Planning for Life

Protecting the Rights of Massachusetts Voters with Disabilities

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on October 19, 2018

By Rebecca J. Benson


About 35 million eligible voters in the U.S. have a disability – close to one in six. Although voting is one of the most fundamental rights granted to American citizens, nearly a third of voters with disabilities reported facing obstacles to voting in the 2012 election, including difficulties with physical access to the polling place, reading the ballot or operating the voting machine.

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Topics: disability, voting rights

Caregivers Overwhelmed, Survey Reports

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 19, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis


The results of an on-line survey released by The Arc and the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration reports caregivers are overwhelmed by the demands of caring for loved ones. The Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Community Report is a bit skewed statistically both due to its on-line nature and its sponsorship by a disability, rather than an elder care organization, but its results are still quite instructive, if not surprising.

Stress on Caregivers

Here are some of the Report's findings:

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Topics: family caregiving, disability, Caregivers

Your Must-Have Checklist if You Need Guardianship When Your Child with Special Needs Turns 18

Posted by Rebecca J Benson on January 30, 2018


By Rebecca J. Benson

Every child automatically becomes an “adult” in the eyes of the law as soon as the child turns 18 – an unnerving thought for many parents.  Parents of a special needs child need to consider whether their child will need a legal guardian, even after turning 18.  Our comprehensive “how-to” checklist will help you determine whether guardianship is needed and outline the steps for obtaining the necessary Massachusetts court appointment:

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Topics: guardianship, special needs planning, disability, Special Needs Child, proxy

“I’d be Honored”: Paving the Way  For Your Special Needs Trustee - Preparing a Memorandum of Intent

Posted by Karen B. Mariscal on October 26, 2017

iStock-587221754.jpgWhen our autistic son was 8 years old, he was a holy terror.  That was true when he was younger than 8 and older than 8 (he settled down around the time of puberty, for which I am eternally grateful), but I am focusing on age 8 right now. We had two younger boys as well, then ages 5 and 4.  So when I asked my sister Laura whether she would be the guardian of our children, and take over if something happened to my husband and me, it was with great trepidation.  Laura knew full well what was going on in our house, and how difficult a request I was making.  She responded, without hesitation, “I’d be honored.”  I have tears in my eyes as I write this, as it never fails to get to me, even 17 years later.

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Topics: trusts, special needs planning, Intellectually Disabled, autism, disability, Special Needs Child, Caregivers, Special Needs Trust

Philadelphia Franklin Institute has Egg on its Face in Disability Lawsuit

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 11, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Michael Anderson, a 35-year-old quadripalegic man who needs the assistance of a personal care attendant (PCA), asked the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia's science museum, to waive the entrance fee for his PCA. They refused. When he ultimately brought suit, the Franklin Institute, which was originally funded by Benjamin Franklin, moved to dismiss the case arguing that Anderson had no claim under the Americans with Disability Act (the ADA). This left the federal judge who ruled in Anderson's favor entirely perplexed:

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Topics: disability

Little-Known Social Security Benefit for Parents of Disabled Children

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on May 17, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

One of our clients recently brought to our attention a Social Security benefit that was news to us. He and his wife care for their adult daughter with a disability in their home. Our client retired and began receiving Social Security benefits. As a result, his daughter was able to drop her Supplemental Security Income and switch over to Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), a much better benefit for a number of reasons.

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Topics: social security, disability

Exciting New Proposal to Help With Housing for Elderly and Disabled in Massachusetts

Posted by Elizabeth Stepakoff on January 25, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

Given the cost of living in Massachusetts, we need to think creatively about how to make sure the elderly and disabled can afford to stay in their home communities, close to their families.  Encouragingly, a bill has been introduced in the State House to create the Disabled and Elderly Accessory Apartment Loan Program, which would allow a homeowner to take out a low-cost loan from the state to create an accessory apartment of up to two bedrooms, provided a person with a disability or a senior citizen residesin the new unit or in the original part of the home.

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Topics: seniors, housing policy ,, disability

Steinberg Laments Lack of Wheelchair Access in Boston

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 25, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

In an article in The Boston Globe Magazine attorney Carol R. Steinberg asks Boston and Massachusetts to get real about making their sidewalks and businesses accessible. Due to her multiple sclerosis, Steinberg must use a wheelchair to get around. Her family recently vacationed in Barcelona where she had no trouble navigating the streets and tourist destinations, in large part due to changes it put in place when it hosted the 1992 summer Olympics.

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Topics: the accessible home, disability

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