Tired of Being Denied Government Services – Sign Your Child Up For Medicaid Waiver Programs

Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (“DADS”) was the agency that, for many years, parents with children with disabilities reached out to for government assistance of support and services. Texas programs were administered by DADS until its abolition on September 1, 2017.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (“HHS”) is now charged with protecting vulnerable Texans. HHS administers programs formally serviced by DADS, including:

Community Living Assistance and Support Services (“CLASS“)

Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (“DBMD“)

Home and Community-based Services (“HCS“)

Medically Dependent Children’s Program (“MDCP“)

A common complaint I hear from parents who are in search of help from the government is that their family fails to qualify for support due to household income.  Although income is not necessarily a factor for eligibility for benefits from these Medicaid Waiver programs, waiting on an interest list for can take years.


As of July 31, 2017, tens of thousand of Texans are on interest lists. HCS has 86,989 people on its interest list, CLASS has 61,926 people on its interest list, and MDPC has 18,867 people on its interest lists.  Parents should contact HHS and their local benefits provider, such as the Harris Center, to begin the application process.


More Children in Need, Less Resources?

Although the Center for Disease Control issued their assessment in 2014 that 1 in 68 school-aged children are on the Autism spectrum, federal funding for the care of these Americans is in jeopardy. A person diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or diagnosed with any of the many other related conditions may qualify to receive disability-related Medicaid benefits.

Analysis from Avalere predicts that Medicaid, which provides supports and services to  disabled children and adults, could see a reduction funding of up to $215 billion should the Graham-Cassidy bill be passed.

Three Republican senators and all Democratic senators vowed to vote against the latest attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, stalling the vote. The effort to change healthcare laws is not over. Parents and advocates of children and adults with special needs must get educated and involved in the healthcare debate. The Affordable Care Act has many problems that need to be addressed, but if you or a loved one is the recipient of Medicaid benefits, speak out to block a disaster and offer a solution.

Nearing Retirement?

If you or your spouse are nearing retirement, take a couple of minutes to look at the details for this upcoming class.

Retirement 101

Attorney Leona E. Filis will join the class and discuss legal aspects of Texas Estate Planning that will assist you in meeting your retirement needs.

Was Your House Damaged by Hurricane Harvey?

If your home was damaged by Hurricane Harvey, start registering with government programs to get assistance.

Carpet from flooded house now in the front yard

For our neighbors who have property damage from #Harvey, 1st – register with FEMA; 2nd – look at qualifying for loan through the Small Business Administration even if you are not a business; and 3rd – contact Texas Health and Human Services (Other Needs Assistance 1-800-582-5233) for help with expenses like moving and storage.

If Hurricane Harvey damaged your house, you might be eligible for rental assistance. Check the following:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, 1-800-525-0657
US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Affordable Apartment Search, 866-641-8102
US Department of Agriculture

Documents for FEMA claims

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FEMA has identified the following list of documents that your insurance company or FEMA may request that you produce in order to prove your loss:
¨ Your insurance policy and its declarations page;
¨ A copy of everything you sent to your insurance company or to FEMA about your claim;
¨ A copy of the notice you sent to the insurance company or to FEMA that notified them that you had sustained a loss;
¨ A copy of everything your insurance company or FEMA has sent you about your claim;
¨ A copy of the insurance company’s written denial or disallowance, in whole or in part, of the claim;
¨ A copy of the signed, notarized Proof of Loss submitted to the insurance company or to the National Flood Insurance Program, as required in the policy;
¨ A copy of any proof of transmittal of the Proof of Loss. This can be a certified mail green card (return receipt), copy of a fax transmittal showing that the document was successfully transmitted, etc.;
¨ Room-by-room itemized estimates from the adjuster (including contractors’ estimates), detailing unit costs and quantities for the items needing repair or replacement;
¨ Replacement cost Proofs of Loss;
¨ Adjuster’s Preliminary Report;
¨ Adjuster’s Final Report;
¨ Detailed damaged personal property inventories, including approximate ages of the items, purchase price, and replacement cost;
¨ Completed Mobile Home Worksheet;
¨ Mobile home title, including salvage title;
¨ Real estate appraisals, excluding land values
¨ Advance payment information;
¨ Clear photographs (exterior and interior) confirming damage that resulted from direct physical loss by or from flood and loss due to other causes;
¨ Proof that prior flood damage has been repaired;
¨ Elevation Certificate, if the building is elevated;
¨ The community’s determination concerning substantial damage;
¨ Zone determinations;
¨ Pre-loss and post-loss inventories;
¨ Financial statements;
¨ Tax records, lease agreements, sales contracts, settlement papers, deed, etc.;
¨ Emergency (911) address change information;
¨ Salvage information (proceeds and sales);
¨ Condominium association by-laws;
¨ Proof of other insurance, including homeowners or wind policies, and any claim information submitted to the other companies;
¨ Waiver, Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), or Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) information;
¨ Paid receipts and invoices, including cancelled checks, that support your out-of-pocket expenses pertaining to the claim;
¨ Underwriting decisions;
¨ Architectural plans and drawings;
¨ Death certificates;
¨ Last Will and Testament;
¨ Divorce decree;
¨ Power of attorney;
¨ Current lienholder information;
¨ Current loss payee information;
¨ Paid receipts and invoices documenting damaged stock;
¨ Detailed engineering reports specifically addressing flood-related damage and pre-existing damage;
¨ Engineering surveys;
¨ Market values;
¨ Documentation of Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) dates;
¨ Documentation concerning substantial improvement, including documents that reflect date(s) of construction;
¨ Loan documents, including closings and settlement sheets;
¨ Evidence of insurability as a Residential Condominium Association;
¨ Franchise agreements;
¨ Letters of representation, i.e., attorneys and public adjusters;
¨ Any assignment of interest in a claim; and
¨ Any other pertinent information that your insurance company or FEMA may request in processing a claim.
Obviously, not ALL of these documents will apply to your claim. But as you go through the list you should recognize those that do apply to your claim, and should be aware of those documents that are in your possession. Gather all of the documents that you have that are on this list and keep them together in one file for use as your claim is being processed. It is better to collect them now and put them in a safe place where they can easily be retrieved. It is much better to set them aside now, rather than having to search for them in a panic the day before a hearing or deposition.
Please keep these documents where you can easily get to them in case they are needed on short notice in connection with proving your claim.

