Thursday, April 26, 2018

MoneySmart Week: Your Credit Score

What’s your score? 730. 640. Do you know?

Developed in 1989, a credit score has become a crucial component for many financial decisions by individuals and financial institutions.

Its true name is a FICO score, which was developed by Fair, Isaac and Company. In observance of Money Smart Week, April 21-28, it’s time to learn more about your use of credit and its implications.

When being considered for a loan or mortgage, new credit card, renting property, and even a job, your credit score is likely to be one determinant of the final decision made.

Those with higher scores can pay lower loan interest rates or get the apartment or job!

Knowing your credit score is downright important.

Utilizing many factors, especially

  • payment history,
  • ratio of credit used to credit available on credit card accounts,
  • number of open accounts and their longevity, and
  • bankruptcy,
each of three national credit bureaus calculates your credit score. It can be different at TransUnion, Equifax and Experian based on the version of the scoring algorithm used and the data collected by the credit bureau.

Reviewing all three of your credit reports is an important way of being money-wise. Checking the accuracy of all of the information and finding out who has been checking on you allows you to evaluate your situation when considering additional accounts or borrowing.

Under federal law, you may request a free credit report each year from each credit bureau at www.freeannualreport.com or 1-877-322-8228. You will not receive a free credit score with the report, but that can usually be purchased online for less than $10.

Other sites can provide your credit report but there will be a charge for it.

Some individuals stagger their credit report requests every four months so that they can get new information throughout the year.

If any errors are found in the report, you may file a challenge with the credit bureau in writing and it must be investigated within 30 days. More information on the process for filing a dispute is located at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0151-disputing-errors-credit-reports.

Conversely, too many credit card accounts can harm your insurance score. Many insurance companies set your premiums on your use of credit. The basic philosophy is that the more accounts you have, there can be a higher likelihood of filing false insurance claims.

Be Money Smart – take your credit’s temperature periodically to avoid scorching moments down the road.

If you have questions on credit issues, you can contact West Virginia Senior Legal Aid www.seniorlegalaid.org for assistance. To be eligible to talk to our staff attorney, you must be a West Virginia resident at least 60 years old and must be the one to call 800-229-5068. We’re here to help!

Monday, April 16, 2018

TOMORROW 4/17 is last day to register to vote for primary, and new WV voter ID law in place this year

April 17, 2018 is the last day you can register to vote in the May 9, 2018 primary in West Virginia.

In 2017 the WV Secretary of State's office purged over 47,000 names from the voter rolls who were presumably ineligible (duplicates, deceased, etc.). You can check the status of your own voter registration to be sure you weren't among those 47,000 by going to https://services.sos.wv.gov/Elections/Voter/AmIRegisteredToVote and entering your name and SSN.

This year you will have to present ID at the polls to vote, according to a state law that went into January 1. WV Code §3-1-31 Don't worry, it does not have to be a picture ID. These requirements don't apply if you vote absentee. Here's a list of the acceptable forms of ID you submit when you vote at the polling place:

  • Voter registration card
  • Medicare card or Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • WV hunting or fishing license
  • WV SNAP ID card
  • WV TANF program ID card
  • WV Medicaid ID card
  • Bank or debit card
  • Utility bill or bank statement issued within
  • six months of the date of the election
  • Health insurance card issued to the voter
  • WV driver’s license or other WV ID card
  • issued by the DMV
  • Driver’s license issued by another state
  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • Military ID card issued by the U.S.
  • U.S. or WV Government employee ID card
  • Student ID card
  • A concealed carry (pistol/revolver) permit

If you can't produce any acceptable ID you can still vote if you bring an adult who has known you at least 6 mo to complete an affidavit about your identity.

If you can't produce valid ID or a friend who knows you you can cast a provisional ballot.

It's National Healthcare Decisions Week

Cousin Eggbert could be the person making important medical decisions for you unless you plan otherwise.

Is that all right with you?

