Issues To Consider Regarding Guardianship And Supported Decision-Making

BY HUGO DWYER & VOR’S COMMITTEE ON GUARDIANSHIP RIGHTS Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their parents, family members and guardians may have heard about Supported Decision-Making (SDM), an initiative that could affect their decision-making rights. Some see SDM as an alternative to guardianship, while others view it as an attempt to remove the legal instrument that provides a safety net for vulnerable individuals. VOR is a national organization that advocates for high […]

Caregiving, Finances, and Disability Insurance

In 2015, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and Easter Seals collaborated on Easter Seals Many Faces of Caregiving Study1, a study of caregivers2 in America. Financial impact topped the list of caregiver concerns, and the study found that 91% of caregivers are unpaid. That’s not an unusual statistic when you consider most caregivers are family members. But when family finances are a major concern, supplementing income or creating a good financial strategy to better […]

When Your Child Becomes an Adult: Practical Solutions to Potential Problems

When a child who has special needs becomes a legal adult (18 years old in most states), a parent is no longer recognized as a person who can make decisions for that child. If your child is two to three years or less from this significant birthday, this is the time to evaluate your situation. What changes? What’s at risk? “Depending on your child’s level of self-care and decision-making abilities, leaving your child to make […]

Recent Military Retirement Benefits Law Reform is a Much Anticipated and Welcomed Change

The Disabled Military Child Protection Act, signed into law by President Obama in December, 2014, changed the law affecting retirement benefits for military personnel – and opened the door to improving the financial futures for military dependents with special needs. No longer an either/or choice Before this legislative change, a military parent, through his or her military retirement plan, could provide survivor benefits for a child with special needs. It could supplement the child’s income, […]

What type of Insurance should I Buy?

BY ROBERT WRUBEL, CFP®, AIF® WE SHOULD USE LIFE INSURANCE TO COVER POTENTIAL LOSSES AT THOSE TIMES WHERE THE LOSSES ARE OTHERWISE UNAFFORDABLE. Harry Potter fans know that Harry’s house was protected by an unbreakable charm. He was safe from frightening foes as long as he was inside the protection. Harry did not know about the protection until he was close to being an adult, but the protection was in place all the same. As […]

Managing Your Medical Bills & Insurance Paperwork

MANAGING YOUR MEDICAL BILLS & INSURANCE PAPERWORK: TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING REIMBURSEMENT BY HARVEY J. MATOREN, MPH, CCAP Do you become frustrated and overwhelmed when managing your medical bills and filing your health insurance claims? You’re not alone. It can be extremely difficult for the average patient or caregiver to get through the “maze of insurance land.” For people with a chronic or terminal illness, or acute episodes of illness as well, managing and filing insurance […]

Strive for the Right Financial Strategy for You: A Professional with the Chartered Special Needs Consultant Designation Can Help

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain wrote that in a letter, and while it referenced the writing life, the same analogy could be applied to financial strategies for persons with special needs. What’s the difference? More than ten years ago, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) recognized that, in regards to the […]


BY SARAH ROTH, MFA provides an introduction to GINA and its protections in health insurance and employment. Knowledge can be both frightening and empowering, and knowledge of your child’s predisposition for a genetic condition is no exception. Moreover, the decision to pursue genetic testing can provide as many questions as answers. From a small sample of skin, saliva or blood, your family is given a set of signs—pluses, minuses, numbers and letters—that foretell the […]

New Study Explores the Role of Caregiver

Once again MassMutual and Easter Seals have collaborated on a study, this one focused on caregiving. The purpose of the Many Faces of Caregiving Study was to increase understanding of caregivers, become better aware of caregivers’ needs, and improve upon the ways MassMutual and Easter Seals serve caregivers and their families. About caregivers The study asked questions of 341 caregivers and 701 non-caregivers (a fairly equal balance of men and women between the ages of […]

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts: A Side-by-Side Review

The availability of ABLE accounts is imminent. Many people have anticipated this new way to save money for a person with special needs. But does it take the place of a special needs trust? “A special needs trust and an ABLE account have some similarities, but one doesn’t negate the need for the other,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s […]