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Showing posts from July 30, 2017

What Every Policy Maker Needs to Know about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – A Refresher

August 3, 2017   Elisabeth Wright Burak Right now, children, families and states  face grave uncertainty  about CHIP’s future, since no new federal funds will be available after September without Congressional action. Because we’ve all been mired in the Medicaid debate, it’s a good time to remind lawmakers about CHIP and its importance to kids. In turn, we are refreshing our CHIP resources and education materials. CHIP was created I997 to help states provide affordable coverage to uninsured children in middle-income families who didn’t qualify for Medicaid but for whom private coverage was out of reach. Our updated “  About CHIP page  “(also as  PDF primer ) provides more of the basics. Here are the top things lawmakers and child health stakeholders need to know. CHIP is a federally funded, state-administered block grant that serves  nearly 9 million  children during the course of a year.  CHIP allows states to offer coverage to children at higher income levels that d

INvestABLE Accounts

With the passage of Indiana’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) legislation, Indiana’s Treasurer of State’s office and the ABLE Authority have been working hard to develop a qualified program for our state.  Earlier this month, the Treasurer of State’s office introduced INvestABLE Indiana, a new program that will help individuals with disabilities and their families save, while preserving their Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid coverage and benefits received through other federal programs. INvestABLE allows Hoosiers with disabilities to save money without fear of losing benefits.  This allows them to save for things like education, housing, assistive technology or other needed items.  To qualify, a person must have the onset of disability before the age of 26 and they must also be receiving Social Security benefits. Eligible individuals can open the account for themselves online, or have an authorized individual open an account on their behalf. Hoosiers can fi

Pediatric Symptom Checklist for Mental Health

The PSC (Pediatric Symptom Checklist) is usually completed by parents and is often used by pediatricians as one part of a well-child checkup. It helps pediatricians see how a 4-16 year old child is functioning at home, at school, with friends and family, in their activities, and with their moods and behavior. You can fill out the PSC online for free as many times as you like by clicking on the link to right on this page. You can also print or download a copy of the scoring report for free if you wish and you can share this with your child’s pediatrician, teacher, or anyone else. Your answers and the report are anonymous and confidential. We do not keep copies or share results of these online forms with anyone else. This service is provided free to the public by the authors of the PSC and by CNS Vital Signs. CNS Vital Signs is one of the world’s leading providers of neuropsychological software. For more information please visit their website at It is important to under

ABLE Accts Part #3: What Can Funds Be Used For?

Understanding What ABLE Funds Can be Used For Funds in the account can be used to purchase “qualified disability-related expenses.” A “qualified disability expense” is any expense related to the designated beneficiary’s blindness or disability that assists him/her in increasing and/or maintaining their health, independence and/or quality of life. These may include expenses related to education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses. More info:

ABLE Accts Part #2: Who is Eligible?

Understanding Eligibility  It is important to understand that not all individuals with disabilities will be eligible to open an ABLE account. The ABLE Act limits eligibility to individuals with significant disabilities with an age of onset of disability before turning 26 years of age. If you meet this age criteria and are also already receiving benefits under SSI and/or SSDI, you are automatically eligible to establish an ABLE account. If you are not a recipient of SSI and/or SSDI, but still meet the age of onset disability requirement, you could still be eligible to open an ABLE account if you meet Social Security’s definition and criteria regarding significant functional limitations and receive a letter of certification from a licensed physician. You need not be under the age of 26 to be eligible for an ABLE account. You could be over the age of 26, but must have had an age of onset before your 26th birthday. more info here:

ABLE Accts Part #1 : What is ABLE?

In December 2014, Congress passed the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, which added Section 529A to the federal tax code. This enables eligible individuals with disabilities to save money in a tax-exempt account that may be used for qualified disability expenses. This will allow qualified individuals with disabilities to save money while keeping their eligibility for federal public benefits. How much can you save in an account? The total annual contributions into an ABLE account by all contributors combined, including family, friends and the beneficiary themselves, for any given tax year is $14,000. The amount may be adjusted periodically to account for inflation. The total limit over time that could be made to an ABLE account will be subject to the individual state and their limit for education-related 529 savings accounts. Many states have set this limit at more than $300,000 per plan.  What is the impact on benefits: SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, others One o