Legal and Financial Assistance Resources for Autism Caregivers

Legal and Financial Assistance Resources for Autism Caregivers

Advocacy & Guardianship Attorneys

Access Living

115 West Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 640-2100  

Access Living offers services and support for people with disabilities in Chicago including home and community based services (personal support workers, support group, independent living skills classes, etc.), housing services, youth programs and legal services. 

Addis Greenberg & Schultz, LLC 

Lynda Schultz, GD
633 Skokie Blvd., Suite 220 Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 412-1863

They strive to ensure that school districts provide children with disabilities (from 2 years old to college age students) the specialized needs to which they are legally entitled. For more information about special education law.

Ancel Reiter LLC

Special Education Law
Child & Family Advocacy
Jennifer Ancel Reiter

Marc J. Ancel

Illinois: (847) 707-3460
Indiana: (317) 709-4295

We provide special education legal representation and child & family advocacy services to families in the greater Chicago area and the greater Indianapolis area.  We pride ourselves in the depth of our knowledge, ability, and the personal care we provide to our clients. Call to schedule a free initial consultation.

Center for Disability and Elder Law 

Michael Roth, Executive Director
79 W. Monroe St., Suite 919 Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 376-1885

CDEL provides free legal services to qualified eligible low-income persons with disabilities and special needs. Cost: no fee.

Legal Aid Chicago 

Get Help by Applying Online or calling 312-341-1070

Legal Aid Chicago provides free civil legal services to people living in poverty in Cook County.  Legal Aid Chicago focuses on accessing and protecting benefits for basic human needs. Over 25% of Legal Aid Chicago’s clients are people with disabilities. All clients must be registered by telephone and screened for eligibility through our Client Screening Unit; Phone menu and staff communicate in English and Spanish. 

The Child and Family Law Center

Mary "Micki" Moran
1950 Sheridan Road, Suite 106 Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 926-0101

Attorneys offer assistance to families regarding guardianship, educational law, custody, criminal and mental health issues.

Children's Law Group 

Deborah Pergament
Mary D. Mulay
4732 N. Talman Ave. Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 878-4951 - Erin Collin

Attorneys offer assistance to families regarding school, criminal and mental health issues. Payment plans and sliding scale fees available.

Equip for Equality

20 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 341-0022 or (800) 537-2632

Provides direct representation in negotiations, administrative hearings and federal and state court. Priority is given to systematic and high-impact cases that will benefit the larger disability community. The self-advocacy assistance program provides information and advice to individuals to enable them to advocate on their own behalf or on behalf of a family member. Referrals to other resources are also provided. Accessible formats, ASL, and services in other languages are available. Cost: state-funded

From Advocacy to Action 

Pam Labellarte, special education advocate
231 Bingham Circle Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 401-5053

Serving Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, Cook, DuPage & Kane

Serving Wisconsin counties: Kenosha and Walworth

Special education advocate and parent of two children with a disability. Provides the educational/transition process. Services include: education, peer counseling, 504 plan multiple disciplinary conference (MDC-3 year evaluation, manifestation determination-discipline and mediation).

Hansen & Cleary, LLC

Jennifer L. Hansen
Lara A. Cleary
555 Skokie Blvd., Suite 250 Northbrook, Illinois 60062

Attorneys offer assistance to families regarding special education matters, mental health law, guardianship, and criminal law representation for juveniles and adults.

Julie Pautsch - VISTA Attorney

Children and Families Practice Group
120 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900 Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 341-1070

Provides free legal assitance on education matters (special education, discipline, and access) to qualifying low-income families who reside in Cook County. Parents are recommended to call in early morning to schedule an in-person appointment.


120 S La Salle St, #900 Chicago, IL 60603
312-341-1070 (intake line)

LAF provides free legal assistance in education matters (including special education, school discipline, enrollment, residency, and discrimination) to qualifying low-income families as well as foster children who reside in Cook County. Parents, guardians, and students should call the intake line between the hours of 8:30am-5:00pm to speak with an intake specialist. Intake specialists accept a limited number of calls per day, so it is recommended that potential clients call in the morning.

