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President's Message

Volunteering, Collaborating, and Making a Difference

By Jennifer L. VanderVeen, CELA, CAP, Fellow

Volunteering is a win/win. You'll be giving back to your professional community while expanding your network and expertise.

As the President of NAELA, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many NAELA members who are actively volunteering for various NAELA committees and projects, some of whom you will hear from in this issue. Being involved with NAELA is not only a way to enhance your practice, but it can form relationships and friendships that will last a lifetime.

My own involvement with NAELA, beginning with my membership on the Tax Section Steering Committee, has certainly changed my life. I think I can confidently say that being an active part of the NAELA family has made me not only a better lawyer, but a better person. I have met people and made friends that, without our connection to NAELA, I likely never would have had the opportunity to meet. The NAELA family is a vibrant, diverse, welcoming group that is always looking for new members.

So, how do you get started with your NAELA journey? NAELA sections and state chapters are always looking for leaders, committee members, and people to write articles and lead webinars. Learn more by starting with the member volunteer profiles on page 10. Then visit and tell us about what you are interested in.

NAELA Public Policy Priorities for 2020
Turning now to NAELA’s public policy priorities for 2020. Each year, the NAELA Board of Directors, working in conjunction with the NAELA Federal Advocacy Committee, approves three public policy priorities each year. Staying focused on three priorities leads to strategic efforts that help move us forward. (See the Advocacy Update on page 30 for a review of our 2019 priorities.)

Priority 1: Ending the institutional bias in Medicaid. Far too many individuals with disabilities of all ages cannot receive services at home or in the community due to Medicaid’s institutional bias, which mandates nursing home care, but makes Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) optional. NAELA will continue to work with its coalition partners to pass long-term extensions of Money Follows the Person and the requirement that states apply spousal impoverishment protections to HCBS.

Priority 2: Build a framework to address issues before the Social Security Administration. In 2020, NAELA will build off its success last year in getting archived the POMS that required fee approval for supplemental needs trust drafting for SSI beneficiaries by implementing a strategy for addressing issues before the agency moving forward.

Priority 3: Combat Medicaid cuts harmful to our clients by congress and the administration. The Administration continues to approve harmful Section 1115 Waivers despite several court losses. NAELA will continue to oppose waivers through regulatory comments and amicus briefs in litigation. We will also continue to monitor Congress to ensure that no restrictions to Medicaid LTSS eligibility become law.

In this issue..

Practice Management During an Emergency

By  NAELA Publications

COVID-19 Resources

By  NAELA Publications

Helping With Your Clients' Non-Legal Needs

By  Jennifer Balmos, Esq.

2019 Summit Review

By  Crystal West Edwards, CELA, and Valerie Geiger, Esq.

NAELA Summit: Seminar Reviews

By  Eric Einhart, Esq., and Leonard Mondschein, CELA, CAP

Seven Pitfalls and Six Solutions of the Medicaid 5 Year Trust

By  Meghan M. Teigen, Esq., and Mark T. Johnson, CELA

President's Message: Making a Difference

By  Jennifer L. VanderVeen, CELA, CAP, Fellow

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