Flood Questions

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The following are questions presented by lawyers trying to help victims of the Hurricane, along with my answers:
Questions presented:
1. Does insurance, specifically FEMA, or the government, recognize a difference between flooding naturally vs. flooding induced by government decisions outside the homeowner’s control, basically picking some homeowners over others through reservoir releases?
Answer to question 1. No.
2. When does FEMA decide to buyout property or issue specific relief for home renovation obligations associated with a natural disaster? A $30k allowance cannot being to cover the cost of damages and many cannot carry a mortgage plus a renovation loan. Any other options out there?
Answer to question 2. FEMA does buyouts whenever it decides to do so. There is no set plan in that regard. The $30,000 figure is for what is called increased cost of compliance benefits. ICC comes into play if the City Engineer issues a written finding that the building was more than 50% damaged due to flood. If so, that triggers an extra $30,000 in benefits payable under the policy to pay toward raising the home to an elevated state. But the $30,000 must still be within the policy’s maximum as stated in the policy. And a maximum policy benefit amount is $250,000 on the building. The policy will cover a detached garage up to $25,000, but that amount covering the garage is included in the maximum policy benefit. In other words, tack on an ICC claim or garage claim, and the maximum amount payable is the policy limit amount. And the maximum policy limit sold under flood insurance is $250,000.
There are no good alternatives, except charity.
3. Many homes cannot be repaired and may be completely gone due to the reservoir releases, not the hurricane. Is there a legal difference for people who planned correctly for a hurricane but could have never anticipated what the reservoir releases would do?
Answer to question 3. For people whose homes flooded not at all due to the storm, but solely because the floodwaters were released from the reservoirs, these people still need to make a flood claim if they have flood insurance. I am discussing the matter with some other lawyers as to whether there are viable claims against the Corps of Engineers for releasing the floodwaters in the manner in which they did. Do not hold your breath on that one. My research on it says NO. But I will get back to you on that. In the meantime, those people whose home flooded solely because of the reservoir dump should just get on with the cleanup and document everything they would anyway for their flood claim. Some top notch lawyers are researching this matter and I will post what their research reveals.

The Changing World of Retirement Planning Seminar

Who can predict that our professional lives will end when we want and how we want?

With proper planning, you can feel more at ease about the unknown.  Find out where to put your pre-retirement savings!

Click here to see more information about our upcoming Estate Planning seminar.

The Changing World of Retirement Planning

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Determine how your assets are distributed with the assistance of an estate planning attorney.


Temporary Extension of Medicaid for Certain IDD Waiver Program Recipients

Parents of Children with Special Needs –

Once your child with special needs comes off a Medicaid Waiver Program list, or becomes eligible for SSI on his or her own, it is of great importance to keep your child’s eligibility for benefits. If SSI is denied or lost, so is Medicaid.

Under certain circumstances, a SSI and Medicaid recipient who loses such benefits may be allowed to temporarily continue to be Medicaid eligible.

To review eligibility terms, click

HHC Texas Information Letter