sharinglaw.net

maintained by
Lisa Nachmias Davis
of Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC, Attorneys at Law


Davis O'Sullivan
& Priest LLC

129 Church Street
Suite 809
New Haven, CT
06510
203-776-4400
Fax: 203-774-1060

 
SPECIAL NEEDS AND DISABILITY LINKS PAGE

Content on Page Last Updated in part 8/20/13 - NOTE -- the State of CT changes URLs frequently -- if you can't find something I've linked directly, try searching the state website using as much information as you can from what I have provided

Connecticut
Consumer Resources
(General) (by topic)
Connecticut  Disability-Specific Groups
National
Social Security
Legal Resources

CLICK for a List of my own articles
Tip:  Read the MANY useful articles in the Voice, publication of the Special Needs Alliance - you can also subscribe to receive it by email

Selected Connecticut Resources: (somewhat topical; many have their own links page)

FINDING
LEGAL HELP:

It is ESSENTIAL that you consult an attorney from your own area who is familiar with local resources and rules.  Please note, I am only licensed to practice in CT.  Also, read my disclaimer -- and remember - this page is not legal advice!-- 
Find a Social Security attorney Listing of CT attorneys who practice Social Security law, particularly the highy specialized area that relates to appealing benefit denials.
Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc.:  1-800-453-3320 - gateway to help from legal services organizations in Connecticut, this service provides telephone assistance and may refer you to a legal service organization.  (Most CT legal service organizations are staffed by top-notch, highly intelligent, very knowledgeable attorneys, but they also have heavy case loads and cannot help everyone, so their services are limited to those with very low income in most cases.) Be sure to check legal information on many topics on the state-wide legal services website www.ctlawhelp.org
Special Needs Alliance: organization of attorneys whose practice includes significant work for clients with special needs, including establishment of special needs trusts.  Disclaimer:  I'm a member.
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys:  "find an elder law attorney" tool allows you to seek out attorneys knowledgeable in the field of elder law which often (not always) means knowledgeable about government benefits that are important to those with special needs. (Also I'm a member.)
Connecticut Legal Rights Project:  Legal assistance and advocacy services esp. related to psychiatric disabilities.  Known for assisting in challenges to conservatorships (determination of incapacity) and commitments.
CT Parent Advocacy Center Inc. ("CPAC"): statewide nonprofit organization that offers legal and other information and support to families of children with any disability or chronic illness, age birth through 26; may offer direct advocacy services in dealing with school systems as well as offering a useful booklet.  Call 860-739-3089.
FINDING HOUSING:

It can be hard to find housing, especially for those with mental illness. Here is a start.


  Aging and Disability Resource Center pages describes different levels of housing support -- you can click and search for everything from independent living on up and see the requirements for different places..
Subsidized apartments:  Try HUD subsidized apartment search
Apply for the CT "RAP" housing assistance certificate or the federal Section 8 program -- waitlisted now.  (Check my links page if you want more details on HUD rules.)
In general to find a "housing counselor," find a HUD-sponsored counselor agency to help with credit issues, renting, and other housing issues; call 1-800-569-4287 or search online.
Don't forget to contact NAMI-CT for help with housing for those with mental illness.  Call (800) 215-3021
Residential Care Homes -- sometimes known as "homes for the aged" --are not just for the aged but may also be appropriate housing for those who can live in a somewhat institutional setting (roommate; shared meals) and need help with some activities of daily living -- including medication management.  There is no organized way to sort through these, but the Public Health Department directory is HERE for looking -- check out those that say "RCH" but be advised, the benefit that pays for an RCH is not Medicaid despite what the facility or RCH says -- it is "AABD" or "state supp"  which counts the assets in a SELF-FUNDED special needs trust as available resources.  You can also check the Newlifestyles search engine (includes other facilities)
CT Association of Centers for Independent Living
Philosophy:  "The entire focus of the Independent Living Movement is the realization that freedom to make choices and the ability to live in the community is a basic civil right that should be extended to all people, regardless of disability. With this framework, Independent Living Center staff work with and for the consumer to promote his or her independence in the community."  This site offers information about the region's independent living centers and the resources they offer.
CT Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List


Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List Website!! Legal Services says: First, you can go to the web site, click on "List of open waiting lists," and see which housing authorities, if any, presently are accepting Section 8 applications. If a list is open, it may be possible, depending on the housing authority, to link to a housing authority web site from which an application form can be downloaded. Second, you can register at the site to receive notice whenever a list opening is posted. To do this, click on "Register to receive email notices of opening of waiting lists." You can request notices of all lists posted or of those from particular housing authorities only. Register for "All Authorities" so that you receive all notices.
CT "circuit breaker" programs - property tax relief for the disabled Property tax exemption - "disabled tax relief program"
Property tax CREDIT (income eligibility)   - includes application you can download   
Overall look at all relief -- the "intergovernmental policy division" of the state  
"State supp" rental assistance for those with VERY VERY low income
Link to DSS brochure.  Apply at local DSS office.  Most likely you would also qualify for SNAP or food stamps.
FINDING MEDICAL CARE - or how to pay for it

