Over the weekend, I had the privilege of addressing approximately 30 members of key staff and parents of members of the POINT (Pursuing Our INdependence Together) program in White Plains. The parents in the group have disability-entitled children who live independently with some support from WJCS (Westchester Jewish Community Services) and JCCA (Jewish Child Care Association). The groups are non-sectarian despite the names of the organizations.
As many of the program participants receive SSI or Social Security Disability, many of the parents have expressed concern over how their pending retirement could potentially affect their child's continued eligibility for both SSI and SSD benefits. In addition, these parents were curious as to how familial financial support might affect the children's continued receipt of SSI benefits which limit certain financial contributions from third parties.
What commenced was a lively discussion of Disabled Adult Child benefits, special needs trusts, trial work, and SSD eligibility for children who formerly were eligible only for SSI benefits. The participants were clearly educated in some aspects of the law and it was my pleasure to engage in this level of discussion with parents who clearly are looking to better the lives of their children within the confines of the rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration.
Marion Morgenthal, Founding Chair of the POINT program, wrote me a kind note the following day:
Thanks so much for coming and spending time with our families this morning. As was obvious from the spirited discussion, and the large number of questions, this is a topic that resonates with our folks, and about which there is much confusion. The information you shared was tremendously helpful, and the feedback I got from the attendees after the meeting was unfailingly positive.
So, thanks again for sharing part of your Sunday and much of your expertise with us!
My special thanks to Ms. Morgenthal for giving me this opportunity to share ideas with her program.