If You Have an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust Do You Need the Other?

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts serve different purposes but can be used together to give the beneficiary the most freedom and independence possible. An ABLE Account is a tool that was created by federal law (the same part of the tax code where we find 529 Education plans) to help people with disabilities save some money and be as … Read More

PBWS Attorney Named to Special Needs Alliance

PBWS Attorney Named to Special Needs Alliance Albuquerque, NM —  January 6, 2021 — Attorney Margaret A. “Peggy” Graham of the law firm of Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman and Sale, PC (PBWS Law) has been selected as the newest member of the Special Needs Alliance. Established in 2002, the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, non-profit collective of many of … Read More

Paying Family Members to Provide Care for Special Needs Individuals

The Special Needs Alliance recognizes, paying a relative to care for a family member with disabilities can solve several challenges. This solution allows the individual requiring care to remain at home, where they likely feel most comfortable. As The Caregiver Space observes, paying a family member also acknowledges the important work they do and compensates them for the financial sacrifices … Read More

Webinar: Special Needs Planning 2020 Update

On May 7, 2020, the attorneys of PBWS presented an update on Special Needs Planning, with a focus on: The ABLE Act IEPs special education Medicaid/Medicare the SECURE Act family law If you missed the Webinar, you can access it here. You will need to register with your name and email address and use password 9U#A2t55. If you would like … Read More

What is the DD Waiver and Why Does it Matter for Special Needs Families?

The DD Waiver is the Developmentally Disabled Waiver in New Mexico. It is a Medicaid program that provides services to qualifying individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Often people ask what the “waiver” part means. One of the qualifying questions for the DD Waiver is whether the individual would otherwise qualify for nursing home level of care (NHLOC). If so, … Read More

Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar 2018 Video and Handouts (April 11, 2018)

The Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The seminar was hosted at the New Mexico Society of CPAs from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Presented by: Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC (PBWS) Zia Trust, Inc. The Arc of New Mexico ARCA Presentors: Elaine Solimon, Community Relations Director of ARCA Bridget … Read More

Serving the Public Good

Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to provide pro bono services to indigent or other deserving clients.  Rule 16-601 says that a lawyer should aspire to at least 50 pro bono publico (“for the public good”) legal services per year.  “For the public good” means undertaking professional work voluntarily and without payment. Recently in Albuquerque, the guardianship and conservatorship community was … Read More

3 Simple Tips for Enjoying the Holidays with Special Needs Kids

Tis the Season- Holidays can be a stressful time in general, but particularly for children with a disability such as autism, Asperger’s or a sensory processing disorder. All of the hyped-up energy, excitement and new adventures is multiplied by ten for them, and can be really difficult to handle. I have seen how the holidays can overwhelm my typically developing … Read More

7 Things You Don’t Know About a Special Needs Parent

About 6 million kids in America receive special education, according to the U.S. Department of Education. One out of every 10 children under the age of 14 has some type of special need, which includes any physical, cognitive, or medical disability, or chronic or life-threatening illness. Raising a child with any disorder, condition or special need, is both a blessing … Read More

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (SNTFA)

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (SNTFA) was signed into law by President Obama, after being approved by the House and Senate, in 2016. While Special Needs Trusts have been since the Omnibus Reconciliation Act was passed in 1993, there was an oversight when the Act was drafted. Before the SNTFA was signed into law, individuals with disabilities who had … Read More

Special Needs Children – Know the Types and Know Your Rights

18.5% of American Children under age 18 are Special Needs Children.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart, talented or capable.  Just that they have specific challenges that a “normal” student would not face. There are four major types of special needs children: Physical – muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma, epilepsy, etc. Developmental – down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing … Read More

Is There an Age Limit for Special Needs Trusts?