Loyola Community Law Center Clinic

Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson St., Suite 1005 Chicago, IL 60611

The Community Law Center Clinic serves clients whose main source of income is public assistance or Supplemental Security Income as well as those classified as the "working poor," who are people struggling to meet their obligations even though they have jobs. Cases handled by the clinic focus on family issues (i.e., guardianship, custody), landlord-tenant conflicts and benefit questions. Since its founding, the clinic has represented more than 3000 individuals while providing students with the opportunity to serve real clients with real problems.

Mary Denise Cahill, Esq.

Attorney at Law
1155 S. Washington St., Suite 106 Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 778-6500

Focuses her practice on assisting parents of children with disabilities, specializing in school-related issues. They are highly skilled in student educational placement, Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings, due process, disciplinary matters and educational employment matters.

Cost: $250 (hourly rate).
No wait list.

Matt Cohen & Associates

Matt Cohen, J.D.
155 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 715 Chicago, IL 60601
Office: (866) 787-9270
Cell: (312) 961-4179

Law firm with a focus on legal problems of children and adults with disabilities and their families, including special education disputes, and legal services to mental health and human service providers.

Moran Center for Youth Advocacy


Moran Center’s School-Based Civil Legal Clinic provides free information and legal assistance on a wide variety of non-criminal topics including adoption/guardianship, family law, housing, public benefits, immigration, consumer protection, etc. The civil legal clinic serves families with children attending Evanston/Skokie School District 65. You may complete an intake application online.

Robert H. Farley, Jr., Ltd.

Attorney at Law
1155 S. Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 369-0103

Assists families with children and adults with disabilities. A short video at will inform families how to obtain funding and services for developmentally disabled persons in the state of Illinois and why proper estate planning through the use of special needs trusts is essential to maximize government benefits. Available to speak to parents, groups and agencies at no charge. Workshops are offered free of charge - see web site for upcoming dates.

Special Ed Advocacy Center

Jill M. Dressner
1935 S. Plum Grove Road PMB #274 Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 736-8286

Provides free legal representation to low-income parents and caregivers of children with disabilities seeking to obtain appropriate educational and early intervention services for their child.  SEAC seeks to educate parents, caregivers and school personnel concerning their rights and responsibilities under current special education law. 

Whitted, Takiff & Hansen, LLC

Neal E. Takiff
Jennifer L. Hansen
Shermin Ali-Andani
3000 Dundee Road, Suite 303 Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 564-8662 (Neal); (Jennifer); (Shermin)

Attorneys offer assistance to families regarding special education and mental health issues. No fee for initial consultation.

Early Childhood Supplies

Advocate Children's Hospital - Car Seats for Children with Special Needs


To make sure children are traveling safely, Advocate has certified car seat technicians available to evaluate your needs and instruct on proper car seat installation – at no cost to you. Additionally, Advocate's  team includes certified car seat technicians who can help you find the right restraint to keep your child and their special needs in mind so they can safely travel in a car.

Grant a Wish, Inc

Grant a Wish, Inc offers a number of services for economically disadvantaged families including a baby program, annual holiday gift program, a wish program, a school program, and food program. To learn more about these programs and/or to apply, please click here.

UIC - Transition Skills Tips and Tools: Travel Safety

Provides safety tips on buckling up, using a car, and getting around on your own in the community.

Estate Planning and Financial Advisors

Addis Greenberg & Schultz, LLC 

Lynda Schultz, GD
633 Skokie Blvd., Suite 220 Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 412-1863

Estate planning, disability special needs trusts and guardianships. Hourly rate.

