Planning for Life

Department of Developmental Services

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on November 21, 2014

Some parents of disabled children are alarmed by the Department of Developmental Service’s proposed new housing policy, issued on September 2nd that would eliminate the policy is not yet final -- hearings are scheduled on November 6 and 12, with time and location to be announced – but there is no doubt that significant change is in the air.   

The policy, entitled “Home and Community Based Settings Policy,” follows on the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)’s new requirements for community service settings, both residential and day, which became effective on March 17, 2014.  The spirit behind the new law is very good – disabled people should not be isolated in an institutional setting, away from the rest of us, but rather live among us.  Under the DDS proposal, it would no longer fund:

  • Settings that have limited, if any, interaction with the broader community;
  • Settings that use or authorize restrictions that are used in institutional settings;
  • Farmsteads or disability-specific farm community;
  • Gated or secured communities for people with disabilities;
  • Settings that are part of or adjacent to a residential school;
  • Multiple settings co-located and operationally-related that congregate a large number of people with disabilities for significant shared programming and staff, and
  • Multiple settings on a single site or in close proximity.
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Topics: 2014, Specialized Housing,, department of developmental studies,, housing policy ,

7 Ways a Donor Advised Fund Can Help Your Charitable Giving

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 11, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

Donor advised funds are charitable foundations that commit to following the advice of donors in distributing their accounts to charities. Many community foundations, such as The Boston Foundation, manage donor advised funds for their contributors. The contributor takes the charitable tax deduction in the year she contributes to the fund even though she may not pass the funds on to charities for several years. Some have questioned this as a public policy matter, but it has certain benefits for the donor.

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Topics: charitable contributions

Premium Assistance from MassHealth for Private Health Insurance

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on November 10, 2014

It seems that very few parents of intellectually disabled adult children aged 18-26 know about the MassHealth Standard/CommonHealth Premium Assistance Program, which can provide meaningful financial assistance to those who qualify.

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Topics: masshealth, private insurance,

Are We Elder Law or Elder Care Attorneys?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 4, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

Since the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) was founded more than 25 years ago, lawyers who work with seniors have been trying to brand themselves as "elder law" attorneys. Despite this effort, more and more often I hear us referred to as "elder care" attorneys. "Elder law attorneys" still gets almost four times as many results in Google than "elder care attorneys," but that doesn't seem like a lot when there has been no effort made to promote the second term, though the results overlap significantly.

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Topics: elder care law, elder law

Attending The Lion King with my Autistic Son

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on October 29, 2014

Something incredible happened on Saturday.  Billy and I were ableson,dad,mom to attend one of the best shows ever produced, without any worry that his rocking or singing would disturb anyone.  In fact every other person in the audience seemed to be rocking or talking or singing or clapping or standing up at inopportune times – Autism Speaks sponsored a show just for people on the autism spectrum.  And what a show it was.  I cried at the opening Circle of Life, which is so overwhelming anyway with elephants and zebras coming down the aisles. I looked at the mom next to me, who also had a young adult son with her, and she was crying too.  To think that we could have our 20-something sons finally attend a Broadway show was just too much.

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Topics: special needs

MassHealth Trust Database On Line

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 28, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: MassHealth appeal, irrevocable trusts

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish on Professional Fees?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 21, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: legal fees

But Not All MassHealth Trust Cases Go the Right Way

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 14, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: irrevocable income-only trusts

MassHealth Reversed in Another Trust Case

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 10, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: MassHealth appeal, masshealth, irrevocable income-only trusts, O'Leary v. Thorn

10 Questions to Answer Before Moving In

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 10, 2014

It's not just recent college grads moving back in with their parents. So are older children. And more parents are moving in with their kids. This is happening for financial reasons -- two or more can live more cheaply than one -- and in many cases for the children to provide care and companionship to the parents in their later years.

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