As usual, the answer is, it depends. Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) are a way to save money for disabled persons that do not risk a person’s eligibility for government funded programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are three (3) types of Special Needs Trusts. They are: Self-Settled Special Needs Trust Third-Party Special Needs Trust and Pooled … Read More

Moving to a New State Can Get Complicated

Posted on July 5, 2016 by The Arc. To read the original article, please click HERE.  By Wendy H. Sheinberg, CELA written for The Arc in partnership with the Special Needs Alliance.  Moving to another state is a challenge for most families. If a family member has disabilities, that challenge is even greater. State benefit programs vary, and states administer federal programs at … Read More

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: 3 Ways to Recognize, Celebrate, and Support People with Special Needs

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! While many advances have been made for people with developmental disabilities, there is still a long road ahead. In the Special Needs Alliance article, Robert B. Fleming, discusses advances and setbacks surrounding developmentally disabled people from 1987 to present. How can we recognize, celebrate, and help support those with Developmental Disabilities? Here are a … Read More

How 529 Plans are Opening Doors to the Disabled

When you think of a 529 plan, you probably think of the 529 college-savings plan. Well, there’s a new 529 plan available now – the 529 ABLE (“Achieving a Better Life Experience”) account. The 529 ABLE account will provide eligible disabled people a savings vehicle that offers the same tax-free growth as a 529 college-savings plan provides. In December 2014, … Read More

Q & A About Guardianship and Conservatorship

What is Guardianship? The court approved process of appointing a person or agency to act on behalf of an incapacitated adult who is unable to manage some or all aspects of his or her care. What is Conservatorship? The court approved process of appointing a person or agency to manage the financial affairs of an incapacitated adult who is unable … Read More

ABLE Act for New Mexico

In December, 2014, Congress passed the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (“ABLE”). The federal law amends Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code as a new Section 529A. Only people whose disability was established prior to age 26 can open an ABLE account. Anyone can contribute to an ABLE account, but the total of all contributions … Read More

Summary of the 2015 Legislative Report and ABLE Act

In our firm, we work with many families that include people with disabilities, and disability issues rank high on our list of top priorities. We like to keep an eye out for laws that pertain to disability issues to keep our clients informed about how it may affect them or their loved ones. Here is brief recap of the Disability … Read More

Planning for Your Special Needs Child – Surviving Your Child’s IEP Meeting

Your child has been evaluated and determined to be in need of special educations service.  Now you’ve been informed that there will be an IEP meeting for your child.  This notification must be provided to you in writing and in advance of the planned meeting.  Usually the school will provide you with a date and time for the meeting.  If … Read More

Special Needs Resources – A Parents Best Friend

There are many resources available for parents help their special needs children in many areas. There are resources for obtaining equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, adaptive strollers, car seats, swings, high chairs and more.  There are resources for obtaining therapies and various specialized medical services.  There are resources for adaptive activities and entertainment such as bowling, horseback riding, kayaking, soccer, … Read More

Special Needs Planning – For You and Your Child

Just like parenting a typically developing child, parenting a Special Needs Child is full of challenges and rewards.  Milestones are anticipated and often met, but many times much later than the typical age and often with much therapy, intervention and work.  While there are many books and articles about parenting children with various special needs, every child is different and … Read More

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Opportunities and Misconceptions March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Owing to parent advocacy and landmark legislation, communities have become significantly more responsive to the needs of people such as my daughter, Emily, who has cerebral palsy and autism. But challenges remain, and families continue to band together throughout the U.S. to help one another, increase general understanding, and lobby for … Read More

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts can enhance the lives of disabled individuals that receive Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The purpose of the trust is to improve the quality of the beneficiary’s life without disqualifying him or her from public benefits. The rules for administration of a special needs trust and the form of the trust agreement itself vary depending upon … Read More

Nell Graham Sale helps the Special Needs Alliance

We learned about Paws and Stripes when they received an award for best new nonprofit in 2013. They have been in business since 2010 in Albuquerque. We need to recognize the number of disabled veterans that have returned from the two wars of the last decade, and understand that even though they are soldiers, they encounter the same obstacles that … Read More

The Special Needs Alliance

I attended a spring “boot camp” of the Special Needs Alliance last weekend.  I have been a member of this organization since 2002.  It is an invitation-only professional organization of lawyers who have expertise in planning with families who have disabled family members.  These lawyers are a reliable place to start when a family needs to know about trusts, Medicaid … Read More