NAELA Advocacy Update
Read the latest news
on NAELA public policy and advocacy. (October 4, 2016)
NAELA Attorneys Celebrate Ban on Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements for Nursing Homes
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) celebrates the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ban long-term care facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid funds from entering into pre-dispute arbitration agreements with residents. See press release
. (October 3, 2016)
NAELA Celebrates National Special Needs Law Month in October
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) established October as National Special Needs Law Month as a grassroots effort to help people with disabilities and their families understand special needs planning and the resources available to them. See press release
. (September 30, 2016)
NAELA Praises House Passage of Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act
The House passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (H.R. 670) 382 to 22 today, which corrects an error in the law that presumes that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs. See press release
. (September 22, 2016)
NAELA Foundation Announces 2017 Conference Scholarship Opportunity
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Foundation proudly announces the availability of the Cohn Sisters’ Scholarships for Patient Advocacy for attendance at the 2017 NAELA Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts (April 27-29). Learn more and submit an application by January 20, 2017
. (September 22, 2016)
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)
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