letter to shareholders.

“I’ll venture a rare prediction,” he wrote in February. “BNSF will be a key asset for Berkshire and our country a century from now.”

Peter S. Goodman and Clifford Krauss contributed reporting.

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Why Is Chicago Against Ketchup On Hot Dogs?

Many Chicago natives say they have the best hot dogs in the country, but is that true? Newsy’s Meg Hilling dug deeper to find out.

Chicago takes its food seriously.  Maybe you’ve heard of their pizza? It’s deeper than yours. And when it comes to their hot dogs — don’t even think about ordering ketchup. 

Chicago’s disgust may be best summed up by Dirty Harry in the 1983 thriller, “Sudden Impact.”  

“You know what does bother me? You know what makes me really sick to my stomach? Watching you stuff your face with those hot dogs. Nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog,” said Harry.

In Chicago they’ve perfected the hot dog. Newsy went to an expert to get the lowdown: Doug Sohn, the founder and president of Hot Dogs Incorporated.

So what makes a perfect Chicago dog?

“That’s easy. You start with a steamed poppyseed bun. It is an all-beef natural-casing hot dog, topped with yellow mustard, a little diced onion, neon green sweet relish, some tomatoes, dill pickle and sprinkle of celery salt, then sport peppers. These little hot peppers,” Sohn said. “That is the classic Chicago hot dog.” 

There’s growing consensus that this is the way to do it. 

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council — yes that’s a real thing — says don’t use ketchup on your dog after the age of 18.  

But why are they so particular?  To be frank, part of it might be that we relish the chance to tell non-Chicagoans they’re doing it wrong. But there might be some food science behind it too. 

A newspaper column from 1991 claimed “ketchup smothers the flavor of the hot dog because ketchup makers add sugar to their products.”

In other words, ketchup would mask the rest of what we have going on. So what happens if you commit the faux pas?

The then-candidate for Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was grilled by locals after ordering a dog with ketchup in 2014. His campaign said it was for a staffer. 

When presidential candidate John Kasich came to town a year later, he made sure not to alienate Chicago voters. 

We’re not saying it could be the difference in an election, but you never know.  

While ketchup on a dog is frowned upon, even true Chicagoans know America is a country of freedoms.  

“Honestly, do whatever you want, but I personally think the flavors don’t match and it’s not gonna be as good,” said Sohn.

“I think that having sweet elements, tart elements, crunchy elements, salty elements to it, really kind of creates this full kind of flavor profile but mouth feel as well. I think it’s one of the rare complete dishes.”

Source: newsy.com

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Sends Migrants To Massachusetts By Plane

Republican governors sent more migrants to Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis took part in the latest tactic Republican governors have employed to push back on what they view as President Biden and Congressional democrats’ inaction on the migrant crisis. DeSantis sent two charter planes Wednesday carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard — a popular vacation spot off the coast of Massachusetts.

“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk and they’re so upset this was happening,” DeSantis said.

The planes, which were carrying roughly 50 migrants including children, arrived around 3pm with no warning, according to local officials. 

Earlier this summer, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas began sending buses full of migrants apprehended at the southern border to Washington D.C., often with no warning. 

“In any one sector in the state of Texas, we have more than 5,000 people coming across that sector every single day,” Abbott said.

On Thursday, two buses carrying migrants also arrived at the U.S. Naval Observatory — the vice president’s official residence in Washington D.C. Those buses came from Del Rio, Texas.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency last week in order to redirect more resources to support the thousands of migrants who have arrived in the nation’s capital from Texas and Arizona. And just last month, Texas Gov. Abbott began sending migrants to New York and Chicago as welll. 

Illinois governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation and has tapped the state’s national guard to help handle the hundreds of migrants being sent from Texas. 

“Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people and when a person comes urgently seeking help here in Illinois we offer them a helping hand,” Pritzker said.

Nearly a dozen busloads of immigrants have arrived in recent weeks in Chicago, with some migrants being relocated by the state to hotels in the suburbs — angering local mayors. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called on the Biden administration to provide more federal assistance in light of Texas’ action. 

