M&L Year in Review: 2013 Milestones and Plans for the New Year

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Hello everyone! First of all, the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC would like to wish all our clients, friends, family, and the readers of this blog a Happy and Prosperous New Year! We have had an incredible year at M&L – through our continued work with families with special needs, the development of our new housing project and our other housing work (as well as the other milestones we reached in 2013) we feel that this has been a banner year for us, professionally, personally, and emotionally – there is no greater satisfaction than helping families with special needs reach financial and life goals.

Today, we would like to share with you some of the goals and milestones we achieved over the last year – and also our plans for 2014.

2013 Milestones

In 2013, we were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work with dozens and dozens of new families and clients; through our comprehensive special needs financial life plans, our insurance analysis and consulting services, and our government benefit counselling service, we were able to provide these families with the information and tools they needed to secure the financial success of their family members with special needs. Here are just a few of our 2013 accomplishments:

  • We helped more than a dozen families complete their own Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Life Plans
  • Counselled many families on the importance of insurance, and provided guidance as to acquiring insurance with the end goal of funding the Special Needs Trust.
  • In 2013, M&L Special Needs Planning helped many families apply for state and federal government benefits for their family member with special needs. We are incredibly proud to be able to say that for 2013 we have a 100% success rate with applying for these benefits!
  • We have counselled many families with special needs as to the specific needs of Special Needs Planning, and helped many families to understand the importance of Transitioning, Adult Services, SSI/SSDI, Estate Planning, Guardianships, the Letter of Intent, Circles of Support, and Housing, as well as many other important special needs planning issues.

Housing

In terms of housing, 2013 has been an important year for us at M&L – it has been what we call a “gathering and launch” year for our vision to create different types of housing models and supports for individuals with disabilities.  In addition to the launch of our Independent Living Program and Housing Database, we also offered a number of workshops focused on housing for interested families, and co-hosted a housing creation workshop with the Centre for Independent Living.

  • Our Independent Living Program and Housing Database launched November 11th of this year, and has been incredibly successful thus far. This one of a kind database is an online, one stop resource for independent living and housing programs for individuals with disabilities from across the United States. This database – which was inspired by the difficulty the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning had while trying to find reliable, relevant and current housing information – is meant to help families save time, frustration, and money as they attempt to find independent living and housing options for their family members with special needs. Individuals looking to subscribe to the Member Directory of this database are encouraged to visit the information page for more details.
  • In October, M&L co-hosted a housing development workshop with the folks from the Center for Independent Futures – the workshop focused on explaining the New Futures Initiative Training and helped families learn how to open doors to community-based supported living options within one’s own neighborhood. This presentation taught attendees how CIF (a 501 c(3) nonprofit organization) adapted housing policies and practices that have been proven to be  successful in Canada and other states to create new solutions for housing and day programs for adults with disabilities. M&L is taking five families from Maryland to pursue the training. We are very excited to be helping these families with finding housing for their family members using the CIF model. Note: To learn more about the CIF and our housing seminar, please read our blog post on the topic.

Plans for 2014

Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC we pride ourselves on being able to offer services that help families with special needs in all aspects of their lives. We offer financial services and advice, insurance advice, legal and estate advice and referrals to professionals in all these fields that are familiar with special needs planning. In 2014, we plan to continue to offer these services to our families and clients, and reach out to new clients and families with special needs. We also plan to continue our focus on helping individuals with special needs find appropriate and affordable housing through continued work on our Independent Living Program and Housing Project, as well as our commitment to creating new housing opportunities through our work with CIF and the New Futures Initiative. Here are a few specific goals we have set for 2014:

1.)     Workshops and speaking engagements: this year, M&L will continue to offer workshops from our seminar series to interested individuals free of charge. We plan to offer these in and around the Washington, D.C. Metro area, as well as in certain locations in Maryland and Virginia. One of our most important speaking engagements of 2014 will take place on February 8, when M&L founder and owner Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP® CWIC  will deliver a presentation on Supplemental Security Income at Riverview School. Please stay tuned to our blog over the coming weeks for more information on this speaking engagement.

2.)    Independent Living and Housing Program: In 2014, the staff of M&L will continue to work on and improve the housing database. As a part of our commitment to helping individuals with special needs find appropriate and affordable housing, we will continue to find and research new housing programs to add to the database. We will also be adding new material on a monthly basis for those who subscribe – this material will include videos that offer information on important special needs planning topics such as estate planning, government benefits, and insurance analysis for the purpose of funding the special needs trust.

3.)    CIF New Futures Initiative: In 2014, M&L will continue with the work that we began when we co-hosted the housing planning seminar with CIF in October. We are currently progressing with this project by examining the two most important issues: the type of residence and how it will be paid for (rent or purchase), and the support services that will be required for the residence. We have had a number of workshops with interested families where we have discussed the various housing options available to us; in 2014 we will be moving forward by contacting families that are seriously interested in developing this type of housing and preparing to take the next step – action. Our ultimate housing goal is to find appropriate housing with the necessary supports for 50 to 100 individuals in five years.

From all of us here at M&L, we would like to thank you for your support over the last five years since M&L was founded. We have truly enjoyed every minute of working with all of you, and look forward to a new year of challenges and goals. If you or a family member has any questions on the milestones that we have achieved over the last year, or would like to avail of any of the services that we offer please do not hesitate to contact us – we love hearing from you!

Thanks for joining us – have a great first week of 2014!

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