Tuesday, June 8, 2021- 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
9:00 - 10:45 am - “Government Benefits” presented by Sherri Schneider
10:45 - 11:00 am Break
11:00 am - 1:00 pm - “Special Needs Estate & Future Planning” presented by Brian Rubin & Benjamin Rubin
1:00 - 1:30 Lunch Break
1:30 - 2:15 pm - “PUNS/Home Base Services” presented by Shirley Perez
2:15 - 2:30 pm Break
2:30 - 3:30 pm - “Navigating Aspects of the Criminal Justice System” presented by Jennifer Hansen
About the Presenters
Matt Cohen, JD, is a private attorney with 35 years experience representing children and adults with disabilities and has represented thousands of students in disputes with public schools and higher education institutions in Illinois and other states. He is founding board member of COPAA (and currently serves on the COPAA board) and served as the chair of the Illinois Attorney General's Committee on Special Education for over 25 years, as well as serving on many other not-for-profit boards. Matt has conducted hundreds of trainings for parents, advocates and educators throughout the United States. He is the author of "A Guide to Special Education Advocacy: What Parents, Advocates and Clinicians Need to Know" and has authored many articles on special education and mental health law.
Jennifer L. Hansen, JD, LLM, is a founding partner with the law firm Hansen & Cleary, LLC. Ms. Hansen focuses her practice in the areas of special education law, school residency, school discipline matters, mental health law, guardianship matters, criminal and civil litigation for juveniles and adults, confidentiality issues, bullying investigations, post-secondary education matters (including appealing post-secondary dismissals), DCFS matters, and domestic relations matters as a Guardian ad Litem, Child’s Representative, and/or Attorney for the Child. Ms. Hansen also represents select public and private schools and provides consultative services to schools and institutions in the areas of bullying investigations, employment investigations, and legislative support. Ms. Hansen is a frequent speaker in the areas of special education law, school discipline, school records, and bullying as well as in the areas of mental health law and DCFS matters. She is also a trained mediator. Ms. Hansen received her law degree from the University of Wyoming in 1998 and her LL.M. in European and Comparative Law from the Universiteit Maastricht in Maastricht, the Netherlands in 1999. She obtained her B.A. in English and Spanish from Carthage College in 1995.
Shirley Perez is the Program Director of the Arc Family Support Network and Ligas Family Advocate Program. Ms. Perez has spent many years advocating and working with individuals and their families with disabilities. She is a business graduate of Metropolitan Business College and Kaplan University. She operated her own business, worked at an ISC Agency where she advocated for and assisted families in locating services by navigating the State system. She has navigated the state system as both a professional and a parent, caring for an adult child with a developmental disability. In conjunction with the City of Chicago, Federal Home Loan Bank and The Illinois Housing Development Authority, she implemented a home-buying program for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. She has worked as a Special Project Advocate with the Illinois Life Span Project; met with families/guardians to explain the transition process and listen to their concerns as their family members’ transition into the community from State Operated Developmental Centers. She self-directs her daughter’s long-term Medicaid waiver services, and has over 40 years of hands-on experience.
Brian Rubin, JD. a former IRS Agent and former IRS Attorney, has been a practicing attorney since 1976, has been married to his wife Linda for the past 42 years, is the parent of three children (42, 39, and 35), one of whom, Mitchell, has Autism. Brian’s law practice, for nearly four decades, since 1982, when Mitchell was one year old, has been dedicated to serving the legal and future planning needs of his fellow Illinois families of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and/or mental illness. Brian is the Immediate Past President (2017-2018) of the Special Needs Alliance, the national, non-profit, association of experienced special needs planning attorneys (membership is by invitation only), and is a Faculty Member and Text Book Author for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) on the topic of special needs legal and future planning, as well as a Speaker for the American Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association on those topics. For more information, please visit www.rubinlaw.com.
Benjamin Rubin, JD, LLM, Brian’s youngest son, Mitchell’s “little/big” brother, has been a member of the Law Firm since 2010. Benji graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law, Magna Cum Laude, received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, and his Graduate Law Degree, an LLM (Tax), with honors, also from Northwestern University. Benji is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, a member, by invitation, of the Special Needs Alliance, is Chairman of the American Bar Association Special Needs Planning Committee, serves as the President of SIBS (Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters), the Illinois chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network, and is the Treasurer of The Arc of Illinois Board. Having Mitchell as a brother profoundly shaped who Benji is today, and thus the type of law he chose to practice. For more information, please visit www.rubinlaw.com.
For over forty years, Sherri Schneider, QIDP, President of Family Benefit Solutions, Inc., and the mother of a child with some special needs, has been tirelessly dedicated to helping individuals with special needs and their families. Her career began as a social worker In a CILA (Group Home), where she helped those with developmental disabilities and mental Illnesses acquire the government benefits they so desperately needed, including SSI, Medicaid and food stamps. She also launched one of the first CLF facilities funded under a Medicaid waiver. As her career flourished, she supervised personnel in Illinois, Missouri and Nevada assist hospitalized patients apply for and obtain the government benefits for which they appeared eligible, with a strong emphasis on Social Security (Title 2), community and long-term care Medicaid. She now meets with families to thoroughly assess their situations and pursue appropriate benefit assistance programs by personally guiding them through the application process. Due to her vast experience, she has skillfully established and maintained open, productive relationships with government agencies involved in the entire decision making process. Sherri is a member of the Faculty of The Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. She is also The Arc of Illinois Board President. Professionals and families find her seminars to be invaluable as they attempt to navigate the government benefit arena.
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