We know we should fill out the medical power of attorney to govern what happens when we can’t handle the choice of medical options for ourselves, but we don’t always get around to it.

Never fear, the state has a fail-safe plan in place.

If you haven’t completed a medical power of attorney before you need it, a health care surrogate can be appointed for you by your physician. That’s how Cousin Eggbert could enter the picture.

In observance of National Healthcare Decisions Week (April 16-22), take the steps to fill out your medical power of attorney. Don’t let procrastination change the path of your life. You have the right to control who makes those crucial medical decisions on your behalf.

West Virginia has a form for a Medical Power of Attorney and a form for a Living Will (to specify end-of-life choices) with questions and answers about both available at http://wvethics.org/media/12077/faq-2016-word-version-complete.pdf

You can consult with a social worker at a hospital or other medical facility to work out choices you are comfortable with. For this type of document, an attorney is not required.

If you have questions on this important decision or other important legal issues, you can contact West Virginia Senior Legal Aid for assistance. To be eligible for this free service, you must be a West Virginia resident at least 60 years old and must be the one to call 800-229-5068. We’re here to help!

Friday, March 23, 2018

New Medicare cards start getting delivered in April

Knowing that your new paper Medicare card will be coming to your mailbox in April or later also means it’s important to protect it once it arrives.

new medicare card image
Your free card will have a different account number unrelated your Social Security Number.  The unique, randomly assigned number is called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI).

You will need to notify your medical providers of the change at your next appointments to update their records. The change in the Medicare account number does not affect Medicare benefits or other insurance accounts.

The account numbers are being changed to reduce identity fraud.

Remember, neither the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nor the Social Security Administration will call or email you about your new card or account number or other benefits.

If you receive such a contact, hang up or delete the email.  It’s from a scammer who wants to steal your new account information and your identity. 

You can learn about the new card at https://www.medicare.gov/forms-help-and-resources/your-medicare-card.html.

If you suspect you’ve been victimized, call West Virginia Senior Legal Aid at 800-229-5068 to speak with a staff attorney. If you are a West Virginia resident who is age 60 or older, you are eligible for this free service. You must call yourself, not have someone else do it, to discuss the situation.

And don’t forget to destroy your current Medicare card (cut it into multiple pieces) when you have the new one in hand.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Important changes regarding online access to WV healthcare directive forms

The WV Center for End-of-Life Care has been defunded and will cease operations before the end of March 2018. Their excellent website has been the best source for information and forms for advance healthcare directives in West Virginia including the Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will. The Center has been the driving force for policy in our state regarding surrogate healthcare decisionmaking and planning, and has made West Virginia a leader across the country in this area. We at WVSLA are sad about the Center's demise, the loss of these valuable resources including the great staff at the Center, and are concerned about the future development of policy and resources in the vital and changing area of end-of-life decisionmaking.

The future of the E-Registry is uncertain. The e-registry was a real innovation, one of the first in the nation, and had (perhaps still has?) the potential to dramatically enhance the likelihood that your advance healthcare choices get respected. It is an electronic database available free to patients and providers. You could voluntarily upload your completed directives to the database and only participating providers with HIPAA access to your medical records could access your directives. Even if you carefully made thoughtful choices, talked to your agents and family and informed them about your values and wishes, and properly executed the appropriate documents if those documents can't be found by the right providers in the critical moments your choices could go unfulfilled. A good e-registry used properly could make fill that gap. We hope the e-registry finds a new home and continues to improve.

Meanwhile, here are a few takeaways about this news:

- you can still access the information and documents from the old WV End of Life Center at the WV Center for Health Ethics and Law http://wvethics.org/advance-directives-forms-and-laws/,

- the law has not changed, the West Virginia Health Care Decisions Act, WV Code §16-30-1, et seq. has not been affected by the Center's closure,

- your Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, POST, or other documents that were previously and properly executed are still valid,

- now is a good time to review your documents and make sure they reflect your current wishes and that your chosen representative(s) are still able and willing to act. It is important to periodically review your documents to account for changes in your wishes and circumstances,

- you should not rely on the e-registry at this point as the only way for providers to access your directives. A photocopy of your properly-executed document is as valid as the signed original, and your providers need to have a copy of your document in order to be able to implement what it contains. Now is the time to verify that your treating providers have your current documents on file,

- the future of policy development in end-of-life decisionmaking in our state is uncertain, and now is the time for West Virginians who care about these issues to let lawmakers know what is important.