“Governor Abbott’s racist and xenophobic practices of expulsion have only amplified the challenges many of these migrants have experienced on their journey to find a safe place,” Lightfoot said.

Source: newsy.com

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Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee Narrowly Wins Democratic Primary

McKee edged out former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who saw a late surge in the polls and won an endorsement from The Boston Globe’s editorial board.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee eked out a victory in his Democratic primary on Tuesday, beating back strong challenges from a pair of opponents as he seeks his first full term in office.

McKee, the former lieutenant governor who became the state’s chief executive a year and a half ago when two-term Gov. Gina Raimondo was tapped as U.S. commerce secretary, will be the heavy favorite in the liberal state in November against Republican Ashley Kalus, a business owner and political novice.

McKee edged out former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who saw a late surge in the polls and won a last-minute endorsement from The Boston Globe’s editorial board. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who was seeking to become the first Latina governor in New England, finished a close third.

“I’m proud to be here,” the 71-year-old governor said in his victory speech. “Because Rhode Island is positioned in a way where we’ve never had this momentum before and we’re going to take full advantage of it.”

In an awkward moment, a phone was handed toward McKee during the speech. When he was told it was Foulkes, McKee said, “No, that’s not going to happen.” As the crowd chanted “four more years,” McKee said, “Hang up on them, hang up on them.”

Foulkes told her supporters she was unhappy McKee wouldn’t answer her call.

In the last primaries before the November general election, voters in Rhode Island were choosing nominees for statewide offices, U.S. House, the state Legislature and local positions. New Hampshire and Delaware also held primaries on Tuesday.

With his victory, McKee avoided becoming the first governor to lose his primary since 2018, when Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer narrowly lost the Republican nomination to Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who went on to lose the general election to Democrat Laura Kelly. Like McKee, Colyer took over when the sitting governor resigned for another job.

In his campaign, McKee touted his leadership in navigating the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic after he was sworn in as governor in March 2021. Foulkes said she would work to find new ways for companies to invest in Rhode Island and help existing companies find new markets. Gorbea argued the state needed better leadership on issues like housing, education and climate change.

Besides McKee, Foulkes and Gorbea, two other Democrats were also seeking the nomination: former Secretary of State Matt Brown, a progressive; and community activist Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz.

Kalus easily defeated her lone Republican rival, Jonathan Riccitelli, whom the Globe reported had been arrested dozens of times since 2000 under a different name, on charges ranging from obstructing police officers to assault, according to court records.

Kalus, who owns a COVID-19 testing company that’s in a dispute with the state over a canceled contract, moved to Rhode Island last year from Illinois and previously worked for former Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. She said Rhode Island needs a fighter like her, now more than ever, because every day gets harder for working families.

In another top race on Tuesday, voters were choosing nominees in the 2nd Congressional District for the seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, who is retiring after more than 20 years representing the district. Langevin was the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress.

State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who was endorsed by Langevin, won the crowded Democratic primary. Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of Cranston, was unopposed in his bid for the Republican nomination. National Republican leaders think this is their best chance to flip the seat in more than three decades. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy visited Rhode Island in August to raise money for Fung.

Magaziner had been running for governor but switched races after Langevin’s announcement to try to keep the seat in Democratic control. Magaziner told supporters Tuesday night that the election is about values and preserving democracy for the next generation.

In the 1st Congressional District, Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline will face Republican Allen Waters in November. Both were unopposed Tuesday. Cicilline is seeking his seventh term.

But the top race in Rhode Island on Tuesday was the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Both McKee and Gorbea benefited from the base of support and name recognition they have gotten since both were elected to statewide office in 2014. Foulkes proved to be an adept fundraiser and spent heavily on the race in her first bid for public office.

Late in the primary, Gorbea’s campaign aired an attack ad to criticize McKee over the awarding of a controversial state contract that the FBI is now investigating. It had to pull the ad because of errors in it, including featuring an article by a conservative commentator who was criticizing McKee on another issue. McKee’s campaign said the governor would continue to rise above dirty politics and false attacks, and show “leadership when it matters most.”