AccessHealthCT
( = Obama CARES)
This is CT's "health care exchange" due to begin accepting registration October 1st for enrollment  in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare). Put another way -- if you can pay for it, you cannot be turned down for health insurance, and if you are low/moderately low income, you may get a whopping tax credit that will be deducted up-front from teh premium to bring the cost to affordable levels. CHECK IT OUT.  Note: "income" = modified adjusted gross income, what goes on page 1 of the 1040 tax return, with non-taxed Social security added back in (basically).  The only test for the credit is INCOME -- your assetes do not count at all.
CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
(800) 446-7348
Includes helpful link on "how to find services in your area"
For example:  CMHC ((203) 974-7300) in New Haven; Harbor Health Services on the shoreline (203-483-2630); Bridges in Milford/Orange (203-878-6365), etc.
NOTE:  You must go through DMHAS to apply for the "WISE" Medicaid waiver for community support services. 

CT Department of Developmental Services
regular #: 866-737-0330

Emergencies: 860-720-3110
Includes "frequently asked questions," descriptions of programs.
See new Autism Spectrum Division page and brochure on the new Autism Spectrum Disorder pilot project (PDF).
(The problem is under-funding.)
Also visit the site of the CT Council on Developmental Disabilities
CT Department of Social Services 
Information and Referral: 1-800-842-1508

CT MAP Client Assistance:
1-866-409-8430, M-F 8a-5p


THE SOURCE FOR MEDICAID AND OTHER MEDICAL CARE FOR THOSE WITH LOW INCOME!

Information on numerous departments that operate programs of interest to the disabled (Services to  People with Disabilities ,the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services) and detailed information on programs for those with disabilities, including  Medicaid for the Employed Disabled (if you want to see the fine print on the Working Disabled program, click HERE), new "pre-existing condition insurance plan" policies for those uninsured 6 months or more, and the new "Medi-Link" or Medicaid for those with Low Income (replacing SAGA).  As noted: you must go through DMHAS to apply for the WISE (mental health) Medicaid waiver services.
IF YOU HAVE SSDI AND MEDICARE, AND LOW INCOME, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST CHECK OUT QMB OR OTHER MEDICARE SAVINGS PROGRAMS!!! EASY TO DO -- CLICK FOR APPLICATION. or call DSS.
If you are on Medicaid or other programs, we can sometimes help you explain the notices you get. You can go online to connect.ct.gov to get online information about your benefits, but the info may not be up-to-date as DSS struggles with a low budget and a new system of processing applications and redeterminations.  Don't forget, redeterminations are due EVEN IF DSS does not send you the form. Click here for the redetermination form.  Fax to  860-812-0022.
ALSO:  CT MAP Client Assistance number gives help finding providers, or click on www.ctdssmap.com and use Provider Search to find providers
call  Connecticut Dental Health Partnership, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-866-420-2924 (in-state toll free) to find a dentist and schedule an appointment - not available to all.
 

CT Family Support Network
Useful information includes list of dentists who will treat children with special needs
ConnPACE.com

Website devoted exclusively to the ConnPACE program, offering prescription coverage for those with low incomes but not eligible for Medicaid.  NO ASSET TEST.  This is phasing out in favor of the "Medicare Savings Programs" described on www.CTElderLaw.org.

CT Health Reinsurance Association
1-800-842-0004
Providing insurance to those who cannot obtain private insurance, including those who have never had private insurance (in which case there is a 12-month preexisting coverage exclusion).  2 plans, one is United Healthcare
CT Insurance Department

Includes page with Medicare supplemental policy rates in Connecticut (PDF); page on companies offering supplemental policies;and page on "managed care in Connecticut" including patient rights.

