Pages Menu

Blog

Scam Alert

This informative article on scams was written by attorney Seena Gressin of the Division of Consumer & Business Education.

IRS Warns of a New Tax Bill Scam

We certainly understand if the latest IRS imposter scam makes you queasy: it involves a fake IRS tax notice that claims you owe money as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The IRS says the fake notices are designed to look like real IRS CP2000 notices, which the agency sends if information it receives about your income doesn’t match the information reported on your tax return. The IRS says many people have gotten the bogus notices, which usually claim you owe money for the previous tax year under the Affordable Care Act.

For the rest of the article please click the link below.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/irs-warns-new-tax-bill-scam

EL&A In Action

Elder Law & Advocacy Assistance Helps 89-Year-Old Client to Preserve Her Social Security Income

Our 89 year old client with disabilities was charged with an overpayment by the Social Security Administration. Since she had less than $2,000, she and her daughter were perplexed as to why they were accused of being over the resource limit and why her Supplemental Social Security was going to be cut off.

Client’s daughter faxed all of the relevant documents to the EL&A staff attorney. The issue was a burial insurance policy.  After the policy was reviewed, it was clear that the issue had been the “cash value” of the policy, which would count towards the Social Security resource limit. Client was advised by the EL&A staff attorney to apply for a Request for a Waiver.  Client, with the help of her daughter, took their Request for Waiver to the SSA office. The documents were reviewed while they were in the office, and the original decision was reversed. The client was allowed to resume her SSI payments and she was assured that as long as she did not borrow against the policy, no adverse action would be taken. Client and her daughter thanked EL&A profusely for having helped avoid destitution for this 89 year old woman

Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn ReillyCRPHOTO

The election is right around the corner and election fraud has become a concern for some of our older citizens.  While there are legitimate voter registration drives, there are some who may be committing elections code violations using the California Vote-By-Mail Application.  Here is what to look out for:

THE PROBLEM:  An absentee ballot allows you to vote by mail.

You receive a pleasant visit at your apartment complex or home from someone who offers to fill in a Vote-By-Mail application for you.  This nice person offers some money or a little gift in return.  You agree, thinking there is no harm in it, and give them your information.

WHAT TO DO:  Be cautious!

Make sure all of the form is filled in correctly, otherwise the person offering to register you may:

Convince you to register even though you know you are not eligible. This is a form of fraud and is against the law!  Registering to vote or registering another person, knowing you or that person is not entitled to register is a crime.  CA Elections Code Section 18100; Penal Code Section 1170(h)

Choose a new political party preference for you. This is a form of fraud and is against the law!   When someone changes your political party without your permission, they have committed a crime.  CA Elections Code Section 18100; Penal Code Section 1170(h)

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT:

 

The ballot contains the names of candidates and proposed initiatives and is for you to consider and then make your choices.

 

Never let anyone you do not know and trust fill in your ballot for you!

If you have questions or concerns, contact your county elections office:

San Diego County (858) 565-5800

Imperial County (442) 265-1060

Age Prejudice in America

“Age discrimination in employment is illegal, but two-thirds of older job seekers report encountering it.”

Please click on the link/photo below for the full New York Times article.

Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn ReillyCRPHOTO

Many of us want to help the environment.  Others are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.  Some hope to do both.

Door-to door sales and mailers are advertising solar products, energy efficient windows and other energy upgrades, with rebates and various financing options.  These products and deals may sound good but many have problems which can end up costing far more than originally quoted.

Older consumers have contacted us with reports of home improvement contractors using telemarketing and door-to-door sales to misleadingly negotiate the terms of agreements and loans.  Some of these contractors enter consumers into agreements or loans using a cell phone or tablet to obtain an electronic signature, providing no paper documents and giving the consumer no time to review the terms. Some of the financing agreements are through a government program which sets up payment through the homeowner’s tax bill.  These consumers are not aware that the financing becomes a lien against their home and can affect their current mortgage, ability to re-finance and the future sale of the home.

