Law Offices of Elizabeth L. Gray

Wills, Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Powers of Attorneys, Advance Medical Directives, protect assets while qualifying individuals for public benefits.

12/15/2023

I am delighted (and pleasantly surprised) that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced today an additional $300 million over the biennium to fund priority one waiver slots for adults with developmental disabilities.

What is this all about? What are the priority one waiver slots? For disabled adults to live independently at home and avoid facilities or institutions, Virginia's Medicaid program has a Home and Community-Based Developmental Disability Waiver (DD waiver). This DD waiver provides disabled adults with necessary services and supports so the individual has the ability to live at home and with a better quality of life. The problem is that the waivers are never funded enough to cover all the disabled individuals on the priority one list. Priority one individuals are those who urgently need the services and supports offered by the waiver within a year or less. Virginia has a lengthy wait list for priority one waivers (I am not mentioning lower priority waivers with even longer waitlists).

Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) Commissioner Nelson Smith said “Waiting for urgently needed help on a long list is unacceptable – we are working hard to get these families the help they desperately need.”

In today’s press release, Governor Glenn Youngkin said “One year ago, I promised to enhance our support for Virginians with developmental disabilities and their families. Today, I am proud to announce we are one step closer to the goal of providing enough priority one slots for everyone in urgent need of services by the end of my term. Through these improvements, we are giving Virginians with disabilities the supports and services they need to live their best lives in their communities.”

This is GREAT NEWS!

Special Needs Alliance

12/21/2021

Thank you for your business, client referrals and friendship throughout the year – wishing you all the best for 2022!

12/02/2021

McCandlish Lillard is pleased to announce that 16 of its attorneys have been recognized by Virginia Business magazine as being among Virginia’s “Legal Elite.” Virginia Business magazine awards the “Legal Elite” designation from a survey of thousands of Virginia lawyers conducted in conjunction with the Virginia Bar Association. This year’s list appears in the magazine’s December edition, which was just released. https://lnkd.in/d-mtTsDx

08/07/2021

Hound Dog Day - 6 months from Ground Hog Day! If the hound dog drinks from his water bowl = 6 more weeks of summer!

Breaking Hound Dog Day News!

Wilson, the hound, just lumbered out from under his porch. He looked around his yard and decided he was thirsty. Wilson lapped up his water. So, we will have 6 more weeks of summer and hot weather!

06/17/2021

New Bill Introduction!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515
June 17, 2021

WYDEN, CASSIDY: ALLOW AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES TO WORK WITHOUT WORRY
Bipartisan Bill Ensures American with Disabilities Will Not Lose Social Security Benefits for Working

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., today introduced legislation to remove a Social Security work disincentive for Americans with disabilities. The Work Without Worry Act would allow Americans with disabilities to work to their full potential without causing them to lose out on higher Social Security benefits.

“All Americans who wish to work should be able to without disadvantaging themselves in the future,” Wyden said. “Americans with disabilities and their families rely on Social Security’s earned benefits. This bill lets families know that working – not matter how long or at what level of earnings – will not mean their child with a disability will lose out on a higher Social Security benefit in the future.”

“Government should encourage work. Americans with disabilities deserve the freedom to work without worry to secure their own financial future,” said Dr. Cassidy.

If an adult has a severe medical condition that began before age 22, they may be eligible for a Social Security benefit called the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefit. Their benefits are based on their parent’s Social Security earnings, in the same way that benefits of a child under age 18 would be. However, under current law some of these young adults fear that if they try to work they will lose future DAC benefits, which are often higher than any benefit they may qualify on their own. This fear inhibits the ability of Americans with disabilities to explore their ability to work as they transition to adult life.

The Work Without Worry Act promotes financial security by ensuring that any earnings from work – no matter how much – will not prevent an individual from receiving a Social Security DAC benefit from their parent’s work history if they have an eligible medical condition that began before age 22. This bill treats all individuals with severe medical conditions that began before age 22 the same – no matter when their parents claim Social Security benefits. This change is estimated to increase Social Security benefits by $100 million and improve the lives of nearly 2,000 individuals with disabilities over the next 10 years.

Additional original co-sponsors include Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., Pat Leahy, D-Vt., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Bob Casey, D-Pa. The House of Representatives introduced a companion bill today, led by Congressman John Larson, D-Conn.

A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.

Legislative text can be found here.

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