back to top

Special Needs

Special Needs



If you have a loved one with a special need, you know how important it is to protect their rights and plan for their future.  At Mandelbaum Salsburg, our compassionate and experienced attorneys provide a wide variety of legal services intended to help your family navigate the legal system and maximize the rights and benefits available to individuals with special needs.

Our Special Needs Department Offers A Full Range Of Legal Services For Individuals With Special Needs And Their Families, Including:

  • Special Education & Student Discipline
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Estate Planning
  • Guardianships
  • Disability Benefits
  • Elder Law


We protect the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities.  Your special needs child is legally entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) with individually tailored services and accommodations to meaningfully benefit from his or her educational program in the least restrictive environment (LRE). But what happens when your special needs child is not progressing in his or her program or needs more class support? What happens when the school district decides to take services away from your child? What happens when the school is not following your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP)? What happens when your special needs child is disciplined for conduct related to his or her disability? The school district may make decisions that you do not agree with and you may not know what your legal rights are and what resources available to you and your child.  If that’s the case, you need help from a special education attorney.  Let us help.  Contact us for a consultation.

Our services include:

  • Reviewing educational records, including evaluations, IEPs, and Section 504 plans.
  • Consultation and advice about identification and classification, procedural safe guards, program and placement options, compensatory education, extended school year, related services, and independent evaluations.
  • Attending IEP meetings.
  • Advocacy at mediations and due process hearings.
  • Planning strategy, settlement negotiations, judicial enforcement of settlements and orders, and obtaining attorneys’ fees awards following due process hearings.
  • Consultation regarding student discipline procedures pertaining to disabled students.


Special needs trusts are frequently created by a parent or another family member for a child with special needs even though the child may be an adult by the time the trust is created or funded. Our attorneys draft these trust documents so that the money being provided to the disabled child (the “beneficiary”) won’t be considered as belonging to the beneficiary when the government determines benefit eligibility.  Through a special needs trust, a disabled beneficiary can receive gifts, lawsuit settlements and other funds without being denied eligibility for many income-dependent government programs.  A properly designed and administered Special Needs Trust will serve to supplement public benefits such as SSI and Medicaid without jeopardizing eligibility.  Such trusts can also be set up in a will as a way for someone to leave assets to a disabled relative.  We will help you design a plan to protect such public benefits of your disabled child as well as allow you to protect them for their lifetime.

Our attorneys are happy to discuss the process for setting up a special needs trust for your child that benefits them now and in the future. Contact us if we can help you with this important estate planning tool.


Predicting the future is impossible, but planning the future of a loved one with a disability is a necessity.  From guardianship, to special needs trust, to special needs estate planning – the law is complicated. At Mandelbaum Salsburg, our attorneys can help you and your family plan for the future. Let us help you develop a life plan so you have peace of mind. We will take into account your family’s legal, financial, medical, social and family issues when developing a plan.  Contact us today to set up a consultation.  We are here to help you.

Now is the time to start planning for your loved ones with disabilities. The sooner you make a plan, the better off you and your loved one will be.  When preparing a will, careful planning is essential to ensure that family members are protected, that assets are not needlessly depleted, and that tax exposure is minimized. Consideration must be given to ensuring eligibility, both now and in the future, for services and benefits.

Our services include:

  • Providing your family with estate planning strategies taking into account your family’s particular legal, financial, medical, social and family issues.
  • Working with you to develop a life plan so that primary caregivers will have peace of mind that your loved one with disabilities will be cared for properly when you’re no longer able to do so.
  • Developing estate plans that protect your loved one’s access to government benefits and medical programs.


Mandelbaum Salsburg represents clients seeking to establish a guardianship for an incapacitated parent or developmentally disabled adult.   As your family member approaches his or her 18th birthday, you should consider taking action that will legally appoint you as his or her guardian. By doing this, you’ll be able to act on his or her behalf when making important decisions regarding education, medical treatment, and financial matters.  Guardianship will help you look out for your family members’ best interests and protect him or her from harm.  Our attorneys can advise you on how the guardianship application process work and what information you will need.


Government statistics show that you are much more likely to be awarded Social Security disability benefits when you have an attorney to help you.  Mandelbaum Salsburg assists clients seeking a wide range of disability benefits.  Those who have not worked the requisite time period to qualify may still be eligible for supplemental security income (SSI), a benefit that may be available to disabled children as well as adults.  Additionally, we assist clients with private disability insurance claims that are subject to strict scrutiny and evaluation by insurers and third party administrators.


Elder law is a specialized field of law that focuses on the needs of the elderly, the disabled, and their families.  Using a holistic approach, our elder law attorneys address a wide range of issues that focus on the needs of the growing aging population.  We appreciate the complex financial and social decisions clients face in navigating the maze of government benefit programs, long-term care options, and assisting loved ones with diminished capacity.  As an added benefit to better serve our clients, the Chair of our Elder Law Department, Richard I. Miller, is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Certified by the National Elder Law Foundation, an accredited organization of the American Bar Association.

June 23, 2020Arla Cahill Featured In Special Education Webinar Presented By Family Partners of Morris and Sussex Counties


Read More

11/25/2019Arla Cahill Interviewed on Jersey Matters to Talk about Legal Remedies for School Bullying

Parents have legal remedies against bullying in schools on behalf of their children. Hear what Mandelbaum Salsburg's Education Law Chair Arla Cahill has to say about New Jersey's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act on a recent episode of Jersey Matters with Larry Mendte....

Read More

August 29, 2019Back to School Alert: Students' Rights Under NJ's Anti-Bullying Law

Arla D. Cahill has authored a special Back to School Alert discussing student's rights under NJ's Anti-Bullying Law. Click here to read more....

