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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...

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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...

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EL&A In Action

Elder Law & Advocacy Assists with Securing Refund for Over-Charges at Mortuary Mrs. B (79 years old) was seeking legal assistance with payment for burial services. Mrs. B had prepaid for 15 burial plots, burial accessories, services, and various fees for herself and her family. Upon the death of her mother, she was charged for services and fees for which she had already paid. Upon the death of her daughter a few years later, she was again charged for fees, services, and burial accessories for which she had already paid. The memorial park refused to refund these amounts, stating in its response letter to the client that the prepaid amounts did not cover the current rate, as some of the fees were considered labor fees and could only be charged at the time of need. Attorney Sharon Lee reviewed all of Mrs. B’s documents, contracts, certificates, and other documentation, and researched the applicable law. Ms. Lee drafted a strong letter to the memorial park to demand a refund for...

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EL&A In Action

EL&A Assists Client with Debt Settlement Mr. K came to Elder Law & Advocacy with a debt settlement issue. Mr. K, a senior living alone and on a fixed income, had an outstanding debt with Bank of America for about $3000. Mr. K received an offer from B of A in the mail that stated that if he were to pay $1700 immediately, B of A would accept that amount in settlement of the entire debt. The offer said that Mr. K would have to call a certain phone number to accept this offer of settlement. Mr. K presented the letter to the teller at his local B of A branch, told the teller that he wanted to accept the settlement offer, and paid the full $1700. However, the B of A teller simply applied the $1700 to Mr. K’s account, and B of A continued to pursue Mr. K for the remaining $1300. A contract is an agreement between two parties that is legally enforceable. A simple example of this would be an agreement...

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EL&A In Action

EL&A Advocates for Client Harassed by Home Monitoring Company The client, an 84-year-old widow who lives alone, called about an issue with a home alarm monitoring service. In 2013, shortly before her initial three-year term with the home monitoring company was about to expire, she was visited by a sales representative from another monitoring company. When the representative came to her home, the client assumed that he was with her current monitoring company. The client’s husband was still living at that time, and with two separate incomes they could afford to continue the alarm monitoring service. The client expressed concern to the representative that should she experience circumstances in which she could no longer afford the monitoring fees, she could cancel the contract. The representative assured her that she could cancel under those circumstances. In 2015, the client’s husband died, which caused a significant financial hardship for her. She called the monitoring company that had her most recent contract in order to cancel, and when she received no response,...

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EL&A In Action

Client Recovers Twice Her Damages in Auto Repair Fraud Settlement Pursuant to an eve-of-trial settlement, a single 78-year-old San Diego woman recovered twice the amount of money she alleged was taken from her in an auto repair scam. After bringing her vehicle to a well-known local auto repair chain to diagnose a rough idle, the Client alleged she was subject to thousands of dollars of unauthorized repairs that did not fix her vehicle.  Additionally, the repair chain required her to pay for all the purported repairs in cash, then returned the Client’s vehicle with the same rough idle the repair shop should have fixed. The Client further alleged that the repair shop repeatedly refused to refund her money, then offered to give her money if she agreed not to report the repair shop’s conduct to a state oversight agency. Because the sum of money she gave the repair shop was equivalent to about 10% of her annual income, the Client feared for her financial security.  The Client’s stress was...

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