The waitlist for Placer County’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps low-income individuals and families who are struggling to pay rent by providing rental subsidies, will open Oct. 30. From 9 a.m. on Oct. 30 until the waitlist closes at noon on Nov. 9, 2017, qualified residents can complete a pre-application online at www.waitlistcheck.com/CA377 . Then, a computer-generated lottery will be run and 500 applicants will be placed on the waiting list. Income verification will also be required. The pre-application is available in English and Spanish. More information on eligibility requirements can be found here. “With rents skyrocketing, many families are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. This program is in high demand, and it’s rare that we can open up the waiting list — so we strongly encourage eligible residents to take advantage of this limited-time opportunity while they can,” said Human Services Director Linda Bridgman. More than half of Placer County residents who rent spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and provides a monthly rental subsidy to qualified very low-income households to help make their rent payments. There is limited assistance available. The last time the waiting list opened was in 2014. Paper applications will not be accepted, so residents should seek assistance using a computer if needed. Those with disabilities can contact the Placer County Housing Authority in writing prior to the deadline to request reasonable accommodation for assistance with the application process. There is no charge to apply. Applicants who live or work in Placer County’s jurisdiction — excluding the City of Roseville, which has its own voucher program — or who are elderly, disabled, a low-income family, a veteran or homeless and participating in transitional housing or shelter programs or fleeing a domestic violence situation will receive preference when determining waiting list order. As long as an application is submitted within the open period, the submittal time will not affect waiting list order. Applicants can check to see if they were selected for the waitlist after Dec. 10 at www.waitlistcheck.com . For more information, call 530-889-7676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, attorneys Margaret Heiser Fulton and Ashley Clower attended the 13th Annual Disability Capitol Action Day which was hosted by the Disability Action Coalition. The event is one of California’s largest disability events. There was an educational rally focused on health care and current policy issues impacting people with disabilities. Also, there was a solidarity march to the California State Capitol where persons with disabilities and allies were encouraged to visit with their local legislators. Robinson & Fulton Law had a booth at the Disability Community Resource Fair. It was a gorgeous day and it was amazing to see the community in action for persons with disabilities.
I attended the very informative 10th Annual Developmental Disabilities Public Policy Conference sponsored by The Arc of California and United Cerebral Palsy. The conference was held March 26 through March 28, 2017, in Sacramento, California. The first agenda item was a discussion from the Lanterman Coalition 2017 on their policy issues, including rates for service providers, and possible changes which would be brought about by repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc of the United States, discussed what is at stake and where things stand with the new Congress and the new Administration. Thomas Coleman, the Legal Director of the Spectrum Institute, provided substantial information on supported decision-making, which provides more independence for people with disabilities. John Ariale, the principal drafter of the ABLE Act, discussed its current provisions and also discussed possible future legislation involving ABLE. Christina Elliott, Executive Director of the CalABLE Board, discussed the proposed ABLE program in California. Scott Graves, Director of Research, California Budget & Policy Center, spoke on the current California budget and programs for persons with disabilities. A presentation was made on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Federal and State activities that may impact IHSS consumers and providers. A final program on employment issues for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities was presented by Joe Xavier, Director of the Department of Rehabilitation, and several others.
The program also included an ABLE Act intensive training session for attorneys and private fiduciaries. This special breakout session explored the ABLE Act and housing, the ABLE Act and divorce, and the ABLE Act and structured settlements. I was a presenter in this session. The entire program provided an excellent review of public policy issues impacting persons with disabilities.
There has been much discussion about the recent legislation involving the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. For a discussion of ABLE accounts, please scroll down to read about the ABLE Act.
ABLE accounts are an incredible resource for persons with a disability. ABLE accounts are a great tool to use in conjunction with special needs trusts. However, ABLE accounts are not always a replacement for special needs trusts. Each person has his or her own individual needs and that person’s situation needs to be assessed to determine what will work best for the person with special needs and his or her family.
This chart is here to assist you in understanding the important differences between an ABLE account and a third party special needs trust.
You can view and print this chart here: ABLE Account compared with SNT (edited March 2017)
|Issues||ABLE Account||Third Party Special Needs Trust|
|Who can use?||Only persons disabled before age 26||Any person with a disability|
|Who can fund?||Anyone, including person with a disability||
Anyone, including person with a disability IF (s)he has capacity
|How many can person have?||One||Unlimited|
|Who can control?||Person with a disability and likely their legal guardian, conservator, or agent||Anyone except the person with a disability and their spouse|
|Who inherits on death of person with disability?||Medi-Cal must be repaid for amounts paid by Medi-Cal after the creation of the ABLE account; then can go to heirs||Person with a disability’s heirs or whomever is named in document|
|How much can be funded in a year?||$14,000 (or annual gift exemption)||Unlimited|
|Is funding gift-tax free?||Yes||No, but no gift tax will be paid until the donor has given more than $5 million (indexed to inflation)|
|Is there a cap on how much can be in account?||Yes, currently $100,000 limitation for SSI recipients and up to State 529-plan limitations ($475,000 in CA)||No|
|How is income taxed?||No income tax||Taxed as a non-grantor trust at highest marginal tax rate|
|What type of distributions can be made?||Distributions can be made for “qualified disability expenses” such as housing transportation, assistive technology and more||No limitation, except for certain disbursements, such as for housing, may reduce or eliminate SSI or Medi-Cal eligibility|
February 17, 2017 – February 18, 2017
Attorneys Margaret Heiser Fulton and Ashley Clower attended the Special Needs Symposium held in Santa Rosa, CA. This two-day event was dedicated to the education of the professionals who plan for persons with disabilities and administer special needs trusts. The seminar was packed with information, presented by leading experts who discussed legal issues, nursing and care issues, public benefits and financial issues. Attorneys, professional fiduciaries, financial planners and families of persons with disabilities were in attendance.
Some of the sessions included: Obtaining and Evaluating Health Care Coverage for Persons with Disabilities; Advocating for Regional Center Services for Clients with Developmental Disabilities; Navigating the SSA Programs of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Childhood Disabled Beneficiary (CDB) Benefits for Special Needs Trust Beneficiaries; Putting Together the Public Benefits Puzzle for Special Needs Trust Beneficiaries; Creating Systems to Properly Administer Special Needs Trusts; Properly Paying for Housing for a Special Needs Trust Beneficiary and Avoiding Unintended Consequences; Properly Paying Caregivers for Special Needs Trust Beneficiaries; and Protecting the Special Needs Trustee when Dealing with Courts, Public Benefit Agencies and Families.
It was a valuable experience to hear from those persons who are “in the trenches”. It was a great networking opportunity to expand our connections so that we can provide our clients options for creating the best team necessary for their loved ones with special needs.