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Settlement Money (Wrongful death)

Baltimore, MD |

My mom is 78 and just received a six figure settlement, separate from the estate settlement, and she is currently on Section 8 housing. I informed her that the money must be reported to Section 8, however, she intends to assign my uncle as her POA and endorse the check to him to keep her section 8 voucher. I don't feel good about this, but can't convince her that it is wrong. I am the personal representative of the deceased estate and refuse to in so many words "hide" the money and allow her access at any time. Is it illegal for her to not report this money to the housing authority. I'm assuming that once it is reported, that she will no longer be eligible for section 8, medicare or food stamps. I think that she should inform them to make this service available to someone who needs it

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

She will definitely lose Section 8 and food stamps, but Medicare should not be affected. Her failure to properly report her income or the huge change in her financial condition (assets) to the housing and welfare programs from which she receives need-based benefits, is a crime, and can place her in jeopardy of criminal prosecution, fines, possible imprisonment, and a requirement that she pay back all benefits received plus interest and penalties during the time she was ineligible to receive them. Perhaps she does not appreciate the gravity of what she is doing, nor the risks for her brother who is actively abetting her welfare fraud scheme. I do not see where you have any legal exposure, but you certainly can explain these matters to your mother and uncle, and if you feel like being proactive, you can simply tell her that if she fails to update her income/asset information with the appropriate authorities, then YOU will do so. That ought to get her to act, unless she doesn't believe you'd do that.

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Posted

Consult an attorney in MD about this issue.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

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Posted

Talk to the estate attorney. It may just be the beneficiary's obligation rather than yours.

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Posted

All of your instincts are correct. As the Personal Representative, you should have advice on your obligations to protect Estate assets.

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Posted

You have certain obligations and she has others. They do not necessarily conflict or coincide with each other. It seems you have two concerns, one is your obligations and your potential trouble and secondly her obligations and what trouble she can get into. Obviously hiding the money from the government is not recommended, however there are many legal ways to structure such settlements so that it does not become a problem. Usually your PI lawyer would handle this, however if he/she is not and you need some help, do not hesitate to contact me.

The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, LLC
410-529-3476
dmiller@dmmdlaw.com

The response herein is for informational purposes only is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Maryland only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.

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Posted

It is possible that you mother can utilize a "spend down" technique so that she only loses her housing and food stamps for one month. Elder Law attorneys have a great deal of experience in this area and I suggest you contact one in your locality. Good Luck

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