American Income Life 

Chris Ponn, insurance agent
900 S. Frontage Road, Suite 105 Woodridge, IL 60517
(630) 202-7309

Ponn is a special needs advocate and will provide a free at-home consultation along with a child-safe kit. Fee for services; some services provided at no cost.

Brooks, Adams and Tarulis

Richard J. Tarulis
101 N. Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540-4511
(630) 355-2101

Provides services for estate planning, living needs trusts, and wills, as well as uncontested guardianship. Fee-for-service.

Dennis J. McNicholas, Ltd.

425 South Main St., Suite 100 Lombard, IL 60148
(630) 629-0290

Estate planning and guardianships. Free 30-minute consultation. Fee quotes available upon request.

The Elder Law Office of Steven C. Perlis and Associates PC 

Steven C. Perlis
Helen Mesoloras
3345 N. Arlington Heights Road, Suite D Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 818-1138

Special needs trusts, guardianships, estate planning; fee quotes available upon request.

The Estate Planning Law Group 

Kirsten L. Izatt
600 W. Roosevelt Road, Suite A1 Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 871-8778
More information:

Special needs trusts, estate planning, guardianships. Fee quotes available upon request.

Izatt is available to present to parent support groups. Parents will learn "10 Important Steps Parents Must Take To Protect Their Child's Future."

Family Bridges 

Joy Faith Knapp Children's Center
3145 W. Pratt Blvd. Chicago, IL 60645
855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237)

Services include private case management and futures planning. 

The Firm of Per K. Hanson Associated P.C.

Per K. Hanson, ext. 26
Lisa Trevor
2222 Chestnut Ave., #201 Glenview, IL 60025-1608
(847) 486-9960

Law Elder Law

Rick L. Law
2275 Church Rd. Aurora, IL 60504
(630) 585-5200

Estate planning, disability and Medicaid. Free one-hour consultation. Fee quotes available upon appointment only.

Law Firm of Kuczek & Associates

Theodore D. Kuczek, III, attorney
Main Office:  1510 Old Deerfield Rd., Suite 230, Highland Park, IL 60035

Area of practice: Illinois residents; estate planning, wills and trusts with special needs planning

The Law Offices of Brian Rubin and Associates

Brian Rubin
1110 W. Lake Cook Road, Suite 165 Buffalo Grove, IL 60089-1997
(847) 279-7999

Special needs trusts, estate planning, wills and trusts. Fee quotes available upon request.

The Law Office of Cynthia Hayes Hutchins

Cynthia H. Hutchins
620 W. Roosevelt Road, Suite C1 Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 510-0600

Special needs trusts, guardianships, estate planning. Fee quotes available upon request.

Lesser, Lutrey and McGlynn, LLP Law

Edmund R. McGlynn, Jr.
191 E. Deerpath Rd., Suite 300 Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 295-8800

Estate planning and special needs trusts, as well as guardianships

L. Mark Russell, JD  

86 W. King Henry Court Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 991-7451

Drafts documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorneys for health care and property, special needs trusts, revocable trusts for parents (to avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, and manage assets during incapacity), HIPAA releases, and living wills. Advises parents on issues such as guardianship and government benefits at parent groups or conferences. For parents who have a high-functioning child with Asperger syndrome, there is a dilemma in how parent(s) leave an inheritance to their child. Whether or not they should use a special needs trust.

Mary Denise Cahill, Esq.

Attorney at Law
1155 S. Washington St., Suite 106 Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 778-6500

Focuses her practice on assisting parents of children with special needs, specifically on issues of guardianship, special needs trusts, and wills for family members.

Michael Overmann, Ltd.

Michael Overmann
7702 S. Cass Ave., Suite 135 Darien, IL 60561
(630) 810-0316

Estate planning and special needs trusts; Fee quotes available upon request for guardianships.

Mulherin, Rehfeldt and Varchetto, PC 

John Mulherin
211 S. Wheaton Ave., Suite 200 Wheaton, IL 60187-5259
(630) 384-3133

Estate planning, guardianships and special needs trusts.

