Aging & Law in West Virginia
A weblog of news in law and aging in West Virginia, brought to you by West Virginia Senior Legal Aid.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Thursday, February 05, 2015
Eligibility charts for QMB, SLMB, LIS
Thank you NCOA for these easy-to-use charts of eligibility criteria for programs for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. In particular, here are the numbers updated to reflect the 2015 poverty guidelines for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Specified Low-Income Beneficiary (SLMB), which help pay some Medicare Part B beneficiary costs, and Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) which help pay some beneficiary costs for Part D drug plans.
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Scam Alert: bogus calls claiming to be IRS
Senior West Virginians, be on the alert. It's tax time, and a scam that has appeared cyclically over the years is rearing its ugly head again lately. A caller claims to be an Officer with the IRS and says that you owe taxes. It may or may not be preceded by a letter that appears to be from the IRS, too. The caller may be aggressive and make try to make you feel urgency to pay a reduced amount to prevent a lawsuit. No government agency will ever call you to tell you that you owe money. If you actually owe any debt to the government you will only ever be notified by mail, and your legal rights to dispute the matter will be at least briefly explained in the letter. Like any other caller, you should never give any personal or identifying information over the phone. Any legitimate creditor, whether a government agency, a utility company, a credit card company, or other, will respect your request to communicate with you in writing only. Please consider reporting to the IRS if you receive a call like this impersonating an IRS agent. If www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml If you are not sure and want to verify with the IRS whether or not you owe any taxes you can call them at 800-829-1040. Please also consider sharing this information with people you know. Talk to other seniors, families, and people who work with seniors about how this scam works. You may be able to help prevent a senior from being victimized by spreading the word so she is alert to the possibility from the very beginning of such a call. For more information from the IRS about these scams see www.treasury.gov/tigta/press/press_tigta-2015-01_home.htm
Friday, January 30, 2015
Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2015
The following figures are the 2015 HHS poverty guidelines which were published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2015.
Gross Yearly Income
Gross Monthly Income
For more information about the guildelines see http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/15poverty.cfm
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Regular WV Legislative Session begins 1/14/15
Our state legislature meets annually for a regular 60 day session. This year's session begins 1/14/15. Here below are important dates from this session. You can print the legislature's schedule at www.legis.state.wv.us/Bulletin_Board/calendar_2015.cfm
2015 LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR
First Day - January 14, 2015: First day of session. (WV Const. Art. VI, §18)
Twentieth Day - February 2, 2015: Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review bills due. (WV Code §29A-3-12)
Forty-first Day - February 23, 2015: Last day to introduce bills in the Senate and the House. (Senate Rule 14), (House Rule 91a) Does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills. Does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.
Forty-seventh Day - March 1, 2015: Bills due out of committees in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.
Fiftieth Day - March 4, 2015: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills. (Joint Rule 5b)
Sixtieth Day - March 14, 2015: Adjournment at Midnight. (WV Const. Art. VI, §22)
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Monroe County jury verdict for damages including punitives for 98 yr old financial exploitation victim
Three cheers for attorney John Bryan for winning a civil jury verdict for $325,000 in damages including $175,000 in punitives for fraud, conversion, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty by Betty B. Brown, a former bank executive.
The victim, 98 year old Isadora Beavers, had given power of attorney to Brown, a trusted financial professional, who then abused it and deeded Beavers' real estate to herself among other breaches of her fiduciary duty.
What is remarkable about this case is that it got pursued to verdict, not that the abuse occurred. Sadly older West Virginians are exploited financially by people in positions of trust frequently. And it can be very difficult for the victim to get her money and property back. Often the trusted perpetrator is a beloved family member, a friend from church, a helpful neighbor, or as in this case a professional who is presumed by all including the victim to be trustworthy. It may take a long time for the victim to even recognize she has been exploited by a clever perpetrator. The victim may not be believed when she tries to get help. The case may be complicated to pursue. The assets may already by gone. The victim may be dependent for various kinds of help or companionship from the perpetrator. Like domestic violence, the exploitation is likely to have been a gradual incremental kind of abuse that started almost unnoticeably small.