McKee was endorsed by a host of large unions, including those representing teachers, firefighters, building trades and auto workers. He highlighted his efforts to help the state’s economy recover from COVID-19, the gun control bills he signed into law and his efforts to protect access to abortion care.

He had a memorable ad of his own, called “motha,” featuring his 94-year-old mother. As he plays cards with her, he discusses the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19, eliminating the state’s car tax, creating affordable housing and passing gun safety laws to keep families safe.

“Not bad for a year and a half,” the governor says.

His mother, Willa, replies, “Not bad for a governor that lives with his motha.”

During his victory speech, McKee ticked off his accomplishments and asked the crowd, “Are you ready?” He said, “Not bad for 18 months.” Laughing, some of his supporters said Willa’s line, “Not bad for a governor that lives with his mother.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Twitter Whistleblower Testifies Before Congress Over Security Flaws

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
September 13, 2022

Former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko alleges that the social media platform ignored engineers and led them to “prioritize profit over security.”

A former security chief at Twitter told Congress that the social media platform is plagued by weak cyber defenses, privacy threats and the inability to control millions of fake accounts. Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, a respected cybersecurity expert, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to lay out his allegations Tuesday.

“Twitter’s misleading the public, lawmakers” and regulators, Zatko said as he began his sworn testimony.

“They don’t know what data they have, where it lives and where it came from and so, unsurprisingly, they can’t protect it,” Zatko said. “It doesn’t matter who has keys if there are no locks.”

Zatko said “Twitter leadership ignored its engineers,” in part because “their executive incentives led them to prioritize profit over security.”

His message echoed one brought to Congress against another social media giant last year, but unlike that Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, Zatko hasn’t brought troves of internal documents to back up his claims.

Zatko was the head of security for the influential platform until he was fired early this year. He filed a whistleblower complaint in July with Congress, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Among his most serious accusations is that Twitter violated the terms of a 2011 FTC settlement by falsely claiming that it had put stronger measures in place to protect the security and privacy of its users.

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who heads the Judiciary Committee, said Zatko has detailed flaws “that may pose a direct threat to Twitter’s hundreds of millions of users as well as to American democracy.”

“Twitter is an immensely powerful platform and can’t afford gaping vulnerabilities,” he said.

Unknown to Twitter users, there’s far more personal information disclosed than they — or sometimes even Twitter itself — realize, Zatko testified. He said “basic systemic failures” that were brought forward by company engineers were not addressed.

The FTC has been “a little over its head,” and far behind European counterparts, in policing the sort of privacy violations that have occurred at Twitter, Zatko said.

Zatko’s claims could also affect Tesla billionaire Elon Musk’s attempt to back out of his $44 billion deal to acquire the social platform. Musk claims that Twitter has long underreported spam bots on its platform and cites that as a reason to nix the deal he struck in April.

Many of Zatko’s claims are uncorroborated and appear to have little documentary support. Twitter has called Zatko’s description of events “a false narrative … riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies” and lacking important context.

Among the assertions from Zatko that drew attention from lawmakers Tuesday was that Twitter knowingly allowed the government of India to place its agents on the company payroll, where they had access to highly sensitive data on users. Twitter’s lack of ability to log how employees accessed user accounts made it hard for the company to detect when employees were abusing their access, Zatko said.

Zatko also accuses the company of deception in its handling of automated “spam bots,” or fake accounts. That allegation is at the core of billionaire tycoon Elon Musk’s attempt to back out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. Musk and Twitter are locked in a bitter legal battle, with Twitter having sued Musk to force him to complete the deal. The Delaware judge overseeing the case ruled last week that Musk can include new evidence related to Zatko’s allegations in the high-stakes trial, which is set to start Oct. 17.

Sen. Charles Grassley, the committee’s ranking Republican, said Tuesday that Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal declined to testify at the hearing, citing the ongoing legal proceedings with Musk. But the hearing is “more important than Twitter’s civil litigation in Delaware,” Grassley said. Twitter declined to comment on Grassley’s remarks.

