Sheri R. Abrams, P.C., Attorney at Law
Social Security Disability &
  Special Needs Trusts News from
 Sheri R. Abrams, P.C. Attorney at Law
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Please see our websites at:
for more information.
In This Issue
At Last---Shorter Waits for Social Security Disability Benefits
Attorney, Sheri Abrams, to Speak at "Circle of Support" Conference
Can a Disabled Person Create a Special Needs Trust with Their Own Funds and Still be Eligible for Medicaid and SSI?
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Issue: # 15 October 2009
Picture of Social Security Card and Dice

Welcome to the fifteenth edition of our newsletter.  In these monthly newsletters we will be showing you how not to gamble with your or your patients/clients Social Security Disability and/or SSI benefits.  We will also be providing you with useful information on Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney and Special Needs Trusts.
At Last---Shorter Waits for Social Security Disability Benefits
social security form
Good News:  If you are - or know someone - applying for Social Security disability benefits, the waiting time for a decision is likely to be shorter rather than longer.
Since 1999, the number of people waiting for a decision on disability benefits swelled - and the waiting times became longer and longer. The results were often tragic - people lost their homes, families broke apart, people did not get badly needed medical care. Sad to say, nearly every year some people died while waiting for a decision.
Now - for the first time in a decade - the Social Security Administration has reduced both the number of people waiting for decisions on their disability applications and the waiting time to get a decision.
SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue made the announcement in a recent press release.   "We've been fighting for this for many years. The problem is that for many years, the Social Security Administration's work load went up but its budget went down. The strains on the Social Security Administration became worse as the Baby Boomers began to retire. Finally, there was a small budget increase in 2008 and a more substantial increase in 2009."
For more information on Social Security Disability and SSI benefits please click
Attorney, Sheri Abrams, to Speak at "Circle of Support" Conference
Ms. Abrams will be speaking on The In's and Out's of Qualifying for Social Security Disability & SSI Benefits
The Circle of Support Conference is a conference for families of children with special needs and the professionals who work with them.
The conference is sponsored by the ARC of Prince William County.

The conference is taking place on Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM.

The conference is taking place at: Hylton High School, 14051 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge, VA 22193.

In this workshop, Sheri Abrams will discuss what social security disability and SSI benefits are, who qualifies for them (with emphasis on families of children with special needs), how the application and appeal process work, what to do if denied benefits, and when to hire an attorney and the costs involved. Sheri R. Abrams is an attorney specializing in Social Security Disability law and the preparation of wills, special needs trusts, living wills, financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney. She is a sole practitioner in Fairfax, VA.

For info about this conference please see this website:
Can a Disabled Person  Create a Special Needs Trust with Their Own Funds and Still be Eligible for Medicaid and SSI?
Scale of JusticeEach public benefits program has restrictions that the special needs trust must comply with in order not to jeopardize the beneficiary's continued eligibility for public benefits.
Both Medicaid and SSI are quite restrictive, making it difficult for a beneficiary to create a trust for his or her own benefit and still retain eligibility for Medicaid benefits.  But both programs allow two "safe harbors" permitting the creation of special needs trusts with a beneficiary's own money if the trust meets certain requirements.

The first of these is called a "payback" or "(d)(4)(A)" trust, referring to the authorizing statute. "Payback" trusts are created with the assets of a disabled individual under age 65 and are established by his or her parent, grandparent or legal guardian or by a court. They also must provide that at the beneficiary's death any remaining trust funds will first be used to reimburse the state for Medicaid paid on the beneficiary's behalf.

Medicaid and SSI law also permits "(d)(4)(C)" or "pooled trusts." Such trusts pool the resources of many disabled beneficiaries, and those resources are managed by a non-profit association. Unlike individual special needs trusts, which may be created only for those under age 65, pooled trusts may be for beneficiaries of any age and may be created by the beneficiary his or herself. In addition, at the beneficiary's death the state does not have to be repaid for its Medicaid expenses on his or her behalf as long as the funds are retained in the trust for the benefit of other disabled beneficiaries. (At least, that's what the federal law says; some states require reimbursement under all circumstances.)  Although a pooled trust is an option for a disabled individual over age 65 who is receiving Medicaid or SSI, those over age 65 who make transfers to the trust will incur a transfer penalty.

For more information on Special Needs Trusts please click
person signingIf 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:
(703) 934-5450.
We provide legal services in the areas of Social Security Disability Law and prepare Wills, Special Needs Trusts, Living Wills, Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney for clients in Virginia, DC and Maryland, and we are always happy to provide FREE friendly phone advice.
If you refer someone who becomes a client, we will treat you to a great cup of coffee (you will receive a FREE Starbucks Gift Card).
If you, or someone you know, is involved with an educational event or support group that would benefit from a presentation on Social Security Disability Law, Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney or Special Needs Trusts, please call us at (703) 934-5450.
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Our law office is located in the "Old Town
Fairfax Building," formerly known as the "Jesse Building."
                        4015 Chain Bridge Road
                                     Suite i
                             Fairfax, VA 22030
                               (703) 934-5450
We are right across the street from the Courthouse in Fairfax City, Virginia.
Free Parking (including a Handicapped parking space) is available in the lot behind the building.