Financial exploitation is both a crime and a violation of civil law. Often it takes multiple entities working together to make the abuse stop, get justice, get remedy, and hlep the senior get back her independence. These can include civil legal services, law enforcement and proscutor, adult protective services, community senior services, homecare and other disability services, benefits providers, bank personnel, Postal inspectors, Medicaid fraud investgators, healthcare providers, long-term care ombudsmen, and others. Did I leave you out?
For more information about this case please see this article from the Beckley Register Herald http://www.register-herald.com/news/former-bank-exec-is-liable-in-elder-abuse-suit/article_3e3ca648-16fd-5699-b17f-087b400697aa.html?mode=jqm
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
LIEAP Low Income Energy Assistance Program 2015 Info Sheet
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources LlEAP FACT SHEET FY 2015
The FY 2015 Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LiEAP) is administered by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Children and Families, Office of Children and Family Policy, Division of Family Assistance. The program provides assistance to lowincome households in meeting the costs of home heating. Funding for the program is made available through a federal block grant, and use of the funds is subject to federal regulations.
The opening and closing of the Regular LlEAP component will be announced as appropriate. The Emergency LlEAP component will open following the close of Regular LlEAP and will continue until remaining funds are exhausted. The program is subject to closure without advance notice. This assistance is offered only during the heating season.
In order to be eligible for LlEAP, a household must be responsible for the cost of home heating, and the total gross monthly income of the household must fall within certain eligibility guidelines. (Some types of income may be excluded for LlEAP).
The maximum allowable gross income levels for LlEAP FY 2015 are listed below:
|HOUSEHOLD SIZE||MONTHLY ALLOWABLE INCOME|
|1 Person Household||$1 ,265|
|2 Person Household||$1,705|
|3 Person Household||$2,144|
|4 Person Household||$2,584|
|5 Person Household||$3,024|
|6 Person Household||$3,464|
|7 Person Household||$3,904|
|8 Person Household||$4,344|
|9 Person Household||$4,784|
|10 Person Household||$5,224|
|For each additional person, add $440.|
Applications from ineligible households will be denied. Individuals who are denied may reapply, providing the program is still open, or may request a fair hearing. Once the program closes, applications will no longer be accepted, and those received by mail after closure will be denied. All applications will be processed within 30 days after receipt by DHHR or one of the agencies authorized to accept LlEAP applications, or after the date the program opens, whichever is later. Approved payments will be made directly to a vendor where appropriate.
Where to Apply
Application forms may be obtained from local DHHR offices, Community Action agencies, or senior centers after the program opens. Targeted households will receive an automatic payment or an application by mail prior to the opening date of the program. The application form will also be available on the DHHR website at https:llwww.wvinroads.org /i nroads/. Applications may be mailed to or dropped off at a local DHHR office or made in person at any of the above locations after the program opens. LlEAP forms must not be mailed to home heating providers, as this will delay the application process. DHHR will make the final decision regarding eligibility.
The following items are required to process LlEAP applications and must be included with or attached to any application mailed to DHHR:
1. Name, Social Security Number, and birth date (not age) of each household member (anyone living in the home at the time of application).
2. Proof of all household income (earned and unearned) when any household member is employed (check stubs, award letters, employer statements, etc.). If no one is employed, the amount of any unearned income must be entered on the application.
3. A recent heating bill, showing the account number, or bulk fuel receipt, as appropriate. If a bill or receipt is not available, other documentation of the monthly heating cost must be provided. This may include receipts from last winter, providing there has been no change in address or heating source, or a note from the landlord or utility provider.
4. If the household claims zero income, applicants may be asked to provide statements that document how living expenses have been met at least 30 days prior to the date of application, and that home heating costs are not being paid by someone not in the home.
5. A telephone number where the applicant can be reached or can receive a message. If any additional information is required to process the application andlor determine eligibility for LlEAP, applicants will be contacted and allowed at least (10) business days from the date of the request to obtain and return the requested information. Individuals applying in person are asked to bring the verifications to the interview.
