You Know You’re thinking about it: Legal Planning & Disability
April 7, 2021
Podcast: You Know You’re thinking about it: Legal Planning & Disability
Attorney Dan Blauw obtained his undergraduate degree from Hope College in 1977 and his law degree from Valparaiso University in 1980. He worked in the world of nonprofit organizations for almost 20 years, including Legal Aid of Western Michigan, the Arc of Kent County (an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities), and Hope Network. Much of his work involved disability appeals, public benefits, and creative housing for people with special needs.
Dan saw the need to create a small, approachable law firm to assist families dealing with severe disability and, in 1999, started his own practice. For almost 20 years, Dan has advised clients on issues such as applying for and appealing denials of Social Security and SSI benefits, the pros and cons of court-ordered guardianships and alternatives to guardianship, and estate planning that maximizes both private funds and public benefits.
Since the formation of his firm, Dan has represented over 2,500 families in West Michigan and beyond. His style is to simplify and de-mystify some of the most common legal questions faced by families dealing with disability and to assist them however possible in solving problems and preparing for the future. Currently, Dan is serving as the pooled trust representative for the Hope Network Foundation Pooled Trust and is working on a number of creative, supportive housing ventures. Dan and his wife live in the Grand Rapids area and have three adult children, and two new grandchildren
- Legal Planning for a Young Person with Disabilities
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Social Security ACRONYMS
SSI: Supplemental Security Income Supplemental Security Income is a means-tested program that provides cash payments to disabled children, disabled adults, and individuals aged 65 or older who are citizens or nationals of the United States.
SSDI: Social Security Disability Income Social Security Disability Insurance is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability.
DAC: Disabled Adult Child For the purposes of Social Security disability benefits, an “adult child” is: a disabled person over the age of 18. who became disabled before the age of 22. and draws disability benefits as a survivor or dependent under the work record of a parent or guardian.
SGA: Substantial Gainful Activity Substantial gainful activity is a term used in the United States by the Social Security Administration. Being incapable of substantial gainful employment is one of the criteria for eligibility for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
IRWE: Impairment Related Work Expenses Impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE) are costs for items or services that you need in order to work because of your disability. Social Security will deduct the costs of an IRWE from your countable income when determining your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
TWP: Trial Work Period The “trial work period” is a nine-month state of grace given by the Social Security Administration to any disability benefits recipient who wants to attempt re-entry to the work force. A disability benefits recipient has nine months of trial work period in each period of 60 months
EPE: Extended Period of Eligibility The 36-month time period in which your Social Security Disability benefits may be stopped and re-started without requiring a new disability determination by the Social Security Administration.
Re-Entitlement Period: If your income falls again below the SSI income limit within five years, you can have your benefits restarted by applying for expedited reinstatement. After this five-year period is up, you must file a brand new application for benefits to re-enter the disability system.
EIE: Earned Income Exclusion https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/incomexcluded.html
SEIE: Student Earned Income Exclusion This provision allows a person who is under age 22 and regularly attending school to exclude earnings from income. In January 2020 the amount we could exclude was $1,900 monthly up to a yearly maximum of $7,670.
Section 1619(a): work incentive allows you to have earned income over the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount without losing your continuing eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify for this work incentive, you must:
- Have been eligible for and received an SSI payment based on disability for at least 1 month before you began working at the SGA level;
- Still be disabled; and
- Meet all other eligibility rules, including the income and resources
Section 1619(b): allows individuals who are eligible for SSI to continue to be eligible for Medicaid coverage when their earnings are too high to continue to receive SSI. This work incentive applies to individuals whose earnings are below Kentucky’s threshold (currently $31,106.00 in 2020).
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