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aza-logoArizona Autism United is a non-profit whose mission is to help as many families as possible with individualized supports. Founded in 2006 by parents who recognized the need for more services.

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Autism Spectrum DisorderIt appears that Hilary Clinton is likely the next democratic presidential nominee. As part of her platform she has announced a plan to address the needs of the increasing number of children and adults with autism.

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RSKI want to raise awareness about an awesome organization in Arizona: Raising Special Kids (RSK). First, I should disclose my bias. RSK is such an amazing advocacy organization and support for families that I am a Board volunteer.

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Lawyer umbrellaMost people are terrified of being forced into a “home” in their old age. They imagine a life in which they are fully aware and able with some minor age related health issues but left alone to rot without visitors or the comforts of home.

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My Social Security I love the Social Security Administration website. (And yes, I can here you groan) But they must have the best web designers. The site is easy to use and full of information. And now you can manage your own account and check in on your benefits. We are all worried that Social Security won't be there when we are ready, that it will be bankrupt but thus far that doesn't appear to be happening. Reality is that Social Security remains the primary income source for most Americans in retirement. So be informed about it. Get the most out of it. Make sure you have good information about it. On your account you can: Keep track of your earnings and verify them ev ...

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Did you know that Arizonan’s can download a Life Care Planning Packet for FREE at: https://www.azag.gov/seniors/life-care-planning The website has general information about Arizona laws related to future incapacity and the importance of life care planning. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Life Care Planning page is excellent including answering questions on how to fill out the documents, if a notary is needed, who can be witness and where to keep the documents. The Life Care Planning Packet contains the following documents and instructions: Durable Health Care Power of Attorney Durable Mental Health Care Power of Attorney Living Will (End of Life Care) ...

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Did You Know? Social Security Has An Awesome Website At www.ssa.gov You can: Estimate retirement benefits with their Retirement Estimator. Apply for benefits. Find out if you qualify for benefits. File an appeal. And much more. Social Security publishes numerous Pamphlets and Fact Sheets on every topic. They make it easy to find the answer to any question. For example, Benefits for Children, Social Security is Important to African Americans, Disability for Wounded Warriors and What Every Woman Should Know. In addition to their FAQs page with all the basics. Be careful you can spend hours on this website!!!

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Certified Financial Planner Board (CFPD): Financial Self-Defense Guide for Seniors The CFPD offers many tools for navigating our increasingly complicated financial world and to protect consumers from exploitation. Financial exploitation is becoming an epidemic as our society ages and thieves become more sophisticated. Often times as elder law attorneys, we are asked by family members how to talk to their aging parents or relatives about financial choices they are making that seem risky or suspect. It is a delicate balance between treating a loved ones choices with respect and looking out for their welfare. This Financial Self-Defense Guide is a good tool for starting that discussion ...

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The position of women in society is changing dramatically. Coupled with our population aging this has a significant impact socially and economically. Here are a few surprising facts: More women graduate from college than men. In 60% of households women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners. Women start businesses at 2x the rate of men. Women are emerging in leadership positions at an ever increasing rate. On average women live 6-8 years longer than men. 14 years is the average length of time a woman will outlive her husband. What does this mean for women, the economy and our aging population? Today 11% of women age 65, or older, are poor compared to 7% of men. Fortunate ...

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This site connects people with disabilities, their families and caregivers with state specific helpful resources.  The site is easy to use and fully accessible. Surfing the internet for funny pet videos is fun but searching for resources to improve your life or the life a loved one can be daunting.  “Googling” your question leads to hundreds of thousands of results and most people only make it through the first couple of pages. This site is a great starting place to help narrow the search. Step 1: Choose the Audience ie. are looking for information for yourself or someone else as a family member, caregiver or guardian? Step 2: Choose a Topic. Are looking for infor ...

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It’s that time again! Tax season is coming. You do everything for your kids and it’s not inexpensive. Families who have children with special needs incur additional medical and educational costs and there may be tax deductions or credits to help. You could probably use the help so here are some tips to consider. I’m a lawyer and I try to find useful information for the families I work with but I’m not an accountant so for the all the details click here for the full article. http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/tax-strategies-for-parents-of-kids-with-special-needs/ The Affordable Care Act has some significant implications for special needs families. 1. Medi ...

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Did you know that Arizonans can download a Life Care Planning Packet for FREE at: azag.gov What an amazing public service offered by our Attorney General’s Office. Here’s the deal: EVERY adult should have an advance healthcare directives. When kids turn 18 and register to vote they should be filling these out as well. And why not? It is free and easy. And you have protected your loved ones from heartbreaking struggles if something happens to you. Meet Max our 5 lb  yorkie and office mascot. The Attorney General’s website has general information about Arizona laws related to future incapacity and the importance of life care planning. The Frequently Aske ...

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This site connects people with disabilities, their families and caregivers with state specific helpful resources. The site is easy to use and fully accessible. Surfing the internet for funny pet videos is fun but searching for resources to improve your life or the life a loved one can be daunting. Googling your question leads to hundreds of thousands of results and most people only make it through the first couple of pages. This site is a great starting place to help narrow the search. Step 1: Choose the Audience. Are you looking for information for yourself or someone else as a family member, caregiver or guardian? Step 2: Choose a Topic. Are looking for information on education, heal ...

