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POAThe most important thing about being a POA is to sign as POA! If you are assisting an elderly person with his or her finances, including contracting with vendors for services, such as home health services, assisted living arrangements, under a durable power of attorney, you must make clear to the vendor of your role as POA and write out the letters “POA” next to your signature!

Here’s why:

I was being sued by a home health care company which I hired to supplement my father’s care while at an assisted living facility even though I signed for such care under a durable power of attorney. After my father passed away, debt collectors contacted me regularly over the alleged balance of his account of well over $10,000, causing me to be worried, stressed out, and feeling very desperate until talking and working with Ha Dao, an attorney at Christie D. Arkovich P.A., who ultimately got the case dismissed. I would recommend the firm to anyone who has a need for legal services. The result these lawyers delivered far exceeded my expectation, but the best part is it gives me back my peace of mind!

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helping-handsDementia may cause major financial problems long before diagnosis – this was the headline in a recent Washington Post article.

Often, family members are the first to notice something awry.  The signs could include things like missing critical medications, or putting last night’s leftovers in the toaster oven or microwave instead of the refrigerator – only to be found a couple days later.  Ewww.   Yes, this is exactly what my family members did as they aged.

Or, you may be helping with organization of the mail and bills and start to see funny things going on.  Things that do not appear normal.

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bdtrDespite Secretary DeVos summarily denying virtually every Borrower Defense to Repayment application that was ever filed under her watch, don’t give up hope!

The Judge in Sweet v. DeVos just ruled that Secretary DeVos must give prior notice to the Court before denying any more borrower defense claims from student loan borrowers cheated by their school.  The court had threatened to enjoin the agency from issuing borrower defense denials, which prompted the Department of Education to stop voluntarily.

Now that the the tide of denials has stopped, the key is whether the Judge will vacate the tens of thousands of denials that were sent to 94% of borrower defense applicants since June 2019.  The class members have asked the Judge for an injunction and to vacate the prior denials – and is taking depositions now of officials with the Department of Education.

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mortgage-2Are you STILL having problems with your mortgage servicer after catching up with your mortgage while in a Chapter 13?

Are you being charged a huge sum to catch up even after the bankruptcy is over?  A mortgage servicer is required by federal law to perform an annual escrow analysis on all loans for which it manages an escrow account.  But do they always do this?

Are you suffering not only from payment shock, but also negative credit reporting for these alleged deficiencies?

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pslfGood news.  There’s lots of money left in TEPSLF.  700 million was appropriated and as of September 2020, only about 87.5 million had been discharged under TEPSLF.  There is a new form here: https://studentaid.gov/sites/default/files/public-service-application-for-forgiveness.pdf.

Under the new form, you don’t have to apply for regular PSLF first, be denied, and then apply for TEPSLF.  And even more important, as I read the new form, you don’t have to wait until 10 years to determine if your prior “wrong plan payments such as those under the Graduated or Extended Plans” counts or not.  That is huge for someone wanting to make life decisions about whether to remain in PSLF a few more months/years for the win — or bail and start perhaps a higher income position in the private world or start their own business!

What is TEPSLF?  This is the fund that Congress set up to help those who were in the wrong payment plan so their student loan payment didn’t count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  It does not fix the FFEL loan versus Direct loan fiasco.

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Join us tomorrow at noon EST/ 11:00 CST for a Facetime Interview between Jamie (Miller and Miller in Wisconsin) and Christie (Christie D. Arkovich, P.A. in Florida) as we discuss why NO ONE should feel compelled to return to work right now, just to be able to pay their student loans.

There are new avenues to say “Goodbye” to both federal and private student loans in many situations!  Things that everyday people and even your average bankruptcy attorney have no idea about!  NONE of these things we are doing for clients right now involve a future Act of Congress.  None.

“A lot of people, even some of the lawyers who represent consumers, thought for years that you really shouldn’t even try because there’s not a chance you’ll win, but I think everyone is looking at it now with sort of a fresh look,” says John Rao, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

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Are you tired of endlessly paying on your student loans, only to see no headway at all being made?

I wrote this article for our local Cramdown publication for Tampa Bay attorney advocates and bankruptcy attorneys – these are tips that everyone should know about and ask their advocate for assistance with.  Don’t rely only on your servicer in other words.  Contact us if you’d like to know more about this.  These tips are designed to SAVE YOU MONEY and instead COST THEM MONEY.  This is kinda long, but the best tips are near the end, so please keep reading, it’ll be the best thing you’ll read all year if you have student loan debt!

The CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020 (the “Act”), provided for forbearance and interest waiver for all Direct Loans that are owned by the federal government.  Older Federal Family Education Loans (“FFEL”) were not protected by the Act, but the Department of Education encouraged servicers of these federal loans to take similar actions to relieve borrowers of the need to make payments during the pandemic.  Those with Perkins loans or private loans also were not protected from interest accrual or the need to make payments and this resulted in a patchwork of forbearances and other temporary payment relief.

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SSA-overpaymentThe Social Security Administration (“SSA”) assesses overpayments in any instance where it thinks it may have overpaid benefits.  This most commonly occurs when a recipient doesn’t timely report a change in circumstances, such as income.

In many cases, the overpayment may be caused by the SSA itself, when it fails to update its records after receipt of a change in circumstances.  Or the SSA may deposit benefits into someone else with a similar name.  There is no way for beneficiaries to independently verify whether they are receiving the correct amount of benefits every month and instead they must rely on the SSA’s calculations.

Overpayments can be made over a lot of years – even 20-30 years.  Frequently, a mistake is caught and a handful of years have gone by, and the money has long been spent, usually on reasonable and necessary living expenses.

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POAWhen creating a Power of Attorney, a lot of people simply download a form off the Internet, or use an old family form that may have been created decades ago.  Simple things can make a world of difference.

I spoke with a health care professional awhile back and she emphasized that the inability of someone to take a company to court for billing disputes, mismanagement of care, and financial oversight disputes was disturbing as there was little to no recourse for a family member to raise these issues.

Wait, what?

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Did you know that simply having a mix of accounts is 10% of your overall credit score?!

A mix of accounts can show that you know how to manage all types of credit.  It is good to have a history of repaying an installment loan, such as a car or student loan, but a revolving account, such as a credit card, demonstrates more clearly that you can responsibly manage credit because you have to control how much you charge and pay each month.

It’s easy to ask a creditor to increase your credit line on an account as well – this way the unused balance will be larger which also helps.

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