Volunteers in Psychotherapy Volunteer organization that provides "truly private psychotherapy" - patients can earn free therapy by working for a nonprofit organization.
FINDING WORK - OR HELP GETTING TO WORK
CT Bureau of Rehabilitation Services
1-800-537-2549
State office designed "to create opportunities, through the provision of individualized rehabilitation services, which enables persons with disabilities to live and work independently"
"Connect-ability" website A program of the Dept. of Social Services, this site is designed to help those with disabilities find ways to rejoin the workforce.  The CT Department of Labor also has a site, "Disability Resources for Job-Seekers."
Disabled commuter's handbook
RIDEWORKS list of access agencies but it leaves you with a lot of phone numbers to call.
New Haven area: MyRide
Getting around is TOUGH in CT.  In New Haven you can reserve a ride on "MyRide."  Otherwise check www.211ct.org and GOOD LUCK.
OTHER USEFUL STUFF IN CT
Don't forget you can call 211 for general information.
"2-1-1 provides free and confidential information and referral. Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more." or look online at 211ct.org
Aging and Disability Resource Centers
or contact Connecticut Community Choices Contact Community Choices by calling 1-800-994-9422.
With state funding, aging resource centers sponsored by area Agencies on Aging have morphed into resources for benefit and other information for the aging and disabled population.
The Connecticut Elder Law website (CTElderLaw.org)

Now part of www.ctlawhelp.org, a compendium of information hosted by CT Legal Services, this is the invaluable consumer-oriented site on Connecticut Elder Law topics but which also includes critical information on entitlement programs for the disabled such as Medicare and Medicaid, the QMB program that pays Medicare premiums, copays and deductibles, SSI and Social Security.  Direct link to Legal Services Network pamphlets for consumers. 

CT Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
1-800-842-7303

Independent State agency created to safeguard and advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities in Connecticut by providing information, referrals, consultations, organizing assistance to local groups, and various types and levels of advocacy assistance. Resources page provides address/phone contact information to a mammorth array of groups and programs, and has now added links.  Also tracks pending legislation.

CT Parent Advocacy Center Inc. ("CPAC") Statewide nonprofit organization that offers legal and other information and support to families of children with any disability or chronic illness, age birth through 26; may offer direct advocacy services in dealing with school systems as well as offering a useful booklet.  Call 860-739-3089.
Disability Resource Center of Fairfield County A "cross-disability resource and advocacy organization for people with disabilities"
Disabled American Veterans - CT chapter
860-584-0057
The website isn't much as of this writing, but this is a good organization to contact for counseling, referrals, help applying for benefits such as "aid and attendance."  Or call CT Dept. of Veterans Affairs, 1-800-550-0000.
DRM disability resource guide Mammoth set of links to disability sites put together by Disability Resources, Inc.; this page is directed to Connecticut resources.
Healthnet:  Connecticut Consumer Health Information network

Operated by Lyman Maynard Stowe Library, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington CT, this site is rich in bibliographic information and reading lists, including special sections for mental health and a comprehensive set of links on health information for people with disabilities.  Not connected to Heathnet the insurance company!

Hospital Debt Justice Project
A web site which attacks the collection practices of Yale-New Haven Hospital and others, this web page does offer a great summary of options for those unable to pay hospital bills, including information about hospital funds, the uninsured discount, etc.

National Dissemination Center for Children  with Disabilities

Comprehensive directory of government resources in Connecticut
PLAN of Connecticut Nonprofit organization that will act as Trustee of special needs trusts; particularly useful when there is no appropriate Trustee; also now operating a "pooled trust" that can hold assets of a disabled person over age 65 WITHOUT AFFECTING CONTINUED ELIGIBILITY - similar to a "d4A" trust available to those under 65.  CAUTION:  the State of Connecticut now has additional reuqirements (PDF) for those 65+ to escape a transfer penalty when the account is funded.   The pooled trust is also useful for individuals who don't have parents or conservators to establish the more ordinary kind of self-funded special needs trust (that is, the money going into the trust is the person's own money from savings, retirement, proceeds of litigation or settlement, or inheritance).
Sustinet
Perhaps the future "Public Option" in Connecticut -- but still only in planning stages.  This page gives status updates and other information.

Connecticut Disability-Specific Groups
** This list is not comprehensive.  Feel free to contact me if you wish to include your organization.  I have chosen to include those organizations known to me out of concern that many families still appear unaware of the support groups available to them***

The ARC of Connecticut
860-953-8335
CT chapter of national organization that advocates for those with "intelletual, cognitive, and developmental disabilities."  This site includes a page with links to all local chapters.
Brain Injury Association of Connecticut
Help-line:  1-800-278-8242
Connecticut Chapter of the National Head Injury Foundation.  The Association provides referrals and case consultation, among other services.
CACLD (website not working)
CT Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities - call (203) 838-5010
NAMI CT
Help-line:  (800) 215-3021
"Connecticut's voice for mental illness," Lists all local affiliatesaff
Autism Society of CT
(888) 453-4975
Based in Guilford, the organization's website states:  "The Autism Society of Connecticut is focused on three areas: serving as a statewide autism resource, providing grants to families who may need financial assistance, and raising awareness of autism."  Please note:  there are other groups in Connecticut which focus on support and assistance to the families of those with autism.
CT Downs Syndrome Congress
Lengthy website with many resources for families of Downs Syndrome children
National Multiple Sclerosis Society - CT Chapter
860-714-2300
Lengthy website  lists many programs of assistance to those with MS as well as the usual host of links, fundraising events, and information abou the disease
CT Tourette Syndrome Association
(203) 912-7310
http://www.tsact.org/
Fellowship Place (New Haven)
"A Supportive Community Fostering Mental Health" in New Haven
United Cerebral Palsy
Three local affiliates:  Eastern CT, Southern CT, Greater Hartford ((860) 236-6201).