Read More

June 3, 2019Arla D. Cahill Appointed to the Executive Committee of Employment Horizons, Inc

Congratulations to Arla D. Cahill, Co-Chair of the Firm's Special Needs Practice, who was appointed to the Executive Committee of Employment Horizons, Inc. Employment Horizons was founded in Morristown in 1957 by a group of forward-thinking parents who wanted to expand work and personal growth opportunities for their children with disabilities. Over the years, Employment Horizons has implemented innovative programs to meet the needs and choices of those they serve, both on-site as well as in the community. They provide job training and placement services to people with disabilities and other barriers to employment in the greater Morris County, NJ area. Arla has been active in the organization for a number of years and we know she will continue to do great things....

Read More

March 21, 2019Mandelbaum Salsburg's March 2019 Special Needs Newsletter

Mandelbaum Salsburg's March Special Needs Newsletter is now available. In this issue you can read about what a special needs trust can pay for and kiddie tax changes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Practice Group Co-Chair's Richard Miller or Arla D. Cahill. Click here to read this month's issue....

Read More

March 14, 2019Shawna Brown to Speak at Progressive Comprehensive Services, LLC on Special Needs Trusts Funds, Guardianship and More

Shawna Brown, an Associate at Mandelbaum Salsburg will be speaking at a special interactive family event hosted by Progressive Comprehensive Services, LLC on the ABLE-ACT, Special Needs Trusts Funds and Guardianship. To learn more about this event or to register, click here....

Read More

February 20, 2019Mandelbaum Salsburg's February 2019 Special Needs Newsletter

Mandelbaum Salsburg's February Special Needs Newsletter is now available. In this issue you can read about ABLE accounts, a difficult question parents of adult children with disabilities face, and more. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Practice Group Co-Chair's Richard Miller or Arla D. Cahill. Read more here....

Read More

January 14, 2019Mandelbaum Salsburg's January 2019 Special Needs Newsletter

Mandelbaum Salsburg's January Special Needs Newsletter is now available. In this issue you can read about Pooled Trusts and home-ownership for individuals with disabilities. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Practice Group Co-Chair's Richard Miller or Arla D. Cahill....

Read More

November 7, 2018November Special Needs Newsletter

Our November Special Needs newsletter is now available. This month you will learn about who can set up ABLE accounts, the rise of social security payments in 2019 and more. For any questions you have regarding these and other special needs issues, contact Co-Chair Richard Miller. Click here to read this month's issue....

Read More

September 24, 2018Mandelbaum Salsburg Supports Kessler Stroll n' Roll

Mandelbaum Salsburg proudly supported the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation Stroll n' Roll event held on September 23rd. Arla D. Cahill, Co-Chair of the Firm's Special Needs Practice Group and Associate Brian Block shared with attendees the various ways the Firm can offer legal assistance for those caring for a loved one with special needs....

Read More

13 Feb2017 Mandelbaum Salsburg Year in Review

We are pleased to share our 2017 Year in Review which highlights some of the Firm's notable successes during the last year. We are thankful to our clients who have allowed us to continue doing what we love. We continue to expand our practice areas and bench to reflect our clients needs....

Read More

30 NovSpecial Needs News -- Winter 2017/2018 Issue

The Firm's Special Needs Practice Group has published its Winter 2017/2018 issue! Learn about Disabled Students' Rights under Anti-Bullying Laws, What is a Special Needs Trust, Considerations in Choosing a Special Needs Trust and more....

Read More

22 SepRichard Miller to Speak at NJICLE Program on "Handling Contested Guardianships"

On Thursday October 5th Richard Miller, Chair of the Firm's Elder Law Practice Group and Co-Chair of its Special Needs Practice Group will be presenting as part of a panel on "Handling Contested Guardianships"at the New Jersey Law Center. This NJICLE course will cover what to do when the matter unavoidably ends up in a courtroom. Attorneys can learn tools to effectively represent their clients and learn about the latest cases dealing with guardianships and what the holdings mean to you!...

Read More

19 JunShawna Brown Joins Mandelbaum Salsburg's Elder Law, Trusts & Estates and Special Needs Groups

We are pleased to welcome Shawna A. Brown who has joined the Firm’s growing Elder Law, Trusts & Estates and Special Needs Practice Groups as an Associate. She focuses her practice on estate administration and litigation, including contested and uncontested probate, administration and accounting proceedings. Prior to joining Mandelbaum Salsburg, Shawna was an associate at a New York City law firm where she counseled the Public Administrator of New York County in connection with estate administration. She earned her B.A. from Rutgers University and her J.D. from New York Law School. She is admitted in New York and New Jersey....

Read More

10 MarSpring 2017 Special Needs Newsletter

The Firm’s Special Needs Practice Group has issued its Spring 2017 Newsletter which highlights recent developments in the area of Special Needs Law such as recent Supreme Court decisions, a new child support termination law and its impact on the special needs child and adult,...

Read More

15 FebRichard I. Miller Interviewed for U.S. News & World Report Article

Richard I. Miller, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Special Needs Practice and Member of the Elder Law Practice, was interviewed for a U.S. News & World Report article on tax tips for people with disabilities and their caregivers. The article ran on February 15, 2017. To read the...

Read More

12 JanRichard I. Miller Authored Article For CPNJ Winter 2017 Newsletter

Richard I. Miller, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Special Needs Practice, authored an article for the Winter 2017 issue of "Independent" a newsletter of Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey (CPNJ). The article, entitled "Recent Developments in Planning for Individuals with Special Needs" can be found on...

Read More

To receive current news and events concerning our Special Needs Practice Group, please provide your contact information.


Visit our COVID-19 resource page for incisive legal and business insights.