us. Remote and hybrid learning have been tough for so many families, and we imagine that stressors will likely increase with the upcoming holiday season. With that in mind, checkout the two blog posts below from Beyond BookSmart which outline some tips to help parents during this stressful time.

Thank you for reading and sharing. Happy Holidays!
Jerry L. Hulick, CLU, ChFC, ChSNC, CLTC
The Washington Group Special Care Planning Team
Northern Virginia, Maryland, Fredericksburg, D.C.
(571) 378-0245 I
Jerry Hulick is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, Inc., member SIPC (, Supervisory office located at 530 Gaither Road, Suite 350, Rockville, MD 20850. Phone (301) 355-5800. CRN202111-256461