If you are at least 60 years old and a West Virginian with questions about healthcare decisionmaking and planning you can talk to an attorney for free at WV Senior Legal Aid by calling us at 1-800-229-5068.


Friday, February 23, 2018

WVSLA's celebrates Black History Month

Teachers have always played an important role in our nation.

Carrie Williams, a graduate of Storer College and an African American teacher in Tucker County during the 1890s, knew her students deserved the same eight months of learning each school year that white students received.

But the Tucker County School Board didn’t see it the same way. They allocated a budget of only five months for the black schools to save money.

Miss Williams and J. R. Clifford, the first African American attorney licensed to practice in West Virginia, felt that action was discriminatory.

Based on Mr. Clifford’s advice and the cooperation of the African American community, she continued to teach for the additional three months. She then sued the school board for the wages she was not paid but also for the underlying opportunity for the additional three months of instruction.

In 1892, the case was heard by an all-male jury in Parsons, and Miss Williams’ claim for back pay prevailed.

In November, 1896, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals heard the school board’s appeal and ruled that the decision to shorten the school year of the colored schools was illegal.

As noted in the court’s opinion:  “Such discrimination, being made merely on account of color, cannot be recognized or tolerated, as it is contrary to public policy and the law of the land.”

The landmark case righted a specific wrong, but West Virginia’s schools remained segregated, as was true in many other states, until the Brown vs. Board of Education case was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1954.

To celebrate Black History Month, we gratefully salute a brave teacher who knew unfairness when she and her students experienced it once again.

West Virginia Senior Legal Aid is committed to serving with excellence our state's seniors of color.  https://seniorlegalaid.net/wvslas-commitment-to-oppose-racism/

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines Day buzzkill: guard your wallet as well as your heart

Don't become a victim of a romance scam, learn to spot the signs and how to protect your money and assets from the saddest of scams. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the scoop here www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guard-your-wallet-well-your-heart-romance-scams/


Friday, February 02, 2018

Guard your income tax refund now

Pencil with tax form on US dollarbills background The early bird may get your income tax refund.

There are identity thieves capable of locating your name and Social Security Number. From there, they can file a fake return using made-up amounts and happily collect your refund.

It’s that simple. And that’s one reason for filing your returns as early as possible – to beat the crooks to the punch. The IRS only accepts one tax return per SSN.

Following the 2017 Equifax data breach, 143 million names and SSNs are “out there.”

You may not learn a fake return has been filed until you try to e-file your return and it’s rejected as previously filed or an IRS letter arrives with the same message. There is information on other ways you may find out this bad news at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theftThe best methods for following up are also listed there.

For those who are not required to file a federal return, doing it anyway protects your address and other data from being changed in the IRS computer system.

Tax preparation assistance is available in every West Virginia county through VITA, AARP and senior center programs. Make your appointment early!

Other ways identity thieves may benefit from your SSN are applying for credit cards they won’t pay off or through getting a job using your SSN but ignoring the W-2 when they receive it. They won’t pay the taxes and the IRS will think you’re the crook.

Being proactive by learning more about identity theft, including tax-related identity theft, at https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-protection is a crucial way to protect your future.

Friday, January 26, 2018

RAISE Family Caregivers Act signed into federal law

The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act was signed by President Trump on 1/24/18. The Act, a bipartisan effort supported by AARP, requires the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create an advisory council charged with making recommendations toward development of a national strategy for ways government, communities, healthcare providers, and employers to support family caregivers.

