All posts by familyvoicesco

Family Voices Colorado believes that parents of children with special health care needs should not be alone when they face the scary and confusing task of securing care for their children. Every day we give parents the information and strength they need to navigate complex health care systems in order to get things like wheelchairs, oxygen, or surgery for their children. With our help, parents are able to be the heroes their children are counting on.

COLORADO ABLE LAUNCHES SAVINGS PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Coloradans Achieving a Better Life Experience program helps families prepare for the future with tax-advantaged savings plans that preserve eligibility for public disability benefits.

Colorado ABLE, a new program that offers tax-advantaged savings plans for people living with disabilities, was officially launched today. ABLE savings accounts are designed to help persons with disabilities save for their futures and promote independence, while protecting their eligibility for public assistance programs.

Eligible individuals and their families may now save up to $100,000 through Colorado ABLE savings accounts, without affecting their eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public assistance.

Previously, accumulated assets of just $2,000 would trigger ineligibility for public assistance for people with disabilities, presenting an untenable choice for many families. As mandated by the national ABLE Act, the onset of disability must have occurred prior to 26 years of age.

Additionally, earnings gained in Colorado ABLE accounts are not considered taxable income on federal tax returns, as long as the funds are spent on qualified expenses as a result of a disability, such as education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, personal support services, health care, and other expenses which improve health, independence and quality of life. “The State of Colorado is proud to make this valuable resource available,” commented Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “Fostering independence and self-sustainability is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for everyone in Colorado.”

For detailed information about the program, please visit www.coloradoable.org.

 

 

Cures Act and Special Needs Trusts

Implications of the Cures Act for Special Needs Trusts

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Director Letter (SMDL) # 17-001 on the  21st Century Cures Act: Special Needs Trust. Section 5007 of the 21st Century Cures Act (the “Cures Act”), Pub. L. No. 114-255, supports the independence of individuals with disabilities by permitting them to set up a special needs trust on their own behalf, rather than having to rely on a third party to do so. Special needs trusts generally permit individuals living with disabilities who are under age 65 to set aside assets to meet their needs without impacting their eligibility for Medicaid. This letter provides guidance to states on the implications of section 5007 of the Cures Act, entitled “Fairness in Medicaid Supplemental Needs Trusts,” for individuals who have disabilities.

For more information on the letter issued today click here: https://www.medicaid.gov/federal-policy-guidance/downloads/smd17001.pdf

Back to School Tips for Students with Autism

From our partners at the Autism Society of Colorado. Thanks!

Greetings! 

As summer wraps up and students prepare to head back to school, here are some tips to help individuals with autism have a positive experience at the beginning of a new school year…

  1. Create and practice routines prior to the first day.Implementing routines for getting to school in the morning , emergency procedures, behavior plans and adjusting to the school calendar can help reduce anxiety and make your child feel more at ease before school starts.
  2. Contact teachers, principals, special education staff and occupational therapists in advance. Communicating your child’s strengths, weaknesses, possible sensory issues, dietary restrictions, and favorite reinforcers is key to starting of the school year on the same page. Utilizing teamwork like this will make the school year even more successful for your child.
  3. Practice incorporating sensory breaks every 5-20 minutes throughout the day.For those children on the spectrum who struggle from sensory overload, certain objects can offer a great deal of comfort.Make sure your son or daughter has a favorite sensory item available on the first day and at all other times.

Other quick and easy sensory breaks include:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Sitting on a therapy ball
  • Reading a book in a comfy chair
  • Chewing gum
  • Listening to music
  • Playing with toys
  • Swinging

www.autismcolorado.org