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Headlines

Did Wells Fargo Target Seniors With Its Bogus-Account Scheme?
September 29, 2016
Wells Fargo may have gone out if its way to take senior citizens to the cleaners when the bank’s workers fraudulently opened as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ permission.
Full Story.

Congress Eyes Changes to ABLE Act, Special Needs Trusts
September 28, 2016
A handful of bills designed to make it easier for people with disabilities to save money are advancing in Congress.
Full Story.

Walking Fends Off Disability, and It's Not Too Late to Start
September 27, 2016
People who have reached their later years may think it's primarily a time to relax, not to increase their physical activity. Not so. Previous research has suggested that exercise can improve memory and reverse muscle loss in older adults, among other benefits. And a study out Monday finds that a regular program of physical activity reduces the time spent with mobility-limiting disability.
Full Story.

71 Percent of Americans Aren’t Saving Enough for Retirement
September 26, 2016
Seventy-one percent of Americans say they do not have enough retirement savings, according to a new national survey commissioned by Experian in collaboration with Get Rich Slowly.
Full Story.

This Loophole Ends the Privacy of Social Security Numbers
September 23, 2016
Federal law is supposed to protect the privacy of your Social Security number from government inquiries -- but apparently that doesn’t extend to a check on whether you’ve paid back taxes and child support.
Full Story.

It’s Not Just For Kids: Medicare EpiPen Spending Up 1,100 Percent
September 22, 2016
Even as the cost of EpiPens dramatically rose, so too did the number of prescriptions written for patients in Medicare, sending spending by the program skyrocketing nearly 1,100 percent from 2007 to 2014, a new report shows.
Full Story.

Over $24 Million Tagged for Disability Employment
September 21, 2016
The U.S. Department of Labor is sending millions of dollars to states and organizations, all earmarked to improve the employment odds facing people with disabilities.
Full Story.

For Some Seniors Without Housing, a Parking Lot Is Home
September 20, 2016
For the seniors left out in the cold, their only option is living in their cars.
Full Story.

Self-Advocacy Gets National Push
September 19, 2016
Efforts to promote self-advocacy among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are getting a major boost with the creation of a first-ever national resource center.
Full Story.

Program Employs a Handyman to Upgrade Low-Income Seniors’ Health
September 16, 2016
Assistance from a nurse, an occupational therapist and - in a novel approach, a handyman - made it easier for low-income seniors to perform tasks, like dressing, that are essential for independent living, a new study shows.
Full Story.

Updates

Regarding Emails Received With Subject Line "A NAELA Ordering Account has been established for you"
Several NAELA members received an email this afternoon from account_creation@epmonline.com with the subject line, "A NAELA Ordering Account has been established for you." The email was sent from a legitimate company, MarketingBench. This company produces the NAELA customizable brochures. The account information was introduced prematurely by the vendor without NAELA's permission. NAELA will provide clearer information on how members can make use of the service at the appropriate time. However please ignore any communication you have received from the vendor at this time. NAELA apologizes for any confusion this may have caused. (September 23, 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.