Application for Emergency LlEAP must be made in person at a DHHR office when a household receives a termination notice from the home heating vendor or runs out of, or is nearly out of, bulk fuel. Applicants must verify that this is a true home heating emergency as defined by DHHR policy. Any additional information required to determine eligibility must be provided within five (5) business days from the date of application. Failure to provide requested verification will result in denial of the Emergency LlEAP application. Households may be referred for energy conservation andlor money management counseling when available.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT LlEAP OR TO OBTAIN AN APPLICATION, CONTACT A LOCAL DHHR OFFICE, COMMUNITY ACTION AGENCY OR SENIOR CITIZEN CENTER OR CALL THIS TOLL-FREE NUMBER: 1-800-642-8589.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
West Virginians, do you have input about the future of senior services?
The WV Bureau of Senior Services is planning for the future and interested in your input. Survey here https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8YDNYPF
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
UPDATED 12/1/14 Silver Alert issued for Belington woman
UPDATE: On 12/1/14 Valerie Kay Robinson's body was found and has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's office. The Barbour County Sheriff's Department has issued a silver alert for a Belington woman. Valerie Kay Robinson, 57, of Belington was last seen at 5:30 p.m. at her residences on Centre Street in Belington. Robinson suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Robinson is 5'2”, 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white sweater, black dress pants, a Native American style headband, and was carrying a green purse. If you have any information on Robinson's whereabouts, please contact the Barbour County Sheriff's Department 304-457-5167.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Public hearings on 17% rate increases for WV electric customers
West Virginians served by Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power, American Electric Power’s (AEP) operating electric utility providers in the Mountain State can attend a series of upcoming public hearings, as the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (WV PSC) considers approval of a proposed 17 percent rate hike that will impact approximately 476,000 customers in 23 West Virginia counties.
Earlier this year, AEP filed a request with the WV PSC for a $226 million increase in current rates and charges for their West Virginia customers. The filing also includes a requested revision of AEP’s depreciation rates.
The WV PSC will host a series of public hearings on this rate case (WV PSC Cases #14-1152-E-42T and #14-1151-E-D) in five communities:
Bradshaw: Wednesday, Nov. 5
1 p.m. & 6 p.m., Bradshaw Community Center.
Princeton: Thursday, Nov. 6
1 p.m. & 6 p.m., Mercer County Courthouse, 1501 Main St.
Huntington: Thursday, Nov. 13
1 p.m. & 6 p.m., Cabell County Courthouse, 750 5th Ave.
Wheeling: Thursday, Nov. 20
1 p.m. & 6 p.m., Ohio County Courthouse, City-County Complex, 1500 Chapline St.
Charleston: Monday, Jan. 12, 2015
1 p.m. & 6 p.m., Public Service Commission of WV, 201 Brooks St.
The WV PSC will hold evidentiary hearings on the case January 13 – 16, 2015 in Charleston. Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power customers may submit comments online at www.psc.state.wv.us by selecting the “Submit A Comment” link, or mail public comment to the West Virginia Public Service Commission, 201 Brooks Street, PO Box 812, Charleston, WV 25323. (Reference PSC Case Number #14-1152-E-42T and #14-1151-E-D).
