2017 Workshops are now being scheduled. Visit our Workshops page for more info...

Legal Specialties for Children and Adults with Disabilities and Their Families

Click on any of the substantive legal specialties below to learn more.

Publications and other resource material for families and professionals.

Robert H. Farley, Jr. writes and publishes on disability and disability law regularly. Below is a sampling of currently available articles and publications.

Click here to view more on our main publications page.

Publications and articles are available for reprint by not-for-profit agencies and parents groups; please see reprint requirements on our publications page.

Workshops, Seminars and Presentations

Robert H. Farley, Jr. is available to speak to parents groups, organizations, and agencies on a wide variety of issues related to disability advocacy and disability services. Popular topics include:

  • Adult Services for Developmentally Disabled Persons
  • Waiting List for Services: Fact or Fiction

Click here to visit our main workshops page.

To-Do List for Parents and Guardians of Children with Disabilities

1. Even if you don't need services right now, get your child's name on the State of Illinois Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) waiting list for services even if you do not need them now. The State of Illinois wrote on January 4, 2008 that one of the factors for persons obtaining funding for services is "length of time on the PUNS database." Contact your local Pre-Admission Screening Agency or Independent Service Coordination Agency to get on the waiting list.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of agencies providing services in Illinois.

Click here to learn more about the Illinois PUNS waiting list.

2. Find out what services (outside of the school system) are available for your child's disability from the State of Illinois. Contact your local Screening Agency or Independent Service Coordination Agency as noted in number 1.

For children, some services available include but are not limited to personal support; respite; behavior intervention; therapies; modifications for home, vehicle, and adaptive equipment; and residential services.

For adults, they include but are not limited to personal support; day programming services; residential; respite; behavior interventions; therapies; transportation; and modifications for home, vehicle, and adaptive equipment.

3. Evaluate and Understand Your Child's Assets: Your child should not have more than $2,000 in their name, including any custodial accounts or bonds held by you.

All programs for children and adults with disabilities in Illinois are Medicaid-funded; and, if your child has more than $2,000 in assets or inherits money directly, then he or she may have to spend down these funds to pay for services.

4. Establish a Special Needs Trust - Your child with a disability will be the beneficiary of this trust. Funds in the trust can exceed $2,000, and Social Security, Medicaid, and the State of Illinois will NOT count the funds as your child's assets. An inheritance or life insurance or retirement fund benefits would NOT be given directly to your child but to the Special Needs Trust instead.

Click here to learn more about Special Needs Trusts.

5. On Your Child's 18th Birthday, Apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Your child may be eligible for approximately $674 per month. Your child's benefit will be reduced by one-third if you do not charge your child for food and shelter costs. Consider a Special Needs Trust for the child's assets as your child will not be eligible for SSI if he or she has more than $2,000 in his or her own name.

Click here for more information on SSI.

6. On or Before Your Child's 18th Birthday, Consider Guardianship for your child.

Does your child need assistance making decisions affecting their health, personal welfare, and financial matters?

Click here to learn more about guardianship.

7. Know and Understand Yours and Your Childs Rights to Special Education Services. Your child is entitled to a "free appropriate public education" in the least restrictive setting that provides special education and related services designed to meet unique needs.

Click here to learn more about special education services for children with disabilities.