Before entering into any energy upgrade agreement or loan, ask questions and make sure you understand all of the terms.  Make sure you have documents you can review and take the time to review and understand them.  If you cannot get the documents you need or are being pressured into signing before you are ready, walk away.  Call Elder Law & Advocacy at 858-565-1392 for free legal advice from one of our legal services attorneys who can help you understand the legal aspects of that energy upgrade contract.

News Affecting Seniors

By Jaime LevineJLPHOTO

An Evolving Legal Services Model: The Medical-Legal Partnership

 A medical-legal partnership (MLP) combines the health care and civil legal aid communities to address and solve health-harming social conditions. The health care side handles the consequences of poor housing, poor nutrition, and exposure to violence, whereas the legal side works to increase access to housing, public benefits, and safe communities. An MLP consists of attorneys, paralegals, doctors, and other medical professionals working in a healthcare setting to care for and provide a remedy for patients’ health and legal needs. As a team, these medical and legal communities work together to prevent health-harming social conditions for patients and their communities.

MLPs have been created in 292 health care institutions, including 44 children’s hospitals, 73 Health Resources and Services Administration-funded health centers, and an increasing number of institutions that serve veterans and the elderly. The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership conducted many studies on the health impact of combining health care and legal services. Studies have shown that patients are more likely to comply with healthcare treatments when their legal issues are addressed by an MLP.

MLPs have depended on philanthropy and support from various legal and healthcare organizations. Some MLPs are even funded by hospitals. The number of health care funding opportunities is growing. Elder Law & Advocacy is currently researching this issue and plans to partner with an appropriate healthcare entity in the future.

Resources:

http://medical-legalpartnership.org/

http://medical-legalpartnership.org/faq/

Medicare Updates by HICAP

by David WeilDWPHOTO

Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman

With Medicare, you have special rights and protections. There are resources available to you to make sure your rights are protected, including the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman. The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman helps you with Medicare-related complaints, grievances, and information requests. The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman makes sure information is available about:

  • What you need to know to make health care decisions that are right for you
  • Your Medicare rights and protections
  • How you can get issues resolved

The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman also shares information with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Congress, and other organizations about what does and doesn’t work well, to improve the quality of the services and care you get through Medicare. If you’ve contacted 1-800-MEDICARE about a Medicare-related inquiry or complaint but still need help, ask the 1-800-MEDICARE representative to send your inquiry or complaint to the Medicare Ombudsman’s Office. The Medicare Ombudsman’s Office helps make sure that your inquiry or complaint is resolved.

  • Excerpted from the official U.S. Government Website for Medicare – Medicare.gov

EL&A In Action

Elder Law & Advocacy Secures Full Refund for Unused Hotel Stay

Mr. F (age 65) was moving to San Diego. In anticipation of the move, he found a hotel on a travel website. He called the hotel to ensure that he would be able to be in a room on the ground floor, which was medically necessary due to a breathing issue. When they assured him that an appropriate room was available, he booked it using the 3rd party travel website.

When Mr. F arrived at the hotel, he was informed that they had no ground floor rooms. He told the staff that he would not be able to stay and left to find alternate accommodations. When he checked his credit card statement, he had been charged in full for the entire stay – around $1,900. Neither the travel website nor the hotel was willing to work with Mr. F to issue a full or partial refund. He filed a credit card dispute, which was decided in favor of the travel website.

Mr. F met with Attorney Jaime Levine, who read through all the paperwork. Mr. Levine drafted a strong letter to the hotel indicating that Mr. F only booked with them because he was assured that an appropriate room would be available. The letter demanded refund of the full amount that was paid.

Within a week of sending the letter, Mr. Levine received a call from the manager of the hotel, indicating that they would only be keeping one night and that the travel website would be refunding the balance to Mr. F. Two days later, Mr. F received an email from the travel website indicating that they were refunding 100% of what he had paid.

Free Legal Clinic

One Justice will be hosting a free legal clinic on 07/21/2016.

Please click on the flyers below for more information.

Client Outreach Flyer (English  Spanish)_El Cajon July 21 (1)-1

One Justice estará organizando una clínica legal totalmente gratis en 07/21/2016.

Por favor haga clic en el volante indicado para mas información

Client Outreach Flyer (English  Spanish)_El Cajon July 21 (1)-2