NAELA Commends Congressman Moran and Sen. Hagan for Their Dedication to Improving the Lives of Military Families with Disabled Children

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Moran and Hagan Introduce the Bicameral Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2013

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Our nation’s veterans deserve the right to adequately plan for their disabled children’s long-term care needs and we applaud Congressman Moran and Sen. Hagan for introducing this bill that would make this necessary change in the law.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys strongly endorsed Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) for introducing the Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2013 (S.1076 and H.R. 2249). This bill would allow more than 1,000 severely disabled military dependents to receive survivor benefits through a special needs trust without fear of losing access to their Medicaid or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Disabled Military Child Protection Act will help the disabled children of veterans receive the necessary long-term care they deserve.

Currently, if a military retiree chooses to leave his or her Survivor Benefit Plan to their disabled child, the veteran must leave the benefit directly to the child. This will likely render the disabled child ineligible for the much needed long-term care benefits that they already receive. The Disabled Military Child Protection Act will allow the veteran to transfer his or her benefits to a special needs trust, thus allowing the disabled child to remain eligible for long-term care benefits.

NAELA members walked the halls of Congress in April and met with Congressional offices to voice their strong support for this legislation. “As Elder and Special Needs Law attorneys, we see clients who would greatly benefit from this law on a regular basis. Our nation’s veterans deserve the right to adequately plan for their disabled children’s long-term care needs and we applaud Congressman Moran and Sen. Hagan for introducing this bill that would make this necessary change in the law,” said NAELA President Howard S. Krooks, CELA, CAP.

Michael Amoruso, Chair of NAELA’s Public Policy Committee, stated that “care for a disabled child can exceed $100,000 a year. The Disabled Military Child Protection Act will allow military families to use a special needs trust, a common long-term care planning tool for individuals with disabilities that are currently used by non-military families. Veterans must be afforded the same opportunities as other Americans to plan for the challenging and expensive long-term care needs of their disabled child.”

Success of this bill is one of NAELA’s top public policy priorities for the 113th Congress. The American Bar Association and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities also have supported this bill.

About NAELA
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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