REISMAN & GRAN LLC
Watching family members with disabilties struggle through life is difficult. You want to help them succeed but you are not sure how you can help. You reach out to your local school district for support, only to be told that everything is fine in school. You reach out to state agencies for other supports, but do not get a response. You name your family member as a beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, but you are then advised that was not right either.
With over 96 years of combined experience almost exclusively in advocating for individuals with disabilities, Freeman Carolla Reisman & Gran LLC is able to rely on personal and professional expertise to provide a one stop shop to assist you in navigating this process at every stage of life. We do the work for you so you can spend more time enjoying each other instead of trying to make sense of it all.
School districts have a legal obligation to ensure that all students with disabilities who reside in their locale are properly identified, evaluated and provided with the necessary supports to enable them to make meaningful progress in their education program. This usually consists of developing an individualized education plan ("IEP") or Section 504 accommodation plan ("Section 504 plan") designed to help students make and maintain progress toward their social, emotional and academic goals across environments, from early intervention through high school.
The obligations of post-secondary institutions in special education are quite different from the local high schools. Students are no longer identified as a student who may need extra assistance; they must bring their disability to the attention of the college boards or universities. Upon doing so, individuals with disabilities are entitled to those accommodations that "level the playing field" or close the barriers to success. These requirements apply to the classroom, standardized assessments and the workplace.
As children with more severe disabilities transition into adulthood, it is vital to put the tools and supports in place to enable loved ones to live independent, healthy and happy lives to the extent they are able. While there are often waitlists, these services can be provided by state agencies at no cost to families. For this reason, it is important to be proactive and start this process as soon as possible to ensure the services are in place when needed.
Children are legally considered adults when they reach the age of majority which is usually at 18 years of age. With limited exceptions, this means that they are free to act on their own accord without regard to the severity of their disability. In order to continue making decisions for him or her, it is important that the caretaker apply for guardianship to the Court.
With certain exceptions, individuals with mental illness, developmental and/or cognitive disabilities will only be eligible for SSI and/or Medicaid benefits if their resources are below $2000. For this reason, it is important to review your Will to ensure it is not designed in such a way that will jeopardize these entitlements after your death. Through the use of a Special Needs Trust however, caretakers can leave assets to the individual with special needs to ensure they are well cared for later in life.
People with disabilities and their families often have a right to access health insurance coverage to pay for many types of medical and mental health services. In fact, health insurance can be a key resource that can close funding gaps between the services parents want to provide their child and what is actually negotiated with a school district or allowed under state and federal programs. It is important that families: identify whether they have insurance coverage for the relevant therapy or treatment; submit claims timely; and use proper diagnosis and treatment codes on their claims. When claims are denied, delayed or underpaid, it is even more important to determine the basis of such discrepancies and respond with sufficient documentation that will support a successful and timely appeal.
Freeman Carolla Reisman & Gran LLC is committed to providing critical information about the rights of children and adults with disabilities to groups throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania upon request.
Call to schedule a consultation today by calling (888) 383-3037 or visit one of our office locations nearest you.
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