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Headlines

Advocates Seek Urgent Passage of Wandering Bill
August 29, 2016
Hoping to harness momentum, disability advocates are pushing Congress to fast-track legislation designed to help kids with autism and other developmental disabilities at risk of wandering.
Full Story.

Doctors Raise Concerns For Small Practices in Medicare’s New Payment System
August 26, 2016
Indeed, in their professional journals, at conferences, on social media and health care blogs, and in comments to federal regulators, the nation’s doctors are expressing growing anger and frustration. The focal point of their angst is a 2015 federal law that changes the way Medicare pays doctors.
Full Story.

When It Comes to Uber, Miss Daisy May Be Driving You
August 25, 2016
A new study finds that a growing number of seniors are bringing in cash through the gig economy.
Full Story.

Service Providers Turn to Washington For Help
August 24, 2016
Disability providers are looking to Congress for a substantial boost in funding over the next three years as they cope with new mandates that many worry could force service cuts.
Full Story.

Surprise: At 81, Social Security Is A Growing Anti-Poverty Program For Kids
August 23, 2016
Social Security has long been celebrated for dramatically reducing poverty among older Americans. But as the program turns 81, it is playing a growing and little noticed role in lifting kids out of poverty, too.
Full Story.

Millions Headed to States for Special Ed Training
August 22, 2016
The U.S. Department of Education is shelling out millions in funding to help recruit and train teachers and administrators serving children with disabilities.
Full Story.

Why Health Data Interoperability Matters for Long-Term Care
August 19, 2016
Health data interoperability was the big topic of discussion at this year's Health Information Management Systems Society's annual meeting – and for good reason.
Full Story.

Regulations Broaden Who’s Covered Under ADA
August 18, 2016
The U.S. Department of Justice is issuing new regulations significantly expanding who’s covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Full Story.

Disability Could Play Outsized Role in Election
August 17, 2016
The number of potential voters with disabilities is on the rise and now exceeds that of either African-Americans or Latinos in this country, according to a new report.
Full Story.

Social Security Data Errors Can Turn People Into the Living Dead
August 16, 2016
A few months ago, when Dr. Thomas Lee logged in to his patients' electronic medical records to renew a prescription, something unexpected popped up. It was a notice that one of them had died. Lee, a primary care doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was scheduled to see the patient in three days.
Full Story.

Updates

NAELA Advocacy Alert - Lobbying for the SNT Fairness Act Is Easier Than You Think
Like the gap between practicing law and its dramatic appearance on TV, lobbying Congress suffers from a misconstrued image. Read more and learn how you can get involved. (August 23, 2016)

NAELA President's Award Given to PLAN/NJ Executive Director, Ellen Nalven
Green Brook resident and Executive Director of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of New Jersey (PLAN/NJ) located in Somerville, Ellen Nalven, M. Ed, recently received The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) 2016 President's Award. Read more. (August 23, 2016)

NAELA Releases Video Series for People With Multiple Sclerosis
The new “Legal and Care Planning for People with Multiple Sclerosis” video series is intended to help people diagnosed with MS and their families understand the complex legal and planning issues they face. It was produced via a partnership between the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and Stetson University College of Law, in consultation with the National MS Society. See press release. (August 15, 2016)

NAELA Advocacy Alert - Breaking News: Committee Approves SNT Fairness Act in Package!
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R. 670) as part of a small legislative package to improve Medicaid! Read the Advocacy Alert. (July 13, 2016)

House Committee to Vote on Fixing a Two-Decade-Old Error That Harms Persons with Disabilities; NAELA Supports Legislation
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Health will vote on whether to approve the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H. 670) this week. See press release. (July 11, 2016)

Update on DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority
The federal district court’s decision in DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority determined that special needs trust (SNT) distributions could be counted as income in determining Section 8 eligibility. NAELA members Ron Landsman, Esq., CAP, and Emily Starr, CELA, wrote and submitted an amicus brief on the case, with assistance from NAELA member Gregory Wilcox, CELA.

The 1st Circuit acknowledged the work of NAELA, the Special Needs Alliance and the National Housing Law Project regarding regulation § 5.603(b), which states that “’income’ in section 5.603(b) does not include the principal that initially funded the trust.”

DeCambre’s main claim focused on whether the housing authority made an error under the relevant regulations when calculating her income. She argued that SNT monies were from lump-sum payments and thus any SNT distribution was excluded from her annual income.

After again looking at the regulation and considering the parties’ arguments, the court rejected the defendant’s position.

“This does not address third-party trusts, but this is a victory for people with first-party pooled trust accounts or relatively modest individual special needs trusts. It means that drawing down principal and distributing it from the trust or trust account is not income for rent calculation purposes. The rare person with a really large special needs trust account who has substantial income from the trust — interest, dividends, realized capital gains — will have all of that counted for rent purposes,” said Landsman.

View the case ruling.

Read the Latest on NAELA Public Policy/Advocacy
Read the June issue of the NAELA Advocacy Update. (June 6, 2016)

Read the Latest NAELA: Eye on Elder and Special Needs Issues
NAELA supports care in the community and the greatest amount of independence possible for persons of any age with disabilities. Read more. (June 3, 2016)