Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Everything looks fine now, but how do we know that Life Services will be around when we are gone and our children really need the program? that the quality of the program will not change? that replacements will share the vision and passion of the current administration?

  2. Why does Life Services require an initial membership contribution?

  3. Is an attorney necessary in an agreement between Life Services and our family estate?

  4. Is it a good idea to have our other children, or other family members, carry primary responsibility for our handicapped son or daughter when the primary caregivers are gone?

  5. Why is protecting the entitlements of government programs so important?

  6. What can we do if we do not have the minimum estate of $100,000 to leave Life Services for the benefit of our child?

  7. Can my other children receive any financial benefit from this program?

  8. What happens if we set up a plan for our disabled daughter and she dies before we do?

  9. How can I be sure that my disabled son or daughter will live in suitable housing when I am no longer here?

  10. Life Services maintains its main office in New York City. How do I know that the care my son receives will be adequate if he lives elsewhere in the country?

  11. Can Life Services assist in developing an investment or insurance program to meet our needs?

  12. What alternatives do I have in lifetime planning?

  13. How much does it take to start a program?

  14. What services does Life Services provide to a person with a disability if a trust is set up for him?

  15. Who can tell me if the Life Services program is working well?

  16. Can I obtain legal advice from Life Services?

  17. What are Partnership organizations?


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  1. Everything looks fine now, but how do we know that Life Services will be around when we are gone and our children really need the program? that the quality of the program will not change? that replacements will share the vision and passion of the current administration?

    Life Services has established itself for the long term by providing outstanding leadership, a superior model of service and a financial base that will enable it to carry on for many years.

    While there are no guarantees in life, Life Services has set up many safeguards to ensure its perpetuity and quality:

    1. The Life Services Board of Directors, a distinguished and experienced group of family members, business leaders, clergymen, and human service professionals, is charged with the legal responsibility for making sure that all programs function at the current high standards of service. They regularly monitor the program and guarantee its quality and continuity.

    2. The Life Services Strategic and Succession Plans provide the "blueprint" for a smooth transition of officers and the perpetuity of the organization.

    3. Life Services is monitored by federal and state governing bodies and annually audited by an independent accounting firm. Detailed annual reports go to the Internal Revenue Service, New York State Department of Charities, New York State Department of Law, the United States Office of Professional Management, Human Service Charities of America and other governing groups.

    4. Life Services has accumulated the resources to financially sustain the program for many years.

    5. The Life Services program provides ample opportunities for families to build a long and trusting relationship with the program staff. By staying connected, families monitor the program, suggest changes and, in time, find peace of mind regarding the future of the organization and their children.

    6. Partnership Organizations around the country also have a stake in seeing that the Life Services program continues for many years to come.

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  2. Why does Life Services require an initial membership contribution?

    Setting up a Life Services membership requires collecting and recording information about the person with a disability in the Planning Journal; selecting a Partnership Organization to provide services; and "matching" and training a Personal Advocate. Life Services must keep up-to-date on the person's life situation so that upon the death of the last caregiver, the organization can quickly move into a program of service and make informed and appropriate decisions on behalf of the person with a disability. This initial contribution helps to defray some, but not all, of the initial costs.

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  3. Is an attorney necessary in an agreement between Life Services and our family estate?

    This decision is up to each individual family. If you have a trusted legal or financial advisor, we encourage you to have that professional review all documents.

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  4. Is it a good idea to have our other children, or other family members, carry primary responsibility for our handicapped son or daughter when the primary caregivers are gone?

    Our experience over many years suggests that brothers and sisters are usually not the best people to carry the primary responsibility for a handicapped family member. Often, family members find that their own circumstances change, they need to move to other parts of the country, or their own growing family responsibilities require full attention. Furthermore, many primary caregivers and siblings feel that it is an unfair burden to place on other children, and are pleased that Life Services offers an alternative arrangement. We have observed that changing a family member's role from brother or sister to caregiver often robs both individuals of the joy of the special familial relationship.

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  5. Why is protecting the entitlements of government programs so important?

    Government programs serving a person with a disability today include a variety of vital services, such as public housing, Medicaid, health coverage, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, and a choice of educational and work training programs. These programs can be worth as much as $30,000 a year to a person with a disability and are often the means to a satisfactory quality of life. They must be preserved and protected.

    The entitlements for these programs often change. Therefore, their maintenance requires constant vigilance to make sure that the person with a disability receives all of the services to which he is entitled. Without knowledge of these programs, many individuals can lose their entitlements and have the quality of their lives diminished by this loss. Persons with disabilities who have financial resources of their own (usually more than $2,000) must spend their own money before they are entitled to most government services. Life Services places a high priority on keeping informed about government programs and ensuring their full utilization.