Selected National / Federal Resources and Links

The Arc of the United States (formerly Association of Retarded Citizens) National organization of and for people with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities and their families.  Links to Connecticut chapters.
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Center for legal advocacy for the civil rights and human dignity of people with mental disability
Center for Medicare Advocacy Includes great information on Medicare, e-mail link to request the Center’s printed materials, a "quick screen" to identify potential Medicare coverage, and a useful summary/comparison of supplemental policies and summary of gaps in coverage.
Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation Devoted to early-onset bipolar disorder information.  Links to a site for subscribing to an internet discussion group for "significant others" of those with bipolar disorder, BPSO.
Disability.gov "Your online connection to the federal government's disability-related information and resources."
Merrill Lynch Special Needs Planning Calculator

(scroll down -- you have to click on their link)
Yes, I know this is a commercial "for-profit," but ANY tool that will help families hone in on what financial resources they need to plan for someone with special needs has to be welcome -- especially because financial planners usually won't offer advice "fee for service" but only in conjunction with managing your assets -- and if your assets are modest what is the incentive for them to give you careful and thoughtful advice?  Try to find a good financial planner if your family includes someone with special needs -- money can make all the difference!
National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities National information and referral center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals, with a focus on birth to age 22.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI also advocates for the families of those with mental illness.  This comprehensive site discusses new developments and treatments, and links to state and local affiliate sites.  You can subscribe to their mailing list for frequent updates on legal developments affecting the mentally ill.  Lists CT affiliates.  VERY USEFUL:  NAMI has a walk-through guide to "Special Needs Estate Planning," with things to think about, how to choose an attorney, and state-specific information.
National Association of Social Workers Companion site for consumers is "helpstartshere.org."  Click to find a clinical social worker in your area
Special Needs Advocates for Parents The website www.snapinfo.org seems to have been taken over-- was a support group and information source for parents of children with special needs, also offered help getting medical insurance companies to authorize or reimburse for therapies, medical equipment or other items not seen as "medically necessary."  Call toll-free to 1-888-310-9889 if the organization is still around.
Special Needs Alliance (Voice) articles

The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, not for profit organization of attorneys dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law.  As a public service, the SNA publishes an internet newsletter, The Voice, with incredibly useful articles on all kinds of topics relating to government benefits, special needs trusts, planning  for those with special needs, etc. You can read articles on the archive and/or subscribe to receive it by email.

US Dept. of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act page
Includes informaiton and technical assistance for employers, etc. trying to comply with ADA; frequently requested through FOIA information on settlement of cases; and other legal resources


Selected Legal References

Find a CT Attorney Who Handles Social Security claims and appeals
Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration list of "Compassionate Allowances" - fast track treatment of certain conditions as qualifying for SSI or Social Security Disability
Social Security Handbook
Social Security "Redbook" on Employment Support for People with Disabilities
Social Security Rulings
Social Security POMS (Programs Operations Manual System) - complete and searchable
Social Security page on recent updates to POMS (with transmittals)
Social Security Forms, downloadable
SSA Memos and Transmittals of Interest
Claimant representatives' page
U.S. Code Title 42  -
dowloadable sections; searchable
  View online entire
Social Security Act:
 
1382b (Assets; part of SSI law)
Social Security Regulations (browsable) 
Connecticut DSS explanation of "supplement" program
 FOR OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES ON MEDICARE/MEDICAID, CHECK THE ELDER LAW LINKS PAGE
FOR IMPORTANT CASES DEALING WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS, CHECK MY "KEYCASES" PAGE WHICH INCLUDE ELDER LAW CASES


DISCLAIMER:  THIS INFORMATION IS NOT PROVIDED AS  LEGAL ADVICE AND CREATES NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.  NO ENDORSEMENT IS INTENDED BY ANY REFERENCES HEREIN.  PLEASE CONSULT YOUR OWN LEGAL AND FINANCIAL ADVISORS BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION. 

I can only provide general information, and will not provide advice about a particular case without a formal engagement. Writing to me does not create an attorney-client relationship.
 

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Lisa Nachmias Davis
Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC
Attorneys at Law

129 Church Street, Suite 805
New Haven, CT 06510
Phone: 203-776-4400
Fax: 203-774-1060
davis@sharinglaw.net