In his complaint, Zatko accused Agrawal as well as other senior executives and board members of numerous violations, including making “false and misleading statements to users and the FTC about the Twitter platform’s security, privacy and integrity.”

Zatko, 51, first gained prominence in the 1990s as a pioneer in the ethical hacking movement and later worked in senior positions at an elite Defense Department research unit and at Google. He joined Twitter in late 2020 at the urging of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Illinois Town’s $13 Million Water System Will Remove All Toxic PFAS

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, don’t degrade over time, which causes harm to humans when ingested through water or other products.

Freeport is a small industrial city of 24,000 in northwest Illinois. For a price tag of $13 million, it’s building a new water system to tap deep into new, uncontaminated water sources.

“The most important room is… the filter room,” said Rob Boyer, Freeport public works director, while visiting the construction site. “It is designed to produce approximately 2 million gallons per day of potable drinking water.” 

Boyer says when the “enormous” project is completed sometime in 2023, the city’s drinking water will be entirely free of so-called forever chemicals.

“This is critical to life and health issues in the city and for its residents, and that’s why it’s prioritized,” Boyer said, noting that there’s no contamination in the source water where the new well and plant are being built.

About 10 years ago, the EPA found high levels of forever chemicals in two wells that produced about a third of Freeport’s drinking water.  

Boyer says he can only speculate what the source of the contamination could have been, but that speculation points him to the prevalence of industry in general there.

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are nicknamed forever chemicals because they don’t degrade over time. This group of man-made chemicals have been used in many consumer and industrial products since the 1950s.

“There are over 200 different use categories, ranging from dental floss to clothing to carpets to compostable cookware to all kinds of plastics,” said Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The chemicals were pioneered by conglomerates 3M and Dupont. They’ve been popular because of their resistance to water, stains, heat and oil. 

Since they don’t break down, the are now omnipresent in our environment — and even in our blood. 

“I would say that everyone in our country has them in their bodies,” Birnbaum said. 

Scientists are now linking these chemicals to potential harmful health effects, such as kidney and testicular cancers. But back in 2014, the chemicals’ potential negative impacts were not as well-known.

Still, Freeport officials quickly shut down the two wells with the most contamination. Soon after, they put in motion plans to drill the new well and build the new treatment plant. 

“It is protecting our lives here, and it’s protecting the residents’ lives here,” Boyer said. 

According to the advocacy nonprofit the Environmental Working Group, more than 200 million Americans may be drinking water contaminated with the chemicals. 

Freeport officials tell Newsy their decision to completely revamp the city’s drinking water system puts them on the leading edge of the national fight against forever chemicals, but at what cost? 

Like hundreds of impacted cities nationwide, Freeport is considering joining ongoing litigation against 3M, Dupont and other PFAS manufacturers.

But for now, it’s the residents who bear the health and financial costs caused by pollution most people don’t even know exists.

Source: newsy.com

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AP-NORC Poll: 2 In 10 Report Experience With Gun Violence

CDC data shows a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in metro and rural areas.

About 2 in 10 U.S. adults say they or someone close to them has had a personal experience with gun violence, according to a recent poll that shows Black and Hispanic adults are especially likely to have had their lives touched by it.

The poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 54% of Black Americans and 27% of Hispanic Americans reported that they or a close friend or family member experienced gun violence in the last five years, compared with of 13% of white Americans. Overall, 21% of U.S. adults reported a personal tie to gun violence, such as being threatened by a gun or being a victim of a shooting.

Ebony Brown, a 39-year-old accountant in Atlanta, is among those who has seen gun violence touch those close to her. Her brother was shot to death in 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida, while visiting from college.

“He was at the right place at the wrong time,” said Brown, who is Black.

An acquaintance of a friend pulled a gun during an attempted robbery at a home and shot several people, including Brown’s brother, who she said died instantly. Another person also was slain.

Brown said she doesn’t consider herself a gun lover, but she’s worried enough about becoming a victim of gun violence herself that she’s considering getting a handgun.

