The Future of Mental Health Institutions

Peter Nielsen photoThe Future of Mental Health Institutions

By: Peter Nielsen, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Student Intern

The most recent round of school shootings once again has the topic of mental health featured in headlines across the country. Although both state and federal governments provide a variety of mental health programs, there is one end of the spectrum of mental health treatment that has been almost completely abandoned in America. The largely forgotten and most intensive area of mental health care is inpatient hospitals. Continue reading

What to Be Aware Of When the Social Security Administration Awards Your Client Back Pay

Scott Robertson photo

By: Scott Robertson, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Student Intern

Social Security disability claims can take a long time to process.  Thus, in a lot of cases where a client is awarded Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based upon disability, the Administrative Law Judge will award past due disability benefits back to the date when the initial application was filed.  Unfortunately for the client, back payment funds may only be used for certain expenses and the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that a benefits payee substantiate each purchase made with the funds.  This restrictive policy, along with other quirks in the process of obtaining and using the back pay can be frustrating, confusing, and generally troublesome for clients. Continue reading

Lawyers as “Connectors”

Sutton Freedman photoLawyers as “Connectors”

By: Sutton Freedman, Spring 2018 HeLP Legal Services Clinic Student Intern

Working in the HeLP clinic, even for just a few weeks that I have, has given me a new perspective on what lawyering can mean. My partners and I have been working on preparing an appeal for Social Security disability benefits—something I knew nothing about before beginning my work in the clinic—for a child that suffers from several health problems. Despite the seriousness of the child’s conditions, the Social Security Administration denied the family’s initial application as well as their second bite at the apple, the ‘request for reconsideration.’ The next phase of appeal involves requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge, a process that requires us to gather evidence from a variety of sources. This includes both general and special education records from the child’s school, as well as medical records from the child’s doctors, counselors, and specialists over the last several years. In order to prove that the child is entitled to disability benefits, we need all of those records, as well as all of the documentation from the client’s local Social Security office.

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Saving for College – Which Investment is Right for You? Part V ESA and Custodial Accounts

By: Abigail Warren, Fall 2017 IAC Student Intern

This final part to the college savings series covers two alternatives to 529 Plans – Coverdell Education Saving Accounts (ESAs) and Custodial Accounts.  While both accounts offer more investments options than 529 Plans, each one has distinct characteristics. Continue reading

Investor Advocacy Clinic Comments on FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-34 Concerning Non Attorney Representatives in FINRA Proceedings

IAC Professor Nicole Iannarone filed a comment in response to FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-34, seeking information non-attorney representatives (NARs) representing investors in FINRA proceedings, earlier this week.  In her comment, available here, Professor Iannarone described the difficulties regular investors face in finding legal assistance in FINRA proceedings and recommended funding to sustain and grow the investor advocacy clinic program to ensure investors have high quality representation in FINRA claims by licensed attorneys.  Professor Iannarone further discussed protections that could be put into place to ensure all investors have access to justice even if their only option for representation is through NARs.

Translate This!: “I managed to make a capital gain off my sold stock!”

By: Julio Perez, Fall 2017 IAC Graduate Research Assistant

By now, we can piece enough clues together to more-or-less understand what a capital gain is; namely, a gain to an investor’s initial capital. Indeed, capital gain is defined as the profit that comes when an investment is sold for more than the price the investor paid. In order words, if you buy a share of stock for $2.00 and sell it for $2.01, you just made a capital gain.

So great, I hope you enjoyed this post of “Translate This!”. No, of course that’s not all there needs to be said. Perhaps the second most important concern to an investor after making a profit from their investments is how to lose as little of that profit to taxes as possible. Your capital gains (and capital losses, if you sold your stock at a loss) are usually reported while filing your income tax, which means that the IRS, and not the SEC, is in charge of regulating this part of the process. Continue reading