If you are a frequent reader of our Marietta, Georgia, elder law blog, you know that we talk a lot about how to take care of your older and/or disabled loved ones. We are passionate about helping people spend their end of life as comfortably and securely as possible.
However, one thing that we don’t discuss quite as frequently is how to help you, the caregiver, take care of your elderly loved one while making sure that YOU stay healthy and secure. That is why we offer you this quick test to see if you are remembering how important you are and if you are taking steps to ensure that you take care of yourself.
Please check the appropriate column for each response.
Ideally, you have checked all “yes” answers. But, if you have more than 2 or 3 “no” or “needs work” answers, it’s time to take steps to get the help you so desperately need.
The good news is that help does exist. If you haven’t yet, ask family and friends for help. You may be surprised at the number of people willing to step up.
Help is also available through government and community resources. If you need help sorting through the services available, give our Marietta elder law firm a call so we can help you sort through the choices as well as talk you through the options for paying for them and protecting your elderly loved one’s nest egg.
The moral of this post is that being a great caregiver REQUIRES that you take care of yourself. The better you feel the better your loved one will feel. We promise!
If your child has been recently diagnosed with autism, you are probably feeling overwhelmed with this new direction your life has taken and inundated with information about how to care for your very special child. The good news is that there are a number of ways that the government and other organizations can help you. A few of them are listed below.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI)
SSI is a financial benefit through Social Security and is available for children younger than age 18. Your child can qualify if he or she has a physical or mental condition (or combination of conditions) that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.
The required level of severity for autistic disorders is met when a doctor finds that your child has the following:
- Deficits in reciprocal social interaction
- Deficits in communication and imagination, and
- A restricted range of activities and interests (this is not needed for Asperger’s syndrome)
In addition, the conditions above must cause serious limitations in at least two of the following:
- Communicative/cognitive functioning
- Social functioning
- Personal functioning, and/or
- Sustained concentration, persistence or pace.
Help for Adults with Autism
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides financial assistance to individuals who have a disability that began before age 22. SSDI is paid based on a parent’s Social Security earnings record and are available if one of the parents is either receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, has died and worked for a sufficient amount of time under Social Security, or if the disabled adult received “dependent’s benefits” on the parent’s Social Security earnings prior to age 18.
Luckily, there are a growing number of government financial resources that are available for adults with autism spectrum disorders or to programs that they attend. However, many of these resources are “income dependent,” meaning that there is a limit to what an autistic adult can make or own. This includes any money or assets that may be left to them by parents or grandparents in their will or trust.
That is why our Marietta Georgia special needs lawyers are passionate about making sure people know that even if they have the best intentions in mind for their child/ grandchild, they could actually be harming them by leaving an inheritance that causes the child to become ineligible for government benefits (including Medicaid, which may be the only health insurance option available).
The good news is that a Special Needs Trust can help with this. By putting your child’s future inheritance in a trust, he or she can enjoy the benefits of owning assets while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits. Special Needs Trusts can be very complicated and must be created properly by an experienced Special Needs Trust attorney here in Marietta GA to ensure it works as the family intends.
If you have a child who falls within the autism spectrum and need help sorting through all of your options, call our Marietta special needs lawyers today at 770-425-6060 and schedule a free, no-obligation Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session. We can help you make sure your child’s financial future is secure while maintaining the benefits they need.
October is Special Needs Planning Month!
Many parents of special needs children do a great job attending to their children’s daily needs, but haven’t given any thought to planning for the day when they will no longer be around or no longer able to care for their children. As a Marietta special needs attorney, I have noticed clients who take this approach and don’t adequately plan for their children with special needs.
A lot of parents of these children haven’t even bothered to write a will, let alone make any special provisions for the children to be cared for later on in life.
We found 5 tips that parents of special needs children can use as they consider planning strategies in a recent article that we thought were worth sharing.
- Write a letter of intent. This is not in place of a will, but lists everything that is needed for caring for the child. This includes names and contact information for all doctors, therapists, teachers or any other professionals they may see. This letter should also list the child’s likes, dislikes, allergies and so forth. This can be included in a will but can stand alone until a will is written.
- Set up a special needs trust. An attorney that specializes in special needs trusts should be contacted. The trust will serve to protect any assets that will pass on to the child.
- Consider buying life insurance. It should provide enough to provide for the child after the parents are gone.
- Take the child’s name off of any assets. This is so the child will not be disqualified for government benefits.
- Set up a guardianship for the adult child. Before the child is 18; the parents should file to be the adult child’s legal guardians.
These tips can help parents provide for their special child’s future while supporting their own peace of mind.
If you are the parent of a child with special needs, and you want to get started with putting in places plans for your child’s future, call us at 770-425-6060 and schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session ($600 value) at no charge. Or for more information on planning for your child, go to GeorgiaSpecialNeedsLawyer.com and download my FREE guide, “Legal Planning For Special Needs Children: Special Needs Planning Guide” Read it and learn How to Put a Fortress of Protection Around Your Child Through All of Life’s Transitions When Your Child is Disabled.