The Goals of this National Family Caregiving Strategy include:

  • Promoting greater adoption of person-centered care and family-centered care in health settings and long-term care settings
  • Training for family caregivers
  • Respite options for family caregivers
  • Ways to increase financial security for family caregivers
  • Workplace policies to help family caregivers keep working
  • Collecting and sharing of information about innovative family caregiving models
  • Assessing federal programs around family caregiving
  • Addressing disparities and meeting the needs of the diverse caregiving population

For more information about the passage of the legislation and for the text of the Act see www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3759

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Consumer protection issues in opioid recovery

West Virginians desperate for cure from opioid dependence may become victimized by consumer scams. Don't let your zeal to get yourself or your loved ones free from addiction keep you from being skeptical about "miracle" cures.

The Federal Trade Commission has information to help you separate fact from fiction www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0223-getting-right-help-opioid-dependence-or-withdrawal

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Medicare 2018 Premiums, Deductibles, Copays

The good news is Medicare is still here, the bad news isn't too bad, your out of pocket costs go up a little for 2018.

Medicare A & B Premiums, Deductibles, Copays 2018

Part A (hospital) Beneficiary pays:
Hospital Deductible $1,340/benefit period
Hospital Copay $335/day for days 61-90
$670/day for days 91-150
Skilled Nursing Facil Copay $167.50/day for days 21-100
Part A Premium $455/month for those with fewer than 30 quarters of Medicare-covered employment
$232/month for those with 30-39 quarters of Medicare-covered employment
Part B (doctor, outpatient services, etc.) Beneficiary pays:
Annual Deductible $186
Part B Premium for those with incomes below $85,000 or $170,000 married couple $134/month – for those beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare prior to 2016, whose premium is taken out of their monthly Social Security benefit
Most covered Part B services 20%

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Lookout for the Jury Duty scam

Timely info from the folks at the Federal Trade Commission:

United States Marshals protect the federal courts, track down dangerous fugitives, and transport thousands of prisoners. They don’t make calls and threaten to arrest people or fine them for missing jury duty. But scammers posing as Marshals have been making calls like that and tricking people into sending money. The imposters use spoofed phone numbers that look official, and steal the names and badge numbers of legitimate law enforcement officials. They warn people they might be arrested — unless they buy a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card and pay the fine immediately. If you buy a card and tell a scammer the card’s code, the scammer takes the card’s value; your money is gone. If a “U.S. Marshal” calls you with a jury duty warning, hang up. It’s a scam.

If a fake Marshal — or any other government imposter — calls and tells you to send money to avoid arrest:

  • Don’t send money by prepaid card and don’t wire money. Wiring money is like sending cash. You usually can't reverse or trace the transaction.
  • Don’t share your financial or personal information. Scammers can use your information to commit identity theft.
  • Don’t trust a name or number that appears on your phone. Scammers can fake caller ID information.

If you received a call like this, please report it to the FTC and to your local Marshals Service District Office. If you sent money to an imposter on a prepaid card, report it to the card company’s fraud department. Read more about the tricks government imposters use and how to beat their scams.

Monday, November 20, 2017

File your claim for FTC/DOJ settlement with Western Union

Did you lose money to a scammer who had you pay through Western Union between January 1, 20014 and January 19, 2017? The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission got a $586 million settlement that may entitle you to some of your money back. Here's the info below, and you can file online and learn more at www.ftc.gov/wu

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Medicare Cards Coming In April 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is implementing a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help prevent identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

Under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, the CMS must remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from all Medicare cards by April 2019. A new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the SSN-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) on the new Medicare cards for Medicare transactions.

“We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors. People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of this type of crime. Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice.

Under the new system, for each person enrolled in Medicare, the CMS will assign a new MBI and mail a new Medicare card.

As the CMS's website explains, the new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called an MBI to replace the Social Security-based HICN currently used on the Medicare card. Beneficiaries will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare cards and keep the new MBI confidential. The MBI is private like the SSN and should be protected as Personally Identifiable Information.

CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019.  The CMS will have a transition period where you can use either the HICN or the MBI to exchange data for Medicare transactions. The transition period will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.

As outlined by Eileen Ambrose of AARP, here is what you need to know about the new Medicare cards:
* The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing the cards to beneficiaries in April 2018.
* The cards will automatically be mailed to all 58 million current beneficiaries. You don’t need to do anything special to receive one.
* The new cards will feature a randomly assigned Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) made up of 11 letters and numbers. Each MBI is unique, randomly generated, and the characters are "non-intelligent," which means they don't have any hidden or special meaning.
*Your benefits will not change under the new MBI.
* People with Medicare may start using their new Medicare cards and MBIs as soon as they get them.

However, remain leery of scams, warn the folks at Medicare.gov. Scam artists may try to get your current Medicare number and other personal information by contacting you about your new Medicare card. They often claim to be from Medicare and use various scams to get your Medicare Number including:
* Asking you to confirm your Medicare or Social Security Number so they can send you a new card.
* Telling you there's a charge for your new card and they need to verify your personal information.
* Threatening to cancel your health benefits if you don’t share your Medicare Number or other personal information.
If someone calls you and asks for your Medicare number or other personal information, hang up and call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

For more information on the new Medicare cards, see:

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/index.html

https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2017-Press-releases-items/2017-05-30.html

http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2017/new-medicare-cards-facts-fd.html

 



 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Equifax Data Breach: What You Can Do


Credit bureaus, or credit reporting agencies, are companies that collect and maintain consumer credit information then resell this information to other businesses in the form of credit reports. The three main credit reporting agencies in the U.S. are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.  These agencies collect information on all your financial transactions from banks, credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and other business with which you may have an account.  

Recently, however, Equifax experienced a huge security breach. Hackers managed to obtain access to the personal data of around 143 million people. The private information that was hacked includes people's social security numbers, addresses, birthdays, and credit card numbers. You’re probably a victim.

In response to the massive breach, Equifax has set up a special website that allows people to check to see if their personal information has been compromised. To find out if you may have been impacted, visit www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com, and click on the "Potential Impact" tab. You'll have to enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number to do so.

In an effort to appease consumers Equifax is offering one free year of credit monitoring to all Americans. After that year you will likely have to pay a monthly fee if you want to keep receiving their monitoring service, and your identifying information will continue to be at risk since we can’t know who has obtained it since the breach.

Merely getting credit monitoring, whether through Equifax’s one year offer or any of the other services available for a fee, is not enough to protect you from the risk of identify theft after this breach. Tim Herrera of the New York Times suggests a few other steps to increase your likelihood of protecting your credit and your identity:

  1. Set Up Fraud Alerts. A good first step would be to establish fraud alerts with all three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Fraud alerts notify you if someone tries to apply for credit in your name. With a fraud alert, when you or someone else attempts to open a credit account in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing account, or obtain a new card on an existing account, the lender should takes steps to verify that you have authorized the request. However, fraud alerts do not prevent third parties from viewing your credit file. Setting up fraud alerts is free, and the steps will vary depending on your banks or credit unions.

  1. Consider Credit Freezes. A credit freeze locks your credit files so that only companies you already do business with will have access to them; credit freezes block your file from being disclosed to third parties. As Ron Lieber of the New York Times explains, “. . . the bureaus are not supposed to release your credit report to any company except the ones that already have you as a customer. Why is this important? When a thief shows up with your social security number and address to apply for credit in your name, the lender will go to fetch your credit report before anything else happens. If it can’t retrieve the report because of the freeze, then no new account for the thief.”
You can thaw your freeze every time you want to apply for new credit, or you can permanently eliminate the freeze by using a personal identification number (PIN) you will get at the time you apply the freeze. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion allow consumers in any state to add, lift or remove a freeze online, by phone or by mail. If you don’t have that PIN you’ll have a heckuva time trying to thaw or remove a freeze, so this is a dangerous option if you don’t have a good safe reliable system for storing and retrieving PINs, passwords, and account info.
For WV residents (the fees vary by state) the cost is $5 for each freeze, thaw, and removal on each of your 3 credit reporting agency accounts. Equifax has said it will waive all fees until November 21, 2017 for people who want to freeze the Equifax credit files.