“I’m really getting ready to get one. I’ve been to the range,” Brown said. “My dad is a police officer and he wants me to have it.”

The survey was conducted after a stretch of mass shootings across the U.S., from a grocery store in New York, an elementary school in Texas and a Fourth of July parade in Illinois — along with a smattering of incidents of gun violence in cities across the U.S. that don’t always make national news but leave local communities on edge.

Professor Jens Ludwig, who is director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, said the 1 in 5 people with a friend or family member who was a victim of violence was a “strikingly high number.”

It shows that those who experience gun violence “aren’t the only victims,” he said.

Ludwig compared the way gun violence affects entire communities to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the people who died or became very ill from COVID-19 weren’t the only ones affected; kids were kept home from school, businesses closed, and people couldn’t see loved ones.

The same is true with gun violence, Ludwig said. “People are changing the way they live,” he said.

For example, he said, when people who can afford to leave cities where gun violence is a big problem move out in droves, it hurts everyone still there.

He cited Detroit as one example. Gun-related homicides increased from 2016 to 2020, from a rate of 37.6 per 100,000 people to 45.4 per 100,000 people, according to FBI data collected by the pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. Black people were 2.1 times more likely to die by gun homicides than white people, according to the data.

Following a particularly violent summer weekend in Detroit that saw two dozen nonfatal shootings and seven homicides, Police Chief James White denounced the rising gun violence in the city and across the nation.

“We understand these numbers make media headlines, but to us they represent people,” White told reporters. “These represent families. This represents children. This represents husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. Our Detroit families are in pain. Neighbors near the gunfire are shaken and lives have been forever changed.”

While most Americans say they feel gun violence has increased nationwide and in their states, 59% of Black Americans and 45% of Hispanics said that gun violence is on the rise in their communities, compared with 34% of white Americans. Similarly, people living in urban areas are more likely to say gun violence is rising in their communities than those in suburban or rural areas, 51% to 39% to 27%.

That is in line with recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data has shown a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in large and small metro areas and in rural areas. The data found Black people are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and are more likely to be the victims of gun crimes or homicides.

Brittany Samuels, a 31-year-old in Detroit, says she still carries physical scars from being shot at age 14 by her uncle, who she said was bipolar and schizophrenic, and fatally shot her grandmother, one of his coworkers and himself.

She said it has also shaped the way she thinks about gun violence and gun ownership, and she feels it is too easy for guns to get into the wrong hands.

Samuels, who is Black, said gun violence in her community has made her rethink where and when to go places, like skipping Detroit’s downtown entertainment district or certain gas stations as certain times.

“You don’t know if someone is going to rob you at gunpoint or if they are going to have a shootout in the middle of the gas station,” she said. “I don’t go when it’s dark — even if it’s in the morning. And you really won’t catch me at a gas station that’s not lit up.”

Diego Saldana, 30, of Baldwin Park, California, in the Los Angeles metro area, said he found himself facing a 9mm handgun during an attempted robbery six months ago. He feels gun violence is on the rise and believes it’s likely he will be a victim of gun violence again in the next five years.

“I think it’s due to the (poor) economy — people are desperate for easy money,” said Saldana, who is Mexican. “People … are stressing about stuff and expressing it with violence. Everybody is on edge.”

The poll of 1,373 adults was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Planning for Your Retirement, and for a Child’s Special Needs, All at Once

Rachel Nagler, 39, has worked part time since she was 22, but she will never be financially independent, according to her father. She is legally blind with a seizure disorder and mild cognitive impairment, the result of birth trauma.

For her parents, Sam and Debra Nagler of Concord, Mass., planning for retirement required them to focus on Rachel’s future as well as their own.

“She has very limited earning capacity,” Mr. Nagler, 70, said. “The concern is, is this sufficient for her for the rest of her life?”

His wife, who is 68, has been their daughter’s primary caregiver since her birth.

“Nobody knows Rachel, and takes care of Rachel, and knows every need of Rachel, and is on top of everything other than my wife,” Mr. Nagler said. “That’s a worry because she’s not going to live forever.”

