Estate Planning and Elder Law
Social Security Appeals
1. Have your child sign an Advance Health Care Directive, naming you as the Representative for Health Care Decisions. Most hospitals have a blank form.
2. Apply to be your child’s Authorized Representative for the school and for the local Community Services Board, depending on what is applicable. This keeps you in the information loop in order to assist with decision making.
3. Apply for Supplemental Security Income for your child at your local Social Security office (if you have not previously qualified). This entitlement usually qualifies the child for Medicaid where appropriate. Frequently, you can make the application in advance of the child’s birthday.
4. Make an appointment with an attorney who is familiar with the issues regarding disabled adults to discuss whether or not guardianship in appropriate. This initiala appointment is usually at no cost or at a greatly reduced rate. If guardianship is not currently approprate, discuss a simple power of attorney for you to sign docments for yur child.
5. At that appointment, discuss your currrent estate plan and how you have provided for your child at your death. If you believe that your child will require Medicaid or other governmental subsidies, also discuss a special needs trust.
6. Ask you child’s school counselor what “graduation” date has been tentatively scheduled for your child. This gives you an opportunity to make plans for additional training for education or employment.
7. If your child qualifies for Medicaid, put him or her on the waiting list for “Medicaid Waiver.” The list is long and while your child probably does not currently qualify, Medicaid waiver is needed for many residential, employment and day support programs.
8. Ask other family members if their estate plans include the possibility of any bequest coming to your child. If your child will be Medicaid eligible, the elegibility can be disturbed by gifts from grandparents, and others.
9. Call your local Community Trust (In Virginia Beach the telephone numbers are 757-437-6079 or 757-437-5778) and schedule a conference to determine if its “no fee” special needs trust is the right one for you.
10. EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE RIGHTS, NEEDS AND LAWS REGARDING DISABLED ADULTS. The internet is a valuable tool.
BONUS TIP Call our office with questions or concerns. An important part of our practice is devoted to offering a number of legal solutions to the questions parents have regarding their handicapped or disabled children. Those legal solutions include counseling, estate planning, planning and drafting, special powers of attorney, advance health cre directives (“living wills”) and if need be court document preparation and advocacy in court guardianship, guardianship and conservatorship, as well as social security/medicaid petitions and administrative proceedings.