- See more at: http://states.aarp.org/wv-psc-sets-public-hearings-on-proposed-aep-17-percent-rate-hike/#sthash.sctFu9X6.dpuf
- Thank you AARP WV for putting together this information for publication http://states.aarp.org/wv-psc-sets-public-hearings-on-proposed-aep-17-percent-rate-hike/
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Training: Improving Services to LGBT Older Adults
The WVU School of Social Work in partnership with the WV Bureau of Senior Services and SAGE Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders is offering a day-long training:
Improving the Quality of Services and Supports Offered to LGBT Older Adults by Aging Network Providers
November 7, 2014 8am-5pm Monongalia General Hospital Conference Center, Mylan Room, Morgantown, WV Approved for 8 Social Work hours,7.5 LPC hours,9 Nursing hours, and 8 Gerontology Practitioner Certificate hours (4 hours Social Policy and Aging and 4 hours Psychosocial Processes and Mental Health)
Cost: $85 (early bird rate of $76.50 by October 10, 2014)
Kathi Boyle, Coordinator of Older Adult Services at PERSAD Center in Pittsburgh, PA will be the trainer for the workshop. Ms. Boyle is a certified trainer through the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging www.lgbtagingcenter.org/ *Participants will understand the culture, specific health risks, and health disparities impacting the elderly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) population. *Participants will learn how to expand and change current policy and practice areas to ensure safety, quality and inclusiveness of services for this population *Completion of the training includes agency listing in a searchableonline database for LGBT consumers at www.lgbtagingcenter.org/training/agencies.cfm For more information or to register, go to http://socialwork.wvu.edu/ce and click on the Registration Form link. You'll need to fill in the information about this particular workshop, the form is generic for all the workshops offered this year.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
WVU Festival of Ideas present 97 yr old photojournalist John G. Morris
October 8, 2014
The Erickson Alumni Center
John Godfrey Morris is the most influential photo editor of his generation. His work with Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, among many other influential photojournalists, can be seen in the iconic images from Life, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and National Geographic that define the visual memory of the 20th century. At 97 years old, he hasn’t slowed down, spending his time as a freelance writer and editor working for peace.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Senior Legal Aid's Greatest Hits
We've served over 12,000 senior West Virginians over the past 15+ years. We've gotten questions about a broad variety of civil legal issues: consumer, healthcare, landlord/tenant, home ownership, family law, planning for incapacity, disability rights, elder abuse, nursing home, Social Security and other benefits, even paternity. From soup to nuts. I don't think we've ever gotten exactly the same question or problem twice.
But there are a few answers and advice that keep coming back, at least to prevent future problems if not solve the current one. Here are a few of those old chestnuts:
- Don't sign anything you don't understand or haven't read carefully. It might seem obvious but people do it and call us with the regrets. If you don't feel comfortable reading it yourself, get somebody your trust to read it for you. If you're being pressured to sign without carefully reviewing, it's probably a bad idea, don't do it.
- Neither the credit card company nor their collection agents can garnish your Social Security. So there's not likely any reason to keep talking to them when they call after you've already told them you can't afford to pay the bill. There's nothing you can say that will change that situation. The debt won't go away merely because you can't pay it, but they won't get paid if what little you get each month and have is protected by law from collections.
- When filing a complaint focus more on the solution than the problem. The more specific you can be about what you want to have happen now the more likely you are to get it. Rather than rehashing what already happened, what they did that wasn't right, trying to figure out why people do things you don't like, try making it easy for somebody to say "Yes, let's do that, that's a reasonable solution."
- Don't pay people up front for work, pay after the work is satisfactorily completed. Reputable contractors have credit they can use for materials. Disreputable ones don't. The lowest bidder on the job is not likely to do the best work.
- Get it in writing. Not only will it help prove your case if a problem arises, it prevents a lot of problems. When you each see the specific terms of an agreement you might realize, that's not what I thought you meant, or I didn't realize there would be these other costs, too.
- The law can't make a bad _________________ (landlord, boss, neighbor, etc.) into a good ____________________ (landlord, boss, neighbor, etc.). The law is mostly designed to get you compensated if somebody harms you, and you can prove it, and they have resources to pay. The law does not prevent people from lying, being mean, doing stupid things, violating your rights, or all the other bad things people do to each other. Only the Magic 8 Ball knows why people act the say they do. "They can't do that, can they?" Apparently they did, so yes, they can. The question I can answer better is how can you exercise your right to make it stop and try to get them to pay you for the damage.
Oh, there are so many more of these, maybe it merits a Part Two post sometime. Til then, here's hoping your neighbors, bosses, landlords, in-laws, merchants, banks, and spouses treat you with the kindness and respect you deserve!
Friday, August 15, 2014
Happy 10th Birthday, Aging & Law in WV Blawg!
Make a wish, blow out the candles, we've reached the double digits! It's hard to believe it's been 10 years that we've had this blawg going, but here we are. Looking forward to the next 10! Thank you to every reader, and special thanks to our community partners for your continuing support: the WV Bureau of Senior Services, Northwestern Area Agency on Aging, Upper Potomac Area Agency on Aging, Metro Area Agency on Aging, Appalachian Area Agency on Aging, the federal Administration on Aging, each of the 55 county senior center programs, the Aging and Disability Resource Centers, WV SHIP, the Alzheimer's Association, AARP, Legal Aid of West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living, the West Virginia Advocates, WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities, the Regional Long-term Care Ombudsman, the West Virginia State Bar, and many more.
