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Globe Features Disabled Rights Advocate’s Final Campaign Against Estate Recovery

The Boston Globe in “A Massachusetts disability rights warrior’s posthumous last battle against estate recovery” describes disabled rights advocate Joe Tringali’s fight to limit the reach of MassHealth estate recovery. As described in the article, Tringali was a quadgriplegic due to a neck injury that he incurred as a teenager when he dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool. He survived for the next five decades with the help of personal care attendants who assisted him with bathing, cooking and dressing.

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From the very first, Tringali was a rights advocate, campaigning for wheelchair accessible dorms at Boston University. He continued his advocacy for many years with the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Amherst. Tringali’s last cause was to fight for legislation to limit MassHealth estate recovery to the minimum required by federal law. He was working on this campaign when he passed away in December.

We have already written about the inequity and disparate impact of estate recovery, how it only applies to those who have little enough to qualify for MassHealth and who do not seek legal advice to shelter their assets, usually their home.

Tringali, in fact, exemplifies this. He did seek legal counsel and, according to the article, and was able to protect his home for his partner so it passed to her without being subject to estate recovery. He had, however, hoped to leave the value of his wheelchair-accessible van to his stepdaughter, but that seems unlikely to occur.

Tringali’s State Senator Joanne M. Comerford has introduced legislation to limit MassHealth estate recovery, S.726/H.1168, An Act Protecting the Homes of Seniors and Disabled People on MassHealth. We previously described the legislation and what you can do to support it in this post.

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