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A few facts about Women and Social Security you should know so that you, and the women in your life, are financially prepared for our changing reality. Presently there are 51,000 people over age 100 receiving Social Security benefits. Yeah! Making it to 100 years old.  Awesome! If these women delayed taking Social Security until age 70 that means they have been receiving that monthly payment for 30 years. The average Social Security benefit is $1,335.00. Over 30 years that is $480,600. Wow, it adds up. Of the 51,000 people over 100 receiving Social Security 46,000 are women. BUT women only receive 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and that means a woman is likely not ...

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I have to confess I am a Social Security nerd. Once I’m on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website I can’t stop! It is such an most interesting and complex program that has a tremendous impact on our society. The scope and impact of Social Security on our society is astronomical. Here are a few more facts that will change the way you think about SSA and how women need to plan for their retirement.

A few facts about Women and Social Security:

 

 

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In 2014, approximately 59 million Americans received Social Security for retirement, disability or survivors’ benefits. Social Security is an inter-generational transfer of wealth, it is not a dedicated retirement account and benefit checks do not represent a return on investment. Today, Social Security has plenty of assets. For years Social Security was a pay as you go system. Then in 1983 to prepare for the baby boomers, payroll taxes were increased so presently it has a surplus. But since 2010, Social Security’s cash expenses have exceeded its cash receipts. The fund likely will be fully depleted by 2034. This is combination of disability and retirement benefit ...

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How Let It Snow Would Have Been Written If The Person Lived In Arizona…

(Imangine music and good singing)

Oh, the weather outside isn’t frightful,

And the cool air is so delightful.

And since we've got nothing but sun,

Let It Shine! Let It Shine! Let It Shine!

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Early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s or other challenges associated with aging are often first detected or otherwise confirmed at holiday family gatherings.  Here are a few easy and non-intrusive ideas for checking up your loved one. Look in the refrigerator. Is there food or expired food? Drive the car. Check the state of the tires, oil, antifreeze. Has the cleanliness of the person deteriorated? Look for potential fall risks such as loose rugs, poor lighting, or opportunities for water on the floor such as, pet bowls. Has mobility lessened? Consider offering to install stair railings or grab bars in the bathroom. Is the mail piling up? Be aware but b ...

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  Blankets or throws: A cozy blanket feels like love. You can customize throws with a family photo or a picture of a favorite vacation spot at many places online such as, Shutterfly or Costco. Custom gift basket: They will know you care when you give them a basket of their favorite things. Slippers, lotions, bath soaps, cologne or perfume, movies, or a food basket of your loved ones favorite meats, cheeses, chocolates or sauces. Tablets and iPads: Surprisingly easy to use and in many ways tailored for seniors with their touch-screen technology and large print options. Good for entertainment, medication management and brain-exercising fun. Smartphone: Phones are not only impo ...

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Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio: The Independent Guide to Children’s Media

Looking for a place to find age appropriate toys in which someone has thought about whether the toy is adapted for kids with special needs?

Here they are and here’s how they do it. 

Joanne and Stephanie are child development experts. The founded the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio in 1989 as the only independent reviewers of toys consumers.

 

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This place is incredible. Ideas that caused me shock and awe. I was fortunate to present on Healthcare Advanced Directives at FSL’s Annual Caregivers Retreat. Caregivers are heroes, providing selfless services while facing many challenges, often with little reward. In Arizona alone, there are 855,000 family caregivers. They are super heroes with super powers. The Caregiver House is located in Phoenix at 12th street and Thomas. It’s an older home renovated to demonstrate modification options. One half of the home uses Universal Design and the other half is modified with less expensive, often removable adaptations. It is truly amazing how much a home renovation, no matte ...

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Internship opportunity that sounds amazing with the United States International Council on Disabilities. The USICD is a federation of US-based non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and individuals committed to advocacy and action on behalf

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USICD is looking for applicants for the:

YOUTH IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Internship program is open for applications until January 12, 2016. SO HURRY!!!!  That’s only a few weeks away.

 

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This day is marked around the world every year on December 3rd to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues pertaining to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. Over 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability, that’s 1 in 7 More than 100 million disabled persons are children Children with disabilities are almost four times more likely to experience violence 80% of all people with disabilities live in a developing country 50% of disabled persons cannot afford health care 153 countries signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The United States is a signatory but has not yet ratified ...

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As our parents age it is natural for us to take over the meal preparation but we need to be sensitive to the changes as our family ages. Our metabolism and taste buds changes as we age. Don’t be offended if the person doesn’t eat the pile high plate of food like they used too.  Consider preparing something special to cater to changing dietary habits and needs. Make food that is easy to chew and swallow.  Dentures and reduced saliva production make tough and dry foods difficult. Use less salt to be considerate of blood pressure and water retention issues. Add more seasoning to make up for the lower salt, aging taste buds and the dulling affect of some prescript ...

