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sd-trainer

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  1. My dad left me a Special Needs Trust. He left my brother and his girlfriend both regular trusts. I receive disability (SSD), not SSI. I don't know why he set up a SNT. My dad left the girlfriend as Trustee. I am a fully independent adult (the same as my brother). A year ago, I hired a worker for my place. In a bizarre twist of things, the girlfriend secretly withdrew $15,000 from my trust and began to write checks from the trust to pay the worker. I had no knowledge of this. When it came time for the worker to submit his invoice to me, he told me he had already been paid. I only met the girlfriend about 10 years ago. She has never paid for anything. I have paid for my own home, utilities, expenses, etc. for my entire life. I was furious when I discovered this. I do not want to use my trust to pay for odds and ends. Nor, do I want this woman to make any decisions about my money. When I asked for an explanation, I expected an apology. Instead, she said, "Its my right by law". I don't know what she meant by this. When I pushed farther, she told me she would not discuss it and stopped speaking to me, cutting me off from my family, holiday events, birthdays, etc. I have no communication at all, including no accounting from the Trust. Is it even legal for a trustee to use money from my Trust without discussing it with me? What if she decides to use my money for something else she decides is in my best interest? I have requested an accounting of the Trust as well as all withdrawals. We will see what I get.
  2. I had difficulty receiving my bank statements for over four years. I complained to the bank over and over. Meanwhile, someone was committing fraudulent activity in my bank account . They withdrew funds by using the same check over and over, somehow used my ATM without using my actual card, and had merchants withdraw funds via my account routing number. I had no idea any of this was going on. I had concerns but when I called the bank to ask, they told me there were no problems. By the time I found out there were issues (thousands and thousands of dollars) they told me it was too late for them to do anything. They did admit that some ATM withdrawals were not me. My phone password had been compromised, I asked for new statements and yet, I never got any help. I went into the actual banking center time after time for advice as to what to do. After 5 times (different branches), my account was still open and no one had done anything. Finally, I just closed the account and opened a new one. It took a ridiculous 3 hours! At last, I was done. A month later, I called the bank to find out why I still had not received statements and why I was not getting my direct deposit into my new account. The "agent" would not speak to me because the security questions she asked me were all about my old account: What was my old account's ATM card #? What was the check # from my old account a year ago? What was going on? I found out that the bank had re-opened my old account, allowed my direct deposits to go to my old account and then froze it so that I could not get my deposits out. In addition, they allowed my insurance company (who had automatically withdrawn from my old account) to automatically withdraw from my new account. I had never given them permission to do so. And, lastly, there was a fraudulent auto-withdraw on my new account. What the heck is going on here? How much of this is illegal and what steps do I take to get out of this?
  3. Whoops! You are absolutely right! The Federal Fair Housing Act does apply to housing! Forgot to mention that in my soapboxing! Still, the rules for housing are not a whole lot different than they are for ADA rules for Service Dogs. At any rate, Its a good idea for everyone to review BOTH websites, especially FAQ about Service Dogs. Because of the mess of Fake Service Dogs, its good to know what Service Dogs are about. Also, please understand the difference between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs. They are all very different.
  4. I can help with this issue! You do not need an attorney. Just go to the Americans with Disabilities Website- Service Dogs Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html#cert This sounds like a case of FAKE SERVICE DOG SYNDROME! While it is true that someone with a disability, if qualified, is allowed to train their own dog, your tenants can't merely wave a magic wand and designate their dog as a Service Dog. Service Dogs are highly trained ASSISTANCE ANIMALS. They are specifically trained for people with a disability. There are LAWS that they must follow. Here is an example: The dog must be trained to perform 3 tasks related to the disability: These are tasks such as, pull a wheelchair, alert to seizures, retrieve items (for a paralyzed or sick person, for example), alert to high blood pressure or high blood sugar (diabetes). Be aware that there are a number of scams going on from the INTERNET. People purchase fake Service Dog IDs, Service Dog "certification", Service dog "documents". They will wave these in front of an unsuspecting merchant. Since the public is completely uneducated about Service Dogs, they will accept these fake documents rather than face punishment. The truth is, there are NO SUCH THING as Service Dog IDs, Service Dog "certifications", or Service dog "documents". There is no standard that evaluated all Service dogs except private schools who train their own dogs. This is why it is so confusing. I would go on that it goes without saying that the dog must be well-mannered but FAKE SERVICE DOGS have gotten so out of control that now I have to comment on that. The dog must be impeccably trained. This means, voice control, as well as leash control. The dog must understand training and have a good relationship with the handler because the dog has to think independently in order to assist the disabled person (sometimes, the dog has to "disobey" in order to make the correct decision for the handler (example: A guide dog who will not cross the street when a car is coming). IE: If a person is yanking their dog around by the leash or collar, or the dog is bouncing around like a maniac, or they have to control their dog by barbaric means such as using a prong collar (a metal collar with metal prongs sticking into the dog's neck) or worse, a SHOCK collar (now renamed "stim collar", and a number of ridiculous other "cover up names"), the DOG IS NOT TRAINED but merely subdued by pain. So, how do you know if a dog is a Service dog or a fake? By law, you ask the handler. What task does your dog do for you (Not what is your disability)? By observation, see how the dog is handled. Is he well-mannered, does the handler seem to know what s/he is doing? There are no excuses for bad behavior (some dogs do have an off day) or using pain to control a dog. Service Dogs do not need to be "controlled". They can be "managed" such as by using a leash. They have a job to do. They should be trained to be able to do their job without intervention. The dog should be well-socialized, friendly with people but not eager to socialize. Socializing is for off-duty. No signs of aggression, snapping, growling, or anything but a friendly demeanor are appropriate. SD are not required to wear identifying equipment. Sometimes, the more a dog is "decked out" in uniform, the more suspicious I find it. Real Service Dog handler teams do not show off. They are quiet, often are never seen. If someone makes a big deal out of their dog's status, keep it in mind. Doesn't mean the dog isn't legit, either. A puppy in training is not a Service Dog. It is a Puppy in training. Therefore, it does not qualify for Service Dog exemption. You could make an exception if this turns out to be a puppy for a disabled person. That would be the ethical thing to do. But first, consider whether the disabled person understands what their dog is trained for. Who is doing the training? What methods are they using? What is the dog being trained to do and why? In general, the average person is not a good dog trainer for the average dog. Most people do not understand how to train, how to reward, and how dogs think. People don't want to take the time to work on training every day. They are stingy with rewards (dry biscuits at best-yuck) and are not consistent with training. Eventually, training dwindles down and the owners come to terms with not having trained their dog. So, they love their dog despite that she jumps on people, barks, does not come when called, etc. With that in mind, the average disabled person is not the ideal person to train their own dog for special training needs for the same reasons. Unless they have extra experience, training a Service Dog requires many more hours of one on one work, an understanding of how to communicate with the dog, and the ability to train a dog to think for itself. So, when your tenant tells you their dog is a Service Dog. Ask yourself if they are capable of accomplishing all of that. Meanwhile, Everybody go to the ADA Website and read the FAQ about Service Dogs. Its a great way to learn About the law and can help you answer questions the next time any Service Dog issues come up in your neighborhood.
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