by Thomas D. Begley, Jr., CELA
It is always difficult to move from one state to another, but when a family member has disabilities there are a number of considerations that should be addressed as early as possible.
- Health Care. Establish a “safety net” well in advance. Research the doctors, therapists and other service providers available in the new location and reach out to local advocacy organizations for referrals. Be sure your medical insurance serves the area to which you are moving. Otherwise, it may be necessary to obtain other medical insurance. Most medical insurance policies have geographic limitations.
- Special Education. If a child is receiving special education, it may be necessary to negotiate a new Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or a 504 Plan prior to moving in order to avoid an interruption in services. The existing IEP should be forwarded to the new school district as a starting point.
- Guardianship does not automatically transfer from one state to the other. If the new home state has not signed a reciprocity agreement with the state you are leaving, transferring guardianship can be complex. Legal counsel in the state you are leaving and the state to which you are moving should be consulted to coordinate the process.
- SSI/SSDI. Simply supply the Social Security Administration with the new address on a timely basis and there should be no interruption in payments.
- SNAP (Food Stamps). SNAP is a federal program, but each state has variations. Verify the new state’s guidelines.
- Social Service Agencies. Do research and identify local providers of day care, in-home services, social programs, career assistance, and other supports.
- Estate Planning Documents. Review and update, if necessary, Wills, Special Needs Trusts, Living Trusts, Living Wills, and Powers of Attorney. Confirm that beneficiary designations are still correct.
- Motor Vehicle. Apply for a handicap vehicle permit, if required.