For parents of children who have serious disabilities or special needs, the challenges of growing and preserving their wealth are magnified exponentially, and the stakes are much higher. While they are trying to plan for their own retirements, these parents need to simultaneously secure the ‌ stability of a son or daughter who will be dependent on them‌ until — and even after — their deaths.

“We want to make 100 percent sure that after we’re gone, there’s no issue,” Mr. Nagler said.

Under the best of circumstances, caring for an adult child with special needs is physically and emotionally taxing. As these parents age, the question of who will house, feed and drive their son or daughter after they no longer can becomes an urgent one.

But not all parents in this situation are aware of the myriad challenges they face. “Getting them to understand that they need to think differently about their retirement in this scheme of things is a key step. And it’s not simple,” said Mary Anne Ehlert, a certified financial planner and founder of Protected Tomorrows, a financial planning firm that specializes in families with special needs.

For example, Ms. Ehlert said, she has to consider a multigenerational time horizon for these clients’ portfolios. “We might be a little more conservative, but we still need growth. We need growth longer,” she said. But a conservative-leaning asset mix has drawbacks, too. “Conservative doesn’t always give us the growth we need,” she said. In addition, many families opt for a portion of their portfolio to be in cash or cash-like liquid investments in the event that their child suddenly needs a new piece of expensive equipment, like a speech-assistive device.

Often, one spouse will sideline a career or leave the work force entirely to provide care, reducing their own ability to save for retirement. These families find their budgets strained by a host of ancillary costs: paying for gas to drive their children to therapy appointments and day programs; buying supplies like adult diapers and waterproof bedding, compression tights to promote circulation, specialized diets — the list goes on.

Even when the disabled individual qualifies for public health assistance, finding affordable, adequate housing is especially difficult. Some people require supervised care in a group home, while others need in-home care in a dwelling modified to accommodate physical limitations. In both cases, waiting-list times are measured in years.

As a result, many parents feel they have no choice but to keep their son or daughter at home, said Harry Margolis, an estate planning lawyer near Boston who works with families with special needs. “Often, they’re still living with parents even when everybody’s getting older,” he said.

This can be expensive in terms of lost opportunity costs. To spare their child the upheaval, parents might forgo the opportunity to downsize into a less-expensive or more accessible home while they are still healthy enough to do so.

Since most of the public benefits available to special-needs and disabled people are administered at the state level through Medicaid, parents of a special-needs child might not be able to move to a state with a lower cost of living. Doing so could mean the adult child would lose access to their benefits and be placed at the bottom of waiting lists for services in a new state.

Some families, however, move to states that offer more generous benefits, even if it means a higher cost of living. “That’s a real struggle for these families, particularly as Mom and Dad age,” said Debra Taylor, founder of Taylor Financial Group in Franklin Lakes, N.J. “Some look to relocate to different states because some states are more hospitable than others.”

Douglas and Susan Rohrman moved out of the Chicago area five years ago, alarmed at the declining health of their daughter Liz, who suffered a traumatic brain injury just before the age of 2. Now, 38, the younger Ms. Rohrman has a host of physical challenges, including partial paralysis that impairs her mobility and ability to swallow and cognitive impairment.

“Liz was not getting great care in Illinois, so it was time to sell the house and move everything,” Ms. Rohrman, 74, said. “I researched this up the wazoo.”

The Rohrmans moved to the San Diego area because resources such as housing and day programs were more readily available. But when Covid struck, the couple felt that the only way they could keep their daughter safe — she had been hospitalized with pneumonia three times in 2019 — was to take her out of the care home they had moved her into just a few years earlier, the one they’d uprooted their lives for.

It was an enormous adjustment in responsibilities, but also in finances.

“When we were doing our taxes, I sort of sat down to see where my money was going. And Liz is a large part of it,” Ms. Rohrman said, ticking off items for which she has to pay out of pocket now that her daughter is living at home.

