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The Decline in Social Security’s Family Benefits
July 22, 2016
Social Security provides not only benefits to workers who retire after a lifetime of work or become disabled but also spousal and survivor benefits. These “family” benefits were designed in the 1930s for a one-earner married couple. The spousal benefit guarantees the lower earning spouse – generally the wife – a benefit at the full retirement age equal to half her husband’s full benefit.
Full Story.

Wandering Bill Gains Senate Approval
July 21, 2016
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved legislation to provide tracking devices and other resources to help kids with autism and developmental disabilities at risk of wandering.
Full Story.

Community Living Spending Continues to Rise
July 20, 2016
Increasingly, Medicaid dollars are going toward community-based services as opposed to institutional care, but some states are moving in that direction more rapidly than others.
Full Story.

Feds Offer Up Millions to Boost Disability Employment
July 19, 2016
Millions of dollars are up for grabs designed to help states improve services for people with disabilities seeking work.
Full Story.

Tips on 2 Social Security Restricted Application Scenarios
July 18, 2016
Q: My wife and I were both born in 1951 and are both 64 years old. She is collecting Social Security benefits from her deceased husband — and has been doing so since before we were married. When I turn 66 I need to make a decision on collecting spousal benefits. My own benefit will be the maximum based on what I have paid into the system.
Full Story.

Can a Comic Book Change How We See Alzheimer’s?
July 15, 2016
This graphic memoir author hopes to transform the narrative about dementia.
Full Story.

Despite Federal Directive, Some With Autism Still Denied ABA
July 14, 2016
Like many parents of children with autism, Braulio De La Cruz sought an expensive therapy called applied behavior analysis — or ABA — when his son Noah Leonardo was diagnosed last year.
Full Story.

EEOC Investigating Google for Age Discrimination, Lawsuit Says
July 13, 2016
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating complaints of age discrimination by Google, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.
Full Story.

Catastrophic Insurance Could Help With Long-Term Care Expenses: Studies
July 12, 2016
As aging baby boomers swell the ranks of elderly Americans, we’re nowhere near a solution to providing the long-term care services many of them will need.
Full Story.

Parents of Special Needs Children Plan for Two Futures
July 11, 2016
As the life expectancy of disabled adults increases, it’s increasingly complicating one issue for their aging parents: retirement planning.
Full Story.


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)

Join a NAELA Committee
Whether you’re new to Elder Law and Special Needs Planning, new to the Academy, or you finally have time to volunteer, NAELA offers a variety of committees, task forces, and project-based groups to help you learn more about Elder Law and Special Needs Planning, share your expertise, and get to know fellow members from across the country. New committees are starting in May. Make this the year you get active in NAELA.
Learn about NAELA Committees (You’ll need to sign in to the site to view this page.) Read about NAELA members’ experiences. (March 30, 2016)

NAELA Commends House Passage of Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act
The reauthorization will allow support to continue through 2019 and strengthens the law by providing better protection for vulnerable elders; streamlining and improving program administration; promoting evidence-based support; improving nutrition services; and aligning senior employment services with the workforce development system. See press release. (March 22, 2016)