PROVIDING CARE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN UNCERTAIN ECONOMY
GUEST: Attorney Henry Weatherby, Founding Principal of Weatherby & Associates, PC
Suggested Introduction: With proposed CT state budget cuts in the millions, parents of special needs children will be burdened with paying even more out of pocket for their children's care. During National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March, special needs Attorney Henry Weatherby offers solutions to ensure quality care throughout the child’s lifetime.
First Attorney Weatherby, please tell us about your firm, Weatherby and Associates…?
The attorneys at Weatherby & Associates, PC in Bloomfield have been helping families for over 20 years.
We create a more secure future through estate planning and specialize in special needs trusts, business succession planning and estate administration.
What kind of cuts specifically are parents looking at with the proposed budget?
For the first time, day program funding for 2016-2017 grads is totally eliminated.
That means, when children are no longer served by school systems at age 21, they will not have employment opportunities and day services available.
Parents will have to provide full time care at home.
Three key DDS programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities are proposed to be cut;
$3 million from employment opportunities and day services for adults
$1.8 million from funding for adult group homes
Over $300,000 for in-home services for children
What kind of expenses do parents need to plan for?
The high costs of long-term care.
A source of income to support the child later in life or after the parents’ death
What can parents do to cover these increased costs?
Qualify the child (or preserve qualification) for Medicaid.
Protect assets and income from medical care expenses and Medicaid reimbursement.
Ensure the ability to pay for services the child needs that aren’t paid for by Medicaid.
Create a Special Needs Trust.
What exactly is a Special Needs Trust?
A legal arrangement that allows a physically or mentally disabled person to receive income without reducing their eligibility for the public assistance disability benefits provided by Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare or Medicaid. as long as the funds are not used for certain food or shelter expenditures.
It covers the percentage of a person's financial needs that are not covered by public assistance payments.
Special needs trusts are irrevocable, and their assets cannot be seized by creditors or by the winner of a lawsuit.
This type of trust must be properly worded to ensure its validity, and must be established before the beneficiary turns 65.
Weatherby & Associates recommended we have a living trust. This appears to be a wonderful solution to the disposition of our assets, first to the surviving spouse and ultimately to our heirs.
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