Information about my law practice concentrating on advocacy for people with disabilities, seniors and their families. Get to know me not only as a lawyer, but my personal interests, passions and family activities.
The attached advocacy letter on behalf of the LTCSS Supports & Services Advisory Commission was hand-delivered to the legislature this afternoon. Our gratitude goes to Commissioners Slocum, Ewing and Chaney for crafting it.
After a person dies, many companies and other institutions often need to be notified: insurance companies, Social Security, banks, to name a few. But sometimes institutions can be quite insensitive or even incapable of dealing with the concept of death.
In the latest edition of his new e-newsletter, Landsman's Lagniappe, Maryland ElderLawAnswers member attorney Ron M. Landsman relates an incident reported to him by his fellow ElderLawAnswers member attorney Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
A leading nationwide bank charged its annual service charge to an account just after the account holder, an elderly woman, had died. When the bill was not paid, the bank added late-payment fees and interest charges that increased the bill by $60 in three months.
The following exchange ensued between the deceased woman's great-nephew and the bank:
Nephew: “I am calling to tell you [my great-aunt] died in January.” Bank: “The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.” Nephew: “Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.” Bank: "Since it is two months past-due, it already has been.” Nephew: "So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?” Bank: “Either report her account to the frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!” Nephew: “Do you think God will be mad at her?” Bank: “Excuse me?” Nephew: “Did you just get what I was telling you -- the part about her being dead?” Bank: “Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.”
Supervisor gets on the phone:
Nephew: “I'm calling to tell you she died in January.” Supervisor: “The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.” Nephew: “You mean you want to collect from her estate?” Supervisor: “[stammer] Are you her lawyer?” Nephew: “No, I'm her great-nephew.” (Lawyer information is given) Supervisor: “Could you fax us a certificate of death?” Nephew: “Sure.” (Fax number is given)
After the bank gets the fax:
Supervisor: “Our system just isn't set up for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.” Nephew: “Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. I don't think she will care.” Supervisor: “Well, the late fees and charges do still apply.” Nephew: “Would you like her new billing address?” Supervisor: “That might help.” Nephew: “Odessa Memorial Cemetery, Highway 129, Plot Number 69.” Supervisor: “Sir, that's a cemetery!” Nephew: “What do you do with dead people on your planet?”
The Community Choice Act has been languishing in Washington for 15 years, despite the considerable benefits - in both lifestyle and finances - it would yield for many Americans. The act is a piece of federal legislation that would amend the Social Security Act to give disabled and elderly people access to support services at home instead of in institutions.
Under current Medicaid policy, disabled or elderly people who require assistance with daily activities are entitled to such services only if they reside in nursing homes. The average annual cost of a nursing-home stay in Pennsylvania is more than $67,000, and 67 percent of nursing homes in the state are funded by Medicaid.
Why can't patients live in their communities with the same funds?
Farmington Hills, MI (PRWEB) February 24, 2009 -- Feinberg Consulting announces the formation of its Comprehensive Elder Care Management Division.
"Families and professionals can now place their trust in us for an assessment of all their elder care needs," said Pam Feinberg-Rivkin, president of Feinberg Consulting in Farmington Hills. "Our new division oversees the entire case management process as we assess, plan, coordinate and monitor each client to provide peace of mind."
The Comprehensive Elder Care Management Division will benefit older adults who want to live independently in a safe environment, without sacrificing their dignity, respect or quality of life. Care managers also will assist families and professionals working with those that have long term illnesses or special needs.
When the BBC hired a pretty young actress to co-host a daily program for toddlers, it never expected viewers to complain that the young woman might give their children nightmares.
“I didn't want to let my children watch the filler bits on the bedtime hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter's mind and possibly caused sleep problems,” wrote one viewer in an e-mail to the British television network after seeing Cerrie Burnell play games and read children’s stories.
The viewer’s problem? Burnell was born with an incomplete right arm that ends in a stump below her elbow.
According to a BBC report, most viewers have been supportive of Burnell, who took over a daily slot on the BBC’s children’s network, CBeebies, at the beginning of February with Alex Winters. But a handful have written to the station complaining about her disability. Some say she may frighten the children. Others accuse the network of going overboard in the interests of diversity. Some say they don’t want to have to address such issues with very young children.
