August 25, 2011

If you are litigator, particularly a trial lawyer focused on Personal Injury, we can provide you with valuable assistance in the highly specialized area of Special Needs Settlement Planning. As you probably know, Special Needs Settlement Planning encompasses a comprehensive set of legal services that often prove pivotal in the successful long-term settlement of personal injury cases. As one of the few attorneys in the country with significant experience and training in this particular area of the law, Michele Fuller can help you preserve your clients’ eligibility for public assistance during settlement. She can also evaluate and address the many interrelated issues that often accompany complicated personal injury cases. These include: special needs trusts, Medicare and Medicaid lien resolution, Medicare Set Aside (MSA) arrangements, court approval of proposed settlements, creation of qualified settlement funds and structured settlement planning, among others.

It is important to note that trial lawyers have been held liable for failing to recognize and advise their clients on the effect a settlement may have on their eligibility for other benefits. This helps explain why litigators focused on Personal Injury and related practice areas are increasingly turning to Michele for Settlement Planning advice and counsel. We invite you to explore some of the articles below to learn more about the basics of Settlement Planning. Or, please contact us as soon as possible for assistance with a case you are currently settling. We welcome the opportunity to work with you and help you protect the best interests of your special needs or personal injury clients.

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The Arc Action Alert – Social Security’s Proposed Regulations Could Affect You


The Social Security Administration (SSA) has published proposed regulations to change the mental impairments. These are the criteria used to help determine whether an individual with intellectual disability, mental illness, autism, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive or mental disorders is disabled for purposes of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program or the Social Security disability programs.

The Arc and UCP have carefully reviewed these regulations and believe they make a number of significant improvements for people with disabilities. We are finalizing our comments and urge that you comment directly to SSA on the following key points:

1. Terminology. Thank SSA for proposing a transition to using the term “intellectual disability” and urge SSA to drop the use of the term “mental retardation” altogether with clear instructions that the terms have the same meaning and cover the same people.
2. Diagnosis. Urge SSA to ensure that decision-makers respect the valid diagnosis of intellectual disability made by professionals and do not allow them to dismiss a valid diagnosis based on their own limited observations.
3. Infants and toddlers. Support SSA’s proposed new listing for Developmental Disorders of Infants and Toddlers to evaluate developmental disorders for children from birth to age three.
4. Measures of functional ability. Urge SSA to eliminate the reference to the use of standardized tests for measuring the functional abilities of people with mental impairments, as related to the “paragraph B” criteria of the regulations, until such time as tests have been developed, assessed, and found to truly measure the areas of function that are under consideration.

Take Action

Please submit your comments online by the deadline of Wednesday, November 17 (11:59 p.m. eastern time) at:

Thank you in advance for your advocacy efforts.

November 17, 2010

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