Individuals with special needs, and those who are entrusted with their care, spend an enormous amount of time exploring programs, benefits, and government services. This process can be overwhelming. Simply understanding what your child qualifies for, then navigating the special education, public entitlement, or social service systems, may be difficult for families. Having both personal and professional experience in dealing with special needs, our New York special needs planning and special education advocacy attorneys are well positioned to advise and assist your family.
Consider the case of the family whose school district was unable to address their daughter’s specific educational needs. The family found it difficult to work with their local school district to locate an appropriate educational program for their daughter. In the meantime, their daughter struggled in school. After her family contacted our New York special education advocacy attorneys, we filed for a request for an impartial hearing. Our New York special education advocacy attorneys represented the family and ultimately were able to secure an appropriate placement, where their daughter is thriving. The family recognized the value of having a strong advocate on their side. Without the proper guidance, the family could have become lost in the special education system.
Protection of Public Benefits
Or consider the child with special needs who had received a settlement in a medical malpractice case. The family lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment in a dangerous neighborhood. The mother, desperate to provide a better quality of life for her daughter, contacted our office to seek advice. Our New York special needs planning attorneys were able to gain approval for the parents to use those funds to purchase a home for her, while preserving eligibility for all public benefits.
Families may not realize that when children reach the age of 18 in New York State, they become legally emancipated adults. Children with disabilities are no different. For some young adults with severe disabilities, it is important that a guardian be appointed to take charge of making decisions on the child’s behalf.
Our New York special needs planning attorneys recently worked with a family whose twin children with severe medical needs were turning 18 and clearly needed their parents to continue to care for them. The family was overwhelmed with their care and needed assistance with obtaining guardianship of their children. One child had a medical crisis and the mother lacked the necessary guardianship papers to make appropriate medical decisions. We met with the family, obtained all information needed to petition the Surrogate Court for a 17A guardianship, prepared the petition and appeared in court on behalf of the family. As a result of our efforts, the family could concentrate on the everyday care of their children and continue to make medical, financial, and other decisions to ensure that the children were cared for after their 18th birthday.
Finally, consider the much more common case of a family who asked what we could do to ensure a quality lifestyle for their child with special needs. Working with a financial planner and a service coordinator, our special needs planning attorneys developed a holistic life plan that protected the family’s assets and access to public benefits for their child. Without this plan, the child might not have been able to access appropriate services. Our New York special needs planning attorneys were able to prepare a special needs trust that will provide the financial foundation necessary for their child to lead a comfortable life.
Regardless of your family’s situation, our New York special needs planning and special education advocacy attorneys have the experience, qualifications, and dedication to help you and your child. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.