On February 24, 2009, NAA-NY Metro was extraordinarily fortunate to have four experts in the field of special needs financial planning present valuable information to our group. Stuart Flaum, Anthony Marchiagiano, and Travis Dauchy -- financial strategists with AXA Advisors and its Special Needs Family Planning Group -- and Wendy Sheinberg, a partner in the law firm Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern, LLP, presented to the group on the very specialized issues concerning future planning for our special needs children. Stuart is an active member of our group (and many other organizations benefiting children with ASD and other special needs) and pulled together this wonderful team of professionals, who not only were incredibly knowledgeable, but also truly caring about children with special needs and their families.
Patti's Comments: Reading this story this morning really touched me. I have served on the board and as a volunteer for our United Cerebral Palsy Association for over a decade. I had never heard of Ohtahara syndrome before this article. But now I know, and there are some resources for folks (see links below article excerpt):
Ivan Cameron was just 6, a boy with a lovely smile who was born with cerebral palsy and a severe form of epilepsy that deprived him of the ability to walk, talk or feed himself. He spent much of his time in the hospital, sometimes with his parents sleeping on the floor beside him, helping care for their “beautiful boy.”
...Ivan’s early death was not unexpected, given the severity of his form of epilepsy, known as Ohtahara syndrome, which requires round-the-clock care.
On Wednesday, his death halted, for at least a day, the often acrimonious relationship between Mr. Cameron and Prime Minister Brown, who have made little secret of their antipathy for each other. Mr. Brown, too, lost a child — Jennifer, his first — in 2002 when she was only 10 days old.
Mr. Brown, like Mr. Cameron, has two other small children, including a boy, Fraser, who has cystic fibrosis.
Mr. Brown appeared deeply moved when he spoke in the House of Commons on Ivan’s death after personally intervening to have the scheduled round of prime minister’s questions called off.
“I know that in an all-too-brief life, he brought joy to all those around him,” he said. “And I know also that for all the days of his life, he was surrounded by his family’s love. Every child is precious and irreplaceable, and the death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure.”
Ohtahara Syndrome Support Group This website is dedicated to the families, carers and friends of Children with Ohtahara Syndrome. Its main aim is to provide information and support to those caring for OS children as well as to those who may have lost children to this severe neurological disorder.
Children with investment income may have part or all of this income taxed at their parent’s tax rate rather than at the child’s rate. Investment income includes interest, dividends, capital gains and other unearned income. This rule applies to children who have investment income of more than $1800 and meet one of three age requirements for 2008:
1. The child is younger than 18.
2. The child is 18 and has earned income that does not exceed one-half of their own support for the year.
3. The child is older than 18 and younger than 24 and a full-time student with earned income that does not exceed one-half of the child’s support for the year.
To figure the child's tax using this method, fill out Form 8615, Tax for Certain Children Who Have Investment Income of More Than $1,800, and attach it to the child's federal income tax return.
When certain conditions are met, a parent may be able to avoid having to file a tax return for the child by including the child’s income on the parent’s tax return. In this situation, the parent would file Form 8814, Parents' Election To Report Child's Interest and Dividends.
More information can be found in IRS Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents. This publication and Forms 8615 and 8814 are available on the IRS Web site at IRS.gov in the Forms and Publications section. You may also order them by calling the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Only infants go to the emergency department at a higher rate than people 75 and older, according to a recent federal government survey. For years, many hospitals have set up separate emergency rooms just for kids. Now, Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., has set up an ER specifically for patients 65 and older. The ER opened last November and takes older patients, unless they're considered trauma patients.
Patti's Comments: Honestly – I did not watch or listen to the speech because I was working and catching up with emails, so I am interested to know what you folks think. I personally cannot believe that my favorite color was picked out as a winner in the speech when it had nothing to do with the President!
While The Eye's colleagues provide unrivaled political analysis and perspective of President Obama's first address to a joint session of Congress, we've decided to look at the federal government officials, agencies, departments and programs referenced in the speech. Here's a quick review of the winners and losers as The Eye sees it.
Remember: Words only mean so much, even in Washington. Future actions taken by the administration and Congress will matter much more... and The Eye will be watching.