On December 13, President Obama signed a healthcare spending bill called the 21st Century CURES Act. This new law included a provision supported by NSSTA that allows individuals to set up their own special needs trusts. This small change to the Social Security Act enables a person to petition the court to establish a special needs trust without an outside trustee. Under the previous law, only the court or a legal guardian could establish a special needs trust.
With the results of the election this week, January is sure to bring big changes to Washington D.C. The installation of a new administration and new elected officials will present NSSTA and our members with opportunities for outreach and education. We will continue to work with the partners that we have in Washington while reaching out to Congressional Representatives that may not be familiar with the work we do to promote structured settlements as part of a comprehensive settlement plan.
On Monday, October 3, several NSSTA members participated in the 2016 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Consumer Protection Seminar in Phoenix. Attendees included officials from the Offices of Attorney Generals in all 50 states as well as lawyers, lobbyists and consumer advocacy representatives.
NSSTA Board of Directors Member John Mcculloch participated in the meeting as part of a panel discussion titled “Factoring and Structured Settlements.”
With the presidential election only a few weeks away, candidates are spending a lot of time and money to educate the public on their political agenda. Whoever is elected to the highest office in the nation, we can expect changes to occur in all areas of government. For NSSTA, tax reform is always an urgent issue. This is especially true in these times of large scale changes in our governing bodies. Protecting the income tax-free status of structured settlements is a priority that we focus on 365 days a year.
One of our biggest goals at NSSTA is to keep settlement payments income tax-free for victims of injury and illness. We work to accomplish this by educating our elected officials on the benefits of structured settlements. Through the efforts of NSSTA and our members we continue to build a team of advocates and allies that support the use of structured settlements as a tool for financial security.
As an organization, it is important to us that the value of structured settlements as part of a settlement plan is promoted and protected. Our entire membership works hard to ensure that once these settlement plans are in place for injury victims, they are not unraveled by companies using predatory tactics to target our claimants. The uphill battle we sometime face is made easier by our strong industry partnerships. Today we would like to highlight the partnership we have formed with the National Consumers League (NCL), and thank them for their contribution.
As the new Communications and Marketing Director at NSSTA, my goal is to promote NSSTA and all our members as the go-to resource for Structured Settlements information and expertise. By making our work more visible to external audiences, we can raise awareness about the difference between using structured settlements as part of a comprehensive settlement plan to benefit claimants, and the predatory factoring that people think of when they hear the words "structured settlement."
On March 23, more than 50 structured settlement industry leaders attended the 2016 American Association of People with Disabilities Leadership (AAPD) Awards Gala in Washington, DC. This year, 22 members of the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA) contributed $80,000 to the AAPD.
On March 16 The Washington Post printed an editorial titled, “Maryland lawmakers should crack down on the structured-settlement industry to prevent the theft of poor people’s futures.”