A resource for families who have a loved one with special needs

When you go to sleep at night, are you sleeping peacefully, knowing that if something happens to you, your family will be taken care of?  What words describe how you feel about your family’s future?

For many families who have a loved one with special needs, their answers include:  worried, concerned, and overwhelmed.  What if you could gain the knowledge and implement a plan for your family and loved one with special needs that would make you feel calm, reassured, and secure?

The resources found at the Special Needs Forum help educate and guide you in preparing that plan.

From here, you are able to sign up for our free live events, purchase the online course, purchase our book and research businesses that are dedicated to helping families who have a loved one with special needs.

Live Events

Next Event

Join us in Austin on September 14th

Want to be notified of future events?

During our Live Events, you will socialize with other families, get to know Local Partners in your geographical area and learn from presentations on topics facing the special needs community.  Our Live Events change your life!

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THE COURSE

ONE EVOLUTION AT A TIME

Our course teaches you the things to you need to know to build a fortress of protection for your loved one with special needs.

The course is broken down into manageable pieces to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed that can occur as the parent of a loved one with special needs.

The course helps you learn:

How to build a protection plan for your loved one with special needs that will last a lifetime.

How to ensure your loved one with special needs won’t lose important government benefits.

How to ensure you are always able to help make decisions for your loved one with special needs once they are an adult.

How to ensure that someone who knows how to help care for your loved one with special needs is always there.

How to get the most out of your savings and social security to ensure your loved one with special needs has resources.

COURSE OUTLINE

Click each lesson to view the full description.

  • Plan Like the Navy SEALs Train
    • Julia explains the philosophy that will guide you throughout the One Evolution at a Time online course. This philosophy will not only help you plan ahead for your loved one with special needs, but also help you in any overwhelming situation. Learn More
  • An overview of the government benefits programs you need to know
    • Learn when your loved one with special needs will qualify for government benefits, what benefits are available, what benefits are means-based and which government agencies administer them. Learn why developing this foundational knowledge is key to understanding your loved one's financial and care future.
  • Supplemental Security Income
    • Unlock the secrets of SSI, the means-based government benefit program that many believe to be the most important. Learn who qualifies for SSI, when you should apply and how you apply.
  • How To Maximize Your SSI Benefit
    • Where and with whom a person with special needs lives can reduce the monthly SSI amount. Learn how to avoid an automatic reductions and what to say and do when you apply to get the maximum amount for your family.
  • Common SSI Disqualifiers
    • Julia lays out the most common reasons why people become disqualified from receiving means-based government benefits and what a devastating effect that can have on the life of a person with special needs.
  • Social Security Disability Income
    • What is the difference between SSI and SSDI? Many people who are receiving one of these benefits don’t even know which one is which and which one they are actually receiving. In this lesson, Julia walks you through this distinction, carefully explaining what you need to know.
  • Medicaid
    • Julia walks you through the maze of Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver programs and teaches you in a simple understandable fashion what you need to know about and how your loved one with special needs will qualify.
  • Extra Benefits When a Parent Retires and/or Dies
    • Many financial benefits are lost because they are never applied for. Julia unlocks the secret many don’t know about that will help you plan financially about the increase in government benefits your loved one with special needs will receive for their lifetime.
  • Transition at age 18—How to Stay in Control
    • As a parent of a loved one with special needs, it is important to know that when your child becomes an adult, you don’t automatically have the same rights you did when that child was a minor. Julia explains the various options a parent has once their child becomes an adult in order to continue to legally advocate for your loved one’s medical and care decisions.
  • Basic Estate Planning
    • Children with special needs may never be able to compensate for a parent’s failure to implement a well-thought-out estate plan. Julia draws on over 20 years of experience in the legal profession to teach you why estate planning is critical for people who have a loved one with special needs.
  • What are Special Needs Trusts and Why You May Need One
    • You may have heard of special needs trusts, but why do you need one and how do they work? What type of special needs trust do you need? Julia will answer these questions and many more about the workings of a special needs trust.
  • Should you set up a 529-ABLE account for your special needs loved one?
    • 529-ABLE legislations has received a lot press lately. But don’t be fooled. These accounts are not right for many people with special needs. Learn why or why not these accounts would be a right fit for your family and why they won’t replace the need for a special needs trust for many families.
  • Putting the Estate Plan Together so it Actually Works
    • Julia explains that just having a will is not enough. If you have life insurance or retirement accounts, your estate plan needs to include much more. Julia will talk about beneficiary designations and why these are also another critical component of planning ahead for your loved one with special needs.
  • Getting the Beneficiary of a Retirement Account Correct is Where Most People Make Mistakes
    • Learn how your retirement account will be taxed to your beneficiaries on your death and how you can significantly increase the amount they receive over their lifetime.
  • Putting a Care Team Together, Residential Options and Leaving Instructions
    • One of the most important things parents of a child with special needs can do is to put a team in place. Learn why this team is so important and how to get started creating this resource for your family now. Learn a clever way to document your goals and guidelines for your loved one with special needs. We will also discuss where to look and when to start looking for residential options.
  • Ten Evolutions . . . Take One at a Time
    • This final session reviews the 10 most important steps to take to build a fortress of protection for your child and teaches how to accomplish each one in a manageable format.

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The Book

In addition to the online course, the learning material is available in book form.


 

What people are saying about the Special Needs Forum

Attending the Special Forum was one of the best things I did.  I learned so much about the legal things I need to be cognizant about regarding taking care of my daughter with IDD and Autism. She is now 18 and the forum was an eye opening experience.

  — Suzyn B.

I have been attending the Special Needs Forum for a couple of years now and I can’t say enough how much I have benefited from all these sessions--and I mean EVERY ONE of them!  With two children on the Autism Spectrum, it could be overwhelming just to think about how to care for them when they become adults.  Fortunately I discovered this forum and it provided me the answers and directions I was looking for!

— Nadia F.

Sometimes I went to the same topics even more than once because I always learn something new.  We are living in an ever changing world and Julia makes sure that the information presented is up to date and in sync with new laws and new regulations.   I always walked out of these sessions with a lot more valuable knowledge than I had ever expected.   

What I learned has helped me tremendously in putting together a comprehensive plan for my children.  You really don’t want to miss this forum if you are involved in the life of someone that is special.  It’s time so very well spent!

This forum provides the kind of information that can make a big difference in planning for the future for families of children with special needs. It's a great resource for families! 

— Rosemary A.

I strongly suggest anyone with kids who have disabilities participate. The law changes often and the special needs forum keeps you informed. It is also great to meet with other folks in similar situations.  It is a legal and community resources hub.