For example, swallowing difficulties mean that the younger Ms. Rohrman has to have a thickening agent added to her water. That alone costs several thousand dollars a year, her mother said, and there are a host of other unique expenses, such as for stabilizing footwear that helps her daughter walk. “I came up with like $9,000, not counting everything I buy at the grocery store and Walmart,” she said.

Mr. Rohrman, 80, had deferred his retirement at a law firm several years to keep earning income, but he stopped working when the family moved. The combination of much higher expenses, a drop in income and a flagging stock market demanded they re-evaluate their finances.

These financial struggles are magnified for single parents. “Care is inevitably more expensive when you have a single parent,” Ms. Taylor said, because they have to rely much more on paid caregivers.

Laura Weinberg, 59, became the sole caregiver for her son Will, who is autistic and nonverbal, when her husband, a lawyer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I was in the weird situation of being widowed when I was 38, dealing with a 4-year-old who was a danger to himself,” she said. She was also a caregiver for her ailing mother and maintaining the family home in northern New Jersey. “I was overwhelmed,” she said.

“Estate planning was confusing and extremely expensive when I started to put a toe in the water,” she said. “I got all kinds of wrong information.”

Ms. Weinberg said she would like to have speech-assistive equipment for her son so that he can communicate, but the cost is prohibitive. Instead, she has pieced together a solution with an iPad and specialized apps. “It’s more modest than it might have been, but some of them are in the many thousands of dollars,” she said.

For parents of special-needs children, retirement planning and estate planning have to take place in tandem. Special-needs trusts and life insurance policies in one or both parents’ names are two of the most commonly used tools. Both have to be structured in compliance with the complex eligibility regulations for public health benefits, since many are means-tested.

Mr. Margolis said that even wealthy families have to navigate the byzantine landscape of government benefits, because many of the services available, including housing, are administered entirely through these programs. “In order to qualify for S.S.I. and Medicaid, in most cases you’re limited to $2,000 in countable assets,” he said.

“For a disabled individual, a lot of time, maintaining eligibility is critical,” said Joellen Meckley, executive director of the American College of Financial Services’ center for special needs. “I can’t tell you how many times family members, with the best of intentions, will name a disabled adult child as a beneficiary, not understanding that getting that money could immediately jeopardize their ability to access public benefits,” she said, referring to parents’ wills, retirement plans or life insurance policies.

This makes it imperative that money intended for a disabled individual be held in a specialized financial instrument such as a special-needs trust.

The money in a trust can go toward quality-of-life enhancements for the special-needs individual like cable TV, a cellphone or computer, better food, care providers and rent or utilities, without jeopardizing their public benefits, Mr. Margolis said.

There are two main categories of special-needs trusts. First-party trusts are established with assets that belong to the individual. The drawback is that these trusts have a payback clause: After the individual dies, any money remaining in the trust goes to reimburse the state for the cost of their care over the years.

Third-party special needs trusts are established and funded by someone else for the benefit of the disabled individual. “A third-party one takes in the assets of other people, like gifts, inheritances or life insurance proceeds,” said Brian Walsh, senior manager of financial planning at SoFi.

These trusts are often funded or supplemented with parents’ life insurance proceeds. “A lot of times, life insurance can be used to kind of create a funding source when one or both of them passes away,” Mr. Walsh said.

A “second-to-die” life insurance policy is a frequently used tool. Both members of a couple are covered under it, and the policy pays out after the second spouse dies, providing a more affordable option than insuring each parent separately.

“The purpose of this policy is that it’s going to pay out a death benefit to fund the child’s remaining needs no matter when the parents die,” Mr. Walsh said.

Since the funds in these trusts are generally conservatively invested, experts say the final challenge is making sure that the amount in the trust will provide an adequate income stream.

Getting that balance right is something that the Rohrmans, in California, struggle with.

When Mr. Rohrman stopped working, that meant not only paring back household spending, but revisiting their investing strategy as well.

“We’re financially very conservative. We know we can’t be like we were in our 30s and 40s in terms of our investment mix, spending and so forth,” Mr. Rohrman said. “We think about it a lot. We don’t let it dominate us.”

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