Medicaid is a health insurance program that is funded by federal and state governments to provide benefits for senior citizens, low-income and needy people, pregnant women, children, and people who are disabled. President Trump has proposed reducing spending on Medicaid by $800 billion over the next ten years. His advisors say the cuts are necessary to balance the budget and focus on programs that don’t work well. Medicaid currently covers 72 million people nationwide. It is also the largest payer of long-term care in the country; long-term care for senior citizens accounts for 42% of Medicaid spending.
The United States is investigating lenders who are allegedly pressuring veterans into mortgage refinances they don’t need. Ginnie May, a government-owned corporation that exists to make mortgages more affordable, is conducting the probe. Ginnie Mae guarantees repayment on $2 trillion in mortgage bonds, even if borrowers default on their loans. Ginnie Mae is concerned that some lenders are improperly pushing veterans to refinance loans that have been wrapped into Ginnie Mae securities. Lenders are encouraging consumers to refinance loans continually during a short period of time, a practice known as churning, which generates higher fees for lenders and may leave veterans with larger loan balances. Ginnie Mae and the Department of Veterans Affairs has created a task force to address churning and other abusive practices by lenders. The agencies could decide to ban lenders from Ginnie Mae programs or impose restrictions on refinances. Banks that make loans through Veterans Affairs offer terms that are not available to most borrowers, which include no requirement for down payments and adding closing costs to loan balances so that veterans do not have to pay them at the time of sale. But these lenders do not have an obligation to ensure… Continue Reading Veterans’ Mortgage Refinances
If you are expecting a child it is important to understand the risk factors during pregnancy and at birth. The most common injuries that occur during pregnancy are brain development injuries due to lack of oxygen or infection and fetal alcohol syndrome. The most common causes for these are maternal medical conditions, taking certain medications while pregnant, smoking or taking recreational drugs, genetic defects and family history, and pregnancies after age 34. The most common birth injuries are caused by failure to perform a timely C-section, failure to diagnose and treat fetal infections, improper use of birth tools, which can cause developmental and physical damage, and lack of oxygen, such as cutting the umbilical cord too soon or umbilical cord compression.
Large trucks cause more damage in accidents than smaller passenger cars, and, sadly, drug and alcohol use is responsible for many truck crashes each year. The number of intoxicated truck drivers involved in fatal accidents increased between 2014 and 2015, according to the Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Department of Transportation requires laboratory testing for cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, PCP, opiates, and marijuana. They require drug testing before employment, throughout the year, after a serious accident, or upon reasonable suspicion of impairment. Employers can also implement their own drug testing policies to increase road safety for all drivers.
Steve and his wife, Peggy, have been struggling to keep up with their $40,000 in unsecured debt. They have wiped out their savings, but they have been able to keep current on their house and car payments. Every day the couple deals with calls from collectors, but they are hesitant to file bankruptcy, because they fear they will lose their cars and their home. Without vehicles, they question how they would get to their jobs. “It’s not so much a question of losing assets such as houses and cars, as it is how much equity you have in them,” said Christopher J. Grover, an attorney with Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC, who handles bankruptcy cases for the firm. “If you don’t have a lot of equity in them, you may be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, discharge the unsecured debts, and continue to make payments on your house and your cars.” If Steve and Peggy do have a lot of equity in their home or cars, then they may want to consider filing Chapter 13, which would allow them to keep their home and cars, but requires them to pay back some of their unsecured debt over a specified… Continue Reading How do you keep your house and cars, and get relief from overburdening debt?
President Trump’s budget proposal includes unprecedented cuts to programs that benefit poor and working class families. For example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, will be cut by $192 billion over the next ten years. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, better known as welfare, will be cut by $21 billion. And Medicaid will be cut by $800 billion. Medicare and Social Security retirement income will remain untouched, two programs that do not take personal income into account to determine access to benefits. President Trump’s supporters believe these cuts are necessary to because the programs discourage work, and too many people are dependent on the federal government for support.
David Howke recently pleaded guilty to criminal theft in Montana after he fraudulently collected two years’ worth of workers’ compensation benefits. Along with a five-year suspended sentence, Mr. Howke will have to pay $27,478 back to the state of Montana. Mr. Howke filed a claim in 2012 based on his assertion that a work-related injury prevented him from working his construction job. But the state received a tip in November 2014 that he was working again and bragging about playing thirty-six holes of golf every day. As Attorney General Tim Fox stated: “Workers’ compensation fraud is a drain on Montana businesses, and anytime we can mitigate this deceitful behavior, we’re reducing upward pressure on the costs shouldered by businesses in our state.”
Chris Grover featured in Buffalo Law Journal regarding the Bar Association’s Committee for the Disabled
Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC associate, Christopher Grover, was recently appointed as chair of the Bar Association of Erie County’s Committee for the disabled. The Buffalo Law Journal recently highlighted Grover’s position in its reoccurring “Five Questions” piece. Grover has been with the Freedman firm since 2009 and specializes in Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, and Bankruptcy. The following is a summary of Grover’s responses. When was the committee established? 1985 What is the mission? The mission of the committee is four-fold: to educate the legal community regarding people living with disabilities; to encourage attorneys to represent the disabled; to promote accessibility; and to monitor legislative and judicial trends. What do you hope to accomplish as chair? To grow the committee in membership and services, and to reach out to community organizations and professionals who work with the disabled to have them speak to attorneys and keep them abreast of new developments in the field. What sparked your interest in this area of the law? Growing up I was exposed to the issues of those who have mental health issues through my mother, who worked in the field. Later, I worked with Autism Services Inc., where I learned we have… Continue Reading Chris Grover featured in Buffalo Law Journal regarding the Bar Association’s Committee for the Disabled
Buffalo, NY — As the New York State Gaming Commission considers applications filed by fantasy sports companies, opponents of the games are looking at having legislation permitting this new outlet for gambling repealed. Organizations such as Stop Predatory Gambling, the Seneca Nation of Indians and casino companies are against the bill, for differing reasons. “Other sources of gambling oppose the bill mainly because of exclusivity agreements. Stop Predatory Gambling opposes any expansion of gambling that preys on those who can least afford to risk their money in this way,” said Courtney L. Quinn, an attorney who handles consumer bankruptcy cases for the law offices of Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “In our experience, any form of gambling can become an addiction, which almost always leads to bankruptcy court.” One concern with fantasy sports games is that since they are available on every smart phone and computer, they become an insidious part of the gambler’s life. Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, said: “. . . now what state government is trying to do is force predatory gambling into every home and smart phone in the state as a result of a push by very powerful gambling interests.” The bill’s… Continue Reading Approval of Fantasy Sports games may lead to more gambling addictions