Bill seeks to help veterans with special needs planning

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The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities sent a letter July 22 to Sen. Kay Hagan (NC) in support of a bill allowing veterans to divert a portion of their survivor benefits to a separate fund for children with disabilities.

A proud wife looks at her army husband as he hold their 1 year old son.

Survivor benefit sought

“This bill will allow military retirees, upon their death, to leave their Survivor Benefit Plan benefits to a special needs trust for their disabled child,” the CCD said in the letter, signed by more than 20 disability advocacy groups. “This is critically important to preventing these children with disabilities from losing access to government benefits that are central to their survival and independence in their homes and communities.

“Your legislation will allow military families to plan for the expensive and complicated long-term care needs of their children with disabilities.”

Military retirees are currently allowed to divert 55 percent of their monthly retirement pay to a Survivor Benefit Plan to care for a spouse.

Under the proposed bill, this money could be transferred into a Special Needs Trust, which would make it accessible to dependent children, while still allowing them to qualify for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance.

Hagan is the sponsor of the Senate bill and the bill in the House of Representatives is sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (VA), Charlie Rangel (NY), Gerry Connolly (VA), Tim Ryan (OH), Jared Polis (CO) and Bill Foster (IL).

A similar bill was introduced in 2012.

“As a father of a special needs child, I know how important it is for parents to be able to provide the best possible care for them,” Rep. Moran said in a news release from June 4. “The Disabled Military Child Protection Act will give peace of mind to middle class military parents of more than 1,000 dependents that their children will receive good care after they are no longer able.”