Monday, August 04, 2014
Special Thanks to the WV Fund for Law in the Public Interest!
West Virginia Senior Legal Aid (WVSLA) has had the great fortune of hosting two Public Interest Fellows this summer. The WV Fund for Law in the Public Interest (WVFLIPI) provided the funds to pay two students from WVU College of Law to work for us full-time for 10 weeks. They will be finishing up their Fellowships next week, and we will be sad to see them go! They have done fantastic work for senior West Virginians this summer.
They are finishing up elderlaw projects to make sure the information we offer to our individual clients and on our website and in publications is accurate, relevant, and understandable. This includes the annual update of our Frequently Asked Questions publication and the creation of a new legal guide for LGBT senior West Virginians. Creating and maintaining these resources wouldn't be possible without the great work of our Fellows.
In the past 2 months our Public Interest Fellows have helped us serve the legal needs of 156 individual senior West Virginians from 42 counties across the state. 98 are female, 58 are male. 128 live below 200% of the federal poverty line, 73 live below 100% of the federal poverty line. 24 were over 80 yrs old, 48 were between 70 and 80, 84 were between 60 and 70 years old. 6 were victims of financial exploitation. Legal issues clients presented included insurance, planning for incapacity, torts, problems with drivers licenses, nursing home rights, landlord/tenant, home ownership, taxation, long-term care Medicaid, Medicare coverage denials, grandparent rights, spousal support, divorce, utilities, warranties, dealing with debt and collections, and more.
We reviewed documents, drafted documents, negotiated with adverse parties, assessed for eligibility for benefits, gave referrals for representation, provided printed legal information, and gave personalized legal advice to answer legal questions and resolve legal problems.
Thank you to WVFLIPI and to Brown Holston and Laura Lee Partington for helping all these WV seniors protect their homes, their incomes, their access to healthcare, and their personal autonomy.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Increase in WV civil filing fees and new filing fees as of July 1, 2014
This year the WV Legislature enacted SB 458, a bill that increased various fees payable to by Circuit Court clerks for filing civil actions, effective July 1, 2014. The general civil filing fee in Circuit Court went from $135 to $200. Crossclaims, counterclaims, and third party intervenor motions which never had filing fees before now also require a $200 filing fee. No party is required to pay more than one of these filing fees in a particular action.
The $200 filing fee also applies to some family court petitions. The change does not affect petitions for divorce, separate maintenance, or annulment which still cost $135 to file or petitions for modifications for custody or support which still cost $85.
Magistrate court filing fees did not change, though the new fees apply to motions to remove cases from Magistrate Court to Circuit Court.
Of course, the increases and new fees do not apply to any person who gets a filing fee waived for being low income.
The revenue from the new fees and fee increases goes to the Fund for Civil Legal Services for Low Income Persons.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
free webinars on post-DOMA legal changes
A year after the Supreme Court decision in United States v Windsor, federal agencies have been issuing rules that affect same sex couples regarding programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, and Medicaid.
The National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) offers this two-part webinar series where participants will learn what’s happened since the decision and what’s still needed to ensure the rights of LGBT same sex couples are fully recognized by the the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Social Security and SSI Post-DOMA: Changes for Same Gender Couples? DATE: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 TIME: 2:00 PM EDT Presenter: Gerald McIntyre, NSCLC Directing Attorney Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6568897339522292225 Medicare & Medicaid Post-DOMA: Changes for Same Gender Couples? DATE: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 TIME: 2:00 PM EDT Presenters: Georgia Burke, NSCLC Directing Attorney, TBD Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1277379983106332161
Monday, June 30, 2014
Transfer on Death Deed available in WV
As of June 5, 2014 West Virginians have a new way to transfer real estate to a death beneficiary without having to go through probate. The West Virginia Transfer on Death Act passed the legislature in the 2014 regular session and became effective 90 days after it was signed by the Governor.