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What do you do when something bad has happened? What if you have been in a terrible car accident? You're in the ICU and can't tell anyone what you want for your healthcare and well-being. You can't tell anyone how to get access to your accounts, to pay your mortgage, etc. If you're married you think your spouse will take care of it, but what if they can’t? What if they were in the car too? You can learn more about what a Healthcare and Financial Power of Attorney is here! The question becomes, do you need one? Yes! But most people do not have POAs and this is why they should. When you can't speak for yourself, these problems could arise: Someo ...

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Granny cams enable family members to install recording devices in nursing homes and similar facilities in order to protect their loved ones from neglect or abuse by the caregivers. There are certain legal standards in monitoring your loved one when they reside in a nursing home or similar care facility. Generally, when a person has capacity to make their own decisions, then that person can consent to the surveillance being set up in their residence. Likewise, a Guardian may authorize electronic monitoring. Some states, such as Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma and New Mexico have enacted granny cam statutes that permit recording in certain circumstances. If no state law exists in your state, then ...

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Presently, a Special Needs Trust (SNT) is the only vehicle for a person on benefits to have more than $2,000 in cash and still maintain their Social Security and Medicaid benefits. For smaller amounts of money, creating a SNT may not  be cost effective. The good news! September of 2014, Congress created a new less expensive alternative through the ABLE Act. Money can be put into an ABLE account under specific circumstances and the person can keep their benefits. The bad news: As of June 2014 Arizona has not proposed legislation to allow the creation of ABLE accounts. BUT we expect it will happen. We love new options. Unfortunately, the Act is more re ...

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What if you have been in a terrible car accident? You’re in the ICU and can’t tell anyone what you want for your healthcare and well-being. You can’t tell anyone how to get access to your accounts, to pay your mortgage, etc. If you’re married you think your spouse will take care of it, but what if they can’t? What if they were in the car too? You can learn more about what a Healthcare and Financial Power of Attorney is here! The question becomes, do you need one? Yes! But most people do not have POAs and this is why they should. When you can’t speak for yourself, these problems could arise: Someone needs to pay your bills, apply for dis ...

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Prisoners of Azkaban? No, they aren’t that scary. Plan of Action? No, but similar. Plan of Attack? No, but closer. Power of Attorney? Yes! Simply put: Healthcare and Financial POAs are a disaster recovery plan. These are the documents you need when you can’t help yourself and you need someone to manage your life.   It’s for the scary things we hope never happen but we know in our hearts happen too often; we just don’t want to think about it. Car accidents, after surgery, during an illness, falling off the ladder, or slipping in the tub. You nominate someone you would trust with your life because you are possibly trusting them with your lif ...

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Autism has been on the rise for years. In 2010 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 1:88 children were diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Today the Washington Post ran an article in which the CDC announced that 1:68 children have ASD. This has implications in all areas of law that impact families.

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Autism on the Rise

Autism has been on the rise for years. In 2010 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 1:88 children were diagnosed as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Today the Washington Post ran an article in which the CDC announced that 1:68 children have ASD. This has implications in all areas of law that impact families.

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Earlier this year by executive order Governor Brewer separating Child Protective Services from the Arizona Department of Economic Security and creating a cabinet level agency.

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In Arizona an estimated 100,000 grandchildren are being raised by their grandparents. Nationally, 4.9 million children under age 18 live in a household headed by their grandparent. These grandparents weren’t planning on being parents again.

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Child Protective Services in Arizona recently disclosed that it had failed to investigate thousands of calls to the child abuse hotline. The exact number of cases that were marked “Not Investigated” in the computer system is unknown. There is at least a backlog of 6,110 cases to be investigated by January 31, 2013.

 

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National Adoption Day is a national day of celebration. It offers an opportunity for adoptive families to have the courts finalize their adoptions. Nearly 40,000 children have been adopted on National Adoption Day since 2000.

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  National Adoption Day National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. This is a fun event that has made the dreams of thousands of children come true. National Adoption Day helped nearly 40,000 children move from foster care to a forever family. This year the National Adoption Day Coalition expects 4,500 children in foster care to be adopted on National Adoption Day, on November 22, 2013. To celebrate we are posting a National Adoption Day video on our website throughout November. To view or submit your story check out: www.facebook.com/NationalA ...

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We have been answering questions for our clients for over 20 years! We get certain common questions, but can only share the answers with those who come to our office or in presentations. We would like to share those answers with as many people as possible. There are many things that you can do to make your life easier and avoid problems, and with the power of social media, you can know what those things are! Here comes the disclaimer: we are lawyers, so this blog offers both legal information and answers to common questions. However, we are not your lawyers, so reading this blog does NOT create an attorney-client relationship; it is information and not advice. That said welcome to our Eld ...

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1. Are you concerned about whether your Will, Trust or Power of Attorney documents will work when you need them? 2. Do you have a Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, Mental Health Power of Attorney and Financial (Durable) Power of Attorney? 3. Do you know that you will need the court to appoint a guardian for you if you need to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital and you do not have a Mental Health Power of Attorney? 4. Do you want to learn more about benefits that are available to the Veteran or the surviving Spouse of a veteran who served active duty in the military for 90 or more days, one day of which was during a war time? 5. Are you concerned about how you will pay for y ...

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