Reminder: Carnival for Special Needs Kids & Their Families, This Saturday, July 30, at Vassar Field, 11 A.M. – 2 P.M.


Saturday July 30, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM EDT

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Vasser Field (Behind St. Thomas Church and School)
60 Byrd Avenue
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Driving Directions

Dear Bloomfield SEPAC Parents, Families and Friends,

  This is a reminder for the POAC Carnival on Saturday. The weather looks good, and we are looking forward to a great day! Be prepared for a day of outdoor fun with amusement rides, including a trackless train and a car wash to walk through, DJ, and refreshments.
We hope to see you there!


    POAC Autism Services

    “Summer Vacation and The Special Needs Family”

    The following information for Special Needs Families on Summertime and on financial thoughts regarding SSI and your older child’s financial planning comes to us by the kind courtesy of

    Bloomfield SEPAC presents them for informational purposes only.

    Summer Vacation and The Special Needs Family

    The lazy days of summer are upon us. The unstructured nature of the season can provide growth and insight for us and our children. Take this time to reflect on the achievements of the past school year. How has he/she changed since last summer? Are there activities or outings that are now tolerated that last year were a challenge? … and vice versa. Consider current Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. What challenges are you seeing that could be added as additional goals? Socially, academically and self-help skills? Be sure to ask for input from camp counselor or your child’s Extended School Year (ESY) placement.

    Documenting and tracking your concerns has never been easier. One of my favorite tracking apps is “Birdhouse for Special Needs.” This app allows you to log and chart everything from meltdown triggers to hours slept. It’s easy quick and helps keep you on track. You can even invite other caretakers to view and log their observations. With several choices available, the key is finding what works best for you and your family. With this clearer view on your child’s progress, the next step may be to consider an updated Individual Educational Evaluation. While there is no set schedule for private evaluations a good rule of thumb is every 1-3 years or when a parent has concerns regarding placement or progress.

    For more information on how to provide your family with direction, advocacy and knowledge please contact Connie Sproul Bonarigo, with Navigating Autism in NJ, LLC or 201-788-6711.

    Finding the Advantage in Supplemental Income (SSI) Benefits

    How to Qualify Your Child for Government Benefits Using Tax Strategies

    If you plan correctly when your special needs child turns 18 (or 21 if a full time student), your child will be able to have access to both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. However, if you do not correctly plan, your child may not qualify to receive those benefits when he or she needs them most. The main goal is to make sure your special needs child’s assets stay below the SSI countable resource limit. Currently, the limit for countable resources is $2,000 and $3,000 if the special needs individual is single and married, respectively. Most of these benefits usually are not available to your child until they become adults, because your resources will count as the child’s resources and thereby diqualify them from receving SSI and Medicaid. When your child reaches 18 (or 21), then your resources no longer count as your child’s. What you want to avoid is allowing your child to accumulate too much wealth under their name in the early stages of their life and thereby disqualify them from government benefits that they deserve to benefit from when they become adults. Below are tax strategies you can implement to ensure your child stays below the applicable limit in both the early and later stages of their life.

    Supplemental or Special Needs Trusts

    Establish a supplemental or special needs trust. Any money and earnings in the trust if properly structured will not count towards your child’s countable resource limit. A supplemental or special needs trust provides for the needs of your disabled child that are not covered by government needs-based programs. You would make a gift to the supplemental or special needs trust either while you are living or upon your passing as directed by your will to set up the trust. Then you would appoint a trustee whom you can trust to provide the needs of your special needs child.

    ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) account

    Set up an ABLE account. Up to $100,000 put into the account will not jeopardize your child from receiving SSI Benefits. With an ABLE account, you set up a savings account with a state and designate a beneficiary of the account who is disabled or blind. You can make contributions up to the current annual gift exclusion amount (In 2016, $14,000) to the account. The amounts contributed are tax free. As long as the amounts you withdraw from the account are used to pay only for qualified disability expenses, the distributions are tax free.


    Talk to your loved ones interested in providing for your special needs child about gifting in a way so as not to taint your special needs child’s eligibility for government benefits later on life. For example instead of gifting directly to your child encourage them to gift directly to your child’s special needs trust or to their ABLE account.

    How can I learn more about how to qualify my child for government benefits using tax strategies? Please contact Alyssa Rausch, CPA, MBA at Smolin, Lupin & Co., PA. or 862-881-4748.

    Alyssa.jpgAlyssa Rausch, CPA, MBA, is a tax manager at Smolin, Lupin & Co., PA. She is a member of the New Jersey Society of CPAs. Contact her or at 862-881-4748.


    smallsepac (2)

    This is a Roundtable Forum conducted by SPAN, with the various SEPAC Groups in Essex County.  It is a chance to collaborate with the other Groups; see what has been successful that we can make use of and learn things to avoid within our Bloomfield SEPAC.

    The Bloomfield Schools District and Bloomfield SEPAC are delighted to be hosting the SPAN Special Education Leadership Roundtable for Essex County, on Wednesday July. 13, 2016 from 10:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. at the Bloomfield Schools District Administration Building. Registration is FREE and requested, so we know the number of people to expect.

    “Dear Parents and Educators:

    The START Project, SPAN, invites you to the

    Special Education Parent Leadership Round Tables- Northeast NJ Region-July 2016

     This is an opportunity to meet face to face and exchange ideas around what works to enhance and sustain family engagement in schools to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. Strategies to start and run local special education parent groups/advisory groups will be discussed and shared. Come and network with other parent leaders in your county.

    Essex County
    Date:Wednesday, July 13th 2016
    Time:  10:30am-12:30pm
    Bloomfield Schools District Administration Building                
                      155 Broad Street
                      Bloomfield, NJ 07003
                      Free parking available onsite.
    The cross street is Belleville Avenue
    155 Broad Street is approximately 4 blocks off Bloomfield Avenue.
    Bloomfield High School is directly across the street.
    For any questions contact Myriam Alizo at or201-960-7159 “

    P.O.A.C. Family Carnival in Bloomfield – 7/30/16 at VASSAR FIELD.

    POAC Autism Family Carnival Bloomfield July 30, 2016

    Calling All Families of Children with Autism!

    Join POAC for a great Autism family carnival: including free refreshments, inflatable rides, DJ, trackless train, mechanical swings, games and activities for the whole family.  This is for all ages- and everything is free.  Bring your pop up tents, chairs and blankets and have a great time with your POAC family. 

    This is another free recreational event brought to you by POAC.  Please be sure to register all who are attending.

    Register Now!



    Saturday July 30, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM EDT
    Add to Calendar


    Vasser Field (Behind St. Thomas Church and School)
    60 Byrd Avenue
    Bloomfield, NJ 07003

    Driving Directions

    Contact POAC

    POAC Autism Services

    Ensuring Your Special Needs Student is Approved to Use Their Accommodations on College Board Exams


    When your child is in High School and will soon be taking Exams for College, such as the SAT, PSAT, AP Exams, you will want to make sure that they will be approved to make use of the accommodations guaranteed in their IEP that they are familiar with. Be sure to check in with your child’s Guidance Counselor to see if the school has applied for approval of these accommodations.

    There is a very helpful website to help familiarize yourself with the requirements for approval.