The new law allows an owner to do a deed naming a Transfer on Death beneficiary, and at the owner's death the property passes directly to the beneficiary like it would to a joint tenant. But it's very different from joint tenancy because the beneficiary under a Transfer on Death deed gets no current interest in the property. The interest only transfers at the death of the owner. The owner still retains all his or her ownership rights, including the right to revoke the deed, or transfer or encumber the property.
One important difference between this kind of deed and others is that it must be recorded at the courthouse during the owner's lifetime to be valid. Other deeds must merely be properly executed, and can be stashed in a drawer and still be valid.
This kind of deed is generally much better for a senior who wants to keep all rights and ownership of his or her own home for life, but wants to pass the property to a beneficiary after death while avoiding both probate and Medicaid estate recovery.
Many a senior who has deeded away a joint interest or remainder interest and kept only a life estate in her home has come to regret it when she realizes she is no longer the sole owner of her property, and cannot sell or borrow against the property because of problems with the joint or remainder owners. She has given away part of the ownership of her greatest asset without realizing how it could negatively impact her future choices.
You can read the the new statute at www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Status/bills_text.cfm?billdoc=SB3%20ENR.htm&yr=2014&sesstype=RS&i=3
Friday, April 04, 2014
It's legal to write your own will, but here's how it can go terribly wrong
Plenty of WV seniors call WVSLA to ask if it's legal to handwrite your own will. The short answer is yes, it is. But if the reason you are writing your own will is to make sure your estate is distributed a different way than the law would if you died without a will, making your own will is not a safe solution.
When you hire an attorney to do a will for you you are getting more than just a paper with the blanks filled in. The real value of having a lawyer starts with the questions you answer about what you really want, what you really don't want. A good attorney will not only carefully craft a personalized document to prevent what you don't want and secure what you do want, but will likely also bring up considerations that you never even thought about.
Another important role for your lawyer is to be sure the language of the will is legally effective to carry out your wishes, as well as provide for various possible circumstances that may exist at the time of your death. Legal documents generally use the same English language that we all use everyday, but often those words have a totally different legal meaning than our normal everyday usage. You can be well-educated and intelligent and know what a word or term means, but it may mean something else entirely in the context of a legal document.
Using a fill-in-the-blank legal form can be just as dangerous as handwriting your will for many of the same reasons. Check out this case in Florida, as reported in the ABA Journal online yesterday:
Ann Aldrich used an “E-Z Legal Form” when she made out her will in 2004, a decision that proved to be a good choice for two nieces who cited the document’s lack of a residuary clause.
In a decision issued last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled for the nieces, though they weren’t mentioned in the will. The court said money acquired by Aldrich after the will was made out should be distributed under the laws of intestacy, which govern distribution of property for those who die without a will. The reason: The E-Z form did not have a residuary clause providing for the disposition of property not listed in the document. FlascBlog: The Florida Supreme Court Blog reports on the opinion.
Concurring Justice Barbara Pariente saw the ruling as a cautionary tale. “While I appreciate that there are many individuals in this state who might have difficulty affording a lawyer,” Pariente said, “this case does remind me of the old adage ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’
One of the commentors on the article gave another great example, where a woman wanted her niece who played piano to inherit her piano, bench, and sheet music, but left the rest of her estate to her church. In her handwritten will she forgot the comma between "piano" and "bench" so the niece only got the bench and the music, no piano! Expensive missing comma.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
HHS announces important Medicare information for people in same-sex marriages
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is now able to process requests for Medicare Part A and Part B Special Enrollment Periods, and reductions in Part B and premium Part A late enrollment penalties for certain eligible people in same-sex marriages. This is another step HHS is taking in response to the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Because of this ruling, Medicare is no longer prevented by DOMA from recognizing same-sex marriages for determining entitlement to, or eligibility, for Medicare.
“Today’s announcement helps to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that all married couples are treated equally under the law,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We are working together with SSA to process these requests in a timely manner to ensure all beneficiaries, regardless of sexual orientation, are treated fairly under the law.”
While Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), SSA is responsible for determining eligibility for, and enrolling people in, Medicare.
You can find additional information at http://medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/same-sex-marriage.html.