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  6. What can we do if we do not have the minimum estate of $100,000 to leave Life Services for the benefit of our child?

    Life Services will assist families in setting up individual plans for the best use of their money if they have less than the required minimum amount. Most banks will not establish trusts for individuals for less than $300,000. Smaller amounts of money can be used in a program that may work through relatives or other non-profit service organizations. Life Services charges no fees for this service.

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  7. Can my other children receive any financial benefit from this program?

    No. The Life Services program is set up to benefit the family member with a disability only. Legal and regulatory responsibilities cannot be carried over to other non-handicapped children. Any funds left to Life Services for the benefit of the handicapped individual are for that individual alone.

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  8. What happens if we set up a plan for our disabled daughter and she dies before we do?

    Life Services will return the face amount of the contribution to the donor if the person with a disability dies before the primary caregiver(s). This amount is returned without interest since the interest earned would have been used to benefit the person with a disability.

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  9. How can I be sure that my disabled son or daughter will live in suitable housing when I am no longer here?

    Housing is the primary consideration in all planning. The Life Services staff and Partnership organizations have a good working knowledge of housing options for persons with disabilities in each community and are able to respond to changes when they occur. Individual living circumstances are constantly evaluated by the Personal Advocate and improved when necessary.

    Aging families with aging adult children are encouraged to help find appropriate housing for their children while they are able to do so. Having the family involved in the selection of a housing arrangement helps the person with a disability make the adjustment to the new situation and gives the family some peace of mind.

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  10. Life Services maintains its main office in New York City. How do I know that the care my son receives will be adequate if he lives elsewhere in the country?

    The Life Services program is national in scope. Personal Advocates and Partnership organizations throughout the United States work cooperatively on the individual care of each person in the program. The Partnership organization is responsible for the person with a disability living in its community; however, the Life Services staff working out of the office in New York City monitors all services. Regular communication is maintained between the New York office and the Partnership organization serving each individual member.

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  11. Can Life Services assist in developing an investment or insurance program to meet our needs?

    Life Services does not sell insurance or recommend investment programs. References to reputable insurance brokers and companies, financial advisors and/or investment counselors who are familiar with the Life Services program are available. Life Services has no profit motive in its activities. Any recommendations are aimed at helping families create the assets they will need to participate in the Life Services program.

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  12. What alternatives do I have in lifetime planning?

    Most families with a handicapped family member have only two alternatives: (1) develop a lifetime care program within their own family or circle of friends or (2) enter the Life Services (or a similar) program. In the first instance, families will need to work with an attorney, financial advisor and person who can serve as a trustee or guardian to create a plan. This process is complex and expensive, especially for families with limited resources. Life Services makes the process easier, having already established workable financial, legal and service programs. The Life Services structure and staff have proven effective; member families tell of their satisfaction and of the high level of comfort and security they enjoy. These families understand that a national non-profit organization is the best choice for maintaining the highest quality of life for their loved ones when they are gone.

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  13. How much does it take to start a program?

    The minimum trust investment for the Life Services program is $100,000. Larger gifts are suggested for a more adequate lifetime care program to benefit the person with a disability.

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  14. What services does Life Services provide to a person with a disability if a trust is set up for him?

    Life Services provides oversight and advocacy for the lifetime of the person with a disability.

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  15. Who can tell me if the Life Services program is working well?

    Life Services will provide you with several names and phone numbers of current members. You are welcome to contact them to find out how the program is working for their disabled family members.

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  16. Can I obtain legal advice from Life Services?

    Life Services cannot provide legal advice (such as the preparation of legal documents); however, generally recommended and appropriate legal steps are reviewed as a part of the future planning process. When requested, Life Services will provide the names of lawyers familiar with the needs of the disabled and their families in selected areas of the country.

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  17. What are Partnership organizations?

    Local organizations serving persons with disabilities (such as United Cerebral Palsy, Association for Retarded Citizens, Easter Seals, etc.) contract with Life Services to provide oversight and advocacy services to persons with disabilities beyond those normally provided through funding by government or voluntary charitable contributions. Life Services pays the local Partnership organization from the assets a family has left in a trust or other program.

    This arrangement makes it possible to operate on a national basis and to "shop" for the best local services for the benefit of the person with a disability. The Partnership organization then has a "paying customer" (Life Services), who will see that the quality of services is maintained.

    Upon the death of the person with a disability, Life Services shares the remainder of a trust with a Partnership organization.

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DO YOU HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?
DO YOU WANT TO SPEAK WITH A CURRENT LIFE SERVICES MEMBER?
WRITE OR CALL US TOLL FREE AT 800/995-0066.








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Disabled and Alone / Life Services for the Handicapped, Inc.

National Office
1440 Broadway, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10018-2326
Phone: (212) 532-6740 | (800) 995-0066
Fax: (212) 532-6740