Neiburger Law 

Ben A. Neiburger, Esq., CPA
747 N. Church Road, Suite B4B Elmhurst, IL 60126
(630) 782-1766

Estate planning, special needs trusts, powers of attorney and guardianships.

Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

Robert F. Obernesser
1225 Corporate Blvd., Suite 100 Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 631-5486

Representative will identify needs and goals while providing solutions on how to provide for the future of their special needs child. Free consultation.

Planning Across the Spectrum


Provides special needs financial planning services and specializes in helping any individual, family, or employer of those with autism and other disabilities to pursue financial independence. Schedule consultation with completing online form.

Robert H. Farley, Jr., Ltd.

Attorney at Law
1155 S. Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 369-0103

Assists families with children and adults with disabilities. A short video will inform families how to obtain funding and services for developmentally disabled persons in the state of Illinois and why proper estate planning through the use of special needs trusts is essential to maximize government benefits. Available to speak to parents, groups and agencies at no charge. Workshops are offered free of charge — see website for upcoming dates.

Spain, Spain and Varnet, PC

Nancy Spain
Richard Spain
Theresa Varnet
33 N. Dearborn St., Suite 2220 Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 220-9112

Special needs trusts, estate planning, guardianships, government benefits and advocacy issues. Cost: fee quotes available upon request.

Strohschein Law Group

Linda Strohschein, ext. 100
Rachel Rupp, ext.106
Eleonora “Lee” Holmes, ext.101
40W310 LaFox Road, Suite K-2 St. Charles, IL 60175
(630) 377-3241

Special needs trusts and estate planning, as well as guardianships.

Waddell & Reed

Ed Scheer MBA, CFP®
1111 W. 22nd St., Suite 100 Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 954-4611

Serving: Cook, DuPage, Kane, & Kendall Counties

Ed is a financial advisor and a father of a son with special needs.  He understands the unique challenges and opportunities families’ with special needs face when setting their financial goals and priorities.  He works in a holistic manner to provide your family with the tools and knowledge for your long-term future. Cost: free consultation. Financial planning and investment advisory services provided on a fee basis. Please call for details.

State Programs

Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS): DRS (Department of Rehabilitation Services)

If you live in Illinois and have a disability, the Division of Rehabilitation Services may be able to help you find a job or live at home independently. To apply for services, begin by completing the online form. Once you have submitted this form, a counselor will contact you to set up an appointment to complete the application process. During this appointment, we will discuss your goals, the nature of your disability, and the services we can provide.

PUNS - Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services 

PUNS is a database that registers individuals who want or need Developmental Disability Waiver services (i.e. Community Integrated Living Arrangements, Home Based Supports, Child Group Homes) funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities. The PUNS database helps the Division of Developmental Disabilities identify and plan for your services. As funding is available, individuals are selected from PUNS and invited to apply for DD Waiver services.

Individuals, along with their primary care giver and/or guardian, must meet with their local Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agency to fill out a PUNS form. To find an Independent Service Coordination agency in your area, you can:

The individual must provide information on their medical condition, living arrangement and desire and/or need for community based services. This will allows the ISC agency, on behalf of the State, to determine whether an individual should the be placed in PUNS or whether they need other services/supports.. Community Crises Criteria – for Children and Adults.

Social Security Income (SSI) – Adult

Adults and/or parents of adults with a developmental disability can apply for Disability benefits online here or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Representatives can make an appointment for your application to be taken over the telephone or at any convenient Social Security office: find your office here.

Social Security Income (SSI) – Child

Depending on your family’s income, you may also be eligible to apply for additional funding through SSI for a child. View all instructions here. Families will need to complete an Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) AND a Child Disability Report. The report collects information about the child’s disabling condition and how it affects his/her ability to function. At this time, the Child Disability Report can only be completed online here. You can contact your local office to schedule an appointment to complete the SSI application.