  1. Check Your Credit Report. Often. You are entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can access your free reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. There are lots of other websites that purport to get you the free reports, watch out for their sneaky fees. Experts advise spreading these out over the year, so that you obtain a credit report about once every four months. Carefully reviewing your credit report can help you spot suspicious activity. And, as Herrera notes, because the Equifax breach will have long-term consequences, it is a good idea to start checking your credit report as part of your regular financial routines.

For more information on the Equifax Security Breach see:





For more information on credit freezes see:

For more information on how to protect yourself see:








Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 28 is Good Neighbor Day

West Virginians know that being a good neighbor is important to our communities. There's also good evidence that social connection can help reduce the risk of financial exploitation in later life. On September 28 you have a great excuse to check in on a older neighbor or a neighbor with disabilities just to say Hi Neighbor! It's Good Neighbor Day, and you can download a card to take to you neighbor or get some ideas about other ways to be neighborly at wvneighbors.com.

Your good neighbor needs a good neighbor!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy 99th Birthday to WV native Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson!

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, African-American physicist and mathematician, was born August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, Greenbrier County, WV. She would become a pioneer in space science and computing working for NASA, even calculating complex rocket trajectories with a slide rule and pencil. She and her coworkers are the subject of the Oscar-nominated 2016 film Hidden Figures.

Ms. Johnson is a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and was given an honorary Doctorate from WVU in 2017. These are just two of numerous awards and accolades she has received for a lifetime of extraordinary achievement.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WV Supreme Court's first black Justice Franklin D. Cleckley dies at age 77

We at West Virginia Senior Legal Aid are sad to hear that former WV Supreme Court Justice, WVU law professor, scholar, author, mentor, and cherished colleague Franklin D. Cleckley died on Monday 8/14/2017.

Cleckley was appointed as Justice to the WV Supreme Court of Appeals in 1994 by Gov. Caperton, making him the first black justice in WV history.

Professor Cleckley was my Criminal Procedure professor at WVU College of Law. I got a D+ in there and I worked hard for it. He had the amazing ability to compare and contrast like 8 cases at a time. I could barely keep the facts for 3 cases straight in my head, much less consider the nuance of tricky Constitutional jurisprudence going on across those opinions. In my humble opinion he was brilliant.

For more about Professor Cleckley see this article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail www.wvgazettemail.com/news-cops-and-courts/20170815/cleckley-first-black-person-on-wv-supreme-court-dies-at-77

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

WVSLA Celebrates LGBT Pride Month!

We recognize that West Virginia seniors who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender are an important part of the fabric of our culture. We seek to serve the legal needs of LGBT senior West Virginians, and hold ourselves to a high standard of competence regarding your unique legal issues.

Thank you for your contributions to our state's rich history! We celebrate with you this month.

Friday, April 28, 2017

$151M settlement in January 2014 WV water crisis

A $151 million settlement has been proposed to resolve a federal court class-action lawsuit over the January 2014 water crisis in West Virginia that impacted over 200,000 people.

There will be a "simple payment" option for class members and another option for members who seek specific additional damages amounts (like medical costs, replacement hot water heater, etc.). The class includes everyone who lived in a residential dwelling (homeowners and renters) supplied with tap water from West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant on Jan. 9, 2014; all businesses, non-profit and governmental entities that received tap water from that same plant on that date; and everyone who was regularly employed as an hourly-wage earner by those businesses.

Any class member who wants to opt out of the settlement will have to do so before a deadline that will be announced by the court.

Residential households in the class who use the simple payment option would get under the settlement $525 + $170 for each additional resident.

For more information see http://wvwaterlitigation.com/