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Paul Vandyke Black

Paul Black’s Answers

4 total

  • Is it illegal to sell an insurance policy to an eaderly pearson who clearly can not read, and has no education?

    My mother 's home had some water damage from a backed up toilet and now the insurance company will not cover the damage. The water removel co. said it should be covered and has started repair by removing the toilet ,tiles and carpet. They have ...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Amanda, I would encourage you to contact the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline at 404-657-9915 on behalf of your mother to get free legal advice about this insurance coverage issue. (Full disclosure: I worked at the Senior Hotline and at Atlanta Legal Aid before launching my private practice.)

    The attorneys at the Hotline routinely answer calls about a host of legal and consumer issues for Georgians aged 60+ across the entire state. Questions regarding home repairs and insurance coverage are quite common.

    Homeowner's policies routinely exclude many kinds of water damage. You would benefit from having an attorney review the policy to help determine whether the damage you describe is covered by the policy. If it is, and the adjuster insist otherwise, a Hotline attorney can make a quick phone call or write a brief letter to address this issue.

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  • Are there procedures in place to protect caregivers of DEMENTIA patients who claim that the caregivers of stealing from them or

    Going against their wishes. Do the police have PROTOCOLS in place to investigate such claims in the state of GA.

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Accusations like this arise quite often. The response depends upon who is asked to investigate.

    If the person lives in an assisted living or nursing home facility, the facility itself will likely perform its own investigation. The local police and the regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman (which exist to advocate and troubleshoot for long-term facility residents) may also play a role.

    If the dementia patient is in the community at large rather than in an institutional setting of any sort, Adult Protective Services will often investigate claims involving:

    Physical abuse;
    Mental, emotional, or verbal abuse;
    Sexual abuse;
    Self Neglect; and
    Financial Exploitation.

    While the LTCO, APS, and local police will likely be more concerned about the best interests of the dementia patient, your best hope of "protection" is that any investigation by any of these groups will not result in a finding that may have stolen from the patient.

    If you are accused of a crime, you should consult a criminal defense attorney licensed in Georgia.

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  • Medicare

    I am over 75 yrs old, have a green card for the last 16 yrs but just worked in US about 2 yrs. I am wondring if I am eligible for Medicare or wellfare, if so how shoudl I apply? I have no insurance and never paid for any premiums or taxes in US.

    Paul’s Answer

    Under the facts you describe, you are not eligible to receive Medicare yet. If you had worked in the U.S. at least forty quarters (ten years) and paid FICA taxes towards Medicare during that entire period, you would become eligible for Medicare at age 65, or at the earliest age thereafter in which you met the ten year work history requirement.

    However, if you have lived in the US for at least five consecutive years (and it sounds like you have), you can "buy in" to Medicare. This is FAR more expensive than the usual Medicare premium (again, because you have not paid in for the required 10 years). If you do opt to "buy in" to Medicare, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars each month for Medicare benefits.

    If you have a spouse who meets the residency and work requirements (ie., someone who has lived and worked in the US for at least 10 years and for whom FICA taxes have been properly withheld), you may qualify for Medicare through them.

    If none of the above options work, you can apply for Medicaid (NOT Medicare) if you were lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. before August 22, 1996. See the Georgia Department of Family and Childrens' Services fact sheet on ABD (Aged, Blind, Disabled) Medicaid here:

    Regarding welfare, here in Georgia you can apply for a whole host of benefits online via the Compass application, located at: If you have questions, you can call your local DFCS office from the list here: They can explain quickly if there are any benefits that you, as a green card holder, might receive based upon your income and circumstances.

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  • How do I stop having a payee? What are the necessary steps and paperwork that needs to be filled out.

    Does the paperwork go to the Social Security Office after I have made a copy for my records? I was thinking I should open a bank account so that I could have my checks sent as direct deposit into my bank account.

    Paul’s Answer

    The Social Security Administration maintains an overview webpage for beneficiaries like you who have questions about Representative Payees:

    The SSA webpage notes:

    "You have the right to receive your own Social Security check unless SSA believes you are not capable of managing or directing the management of your money.

    If you have a representative payee because of a physical or a mental disability, in order to become your own payee, you must show SSA that you are now mentally and physically able to handle your money yourself. You could provide:

    A doctor's statement that there has been a change in your condition and that the doctor believes you are able to care for yourself; or
    An official copy of a court order saying that the court believes that you can take care of yourself; or
    Other evidence that shows your ability to take care of yourself.

    Note: If SSA believes your condition has improved to the point that you no longer need a payee, we may reevaluate your eligibility for disability payments."

    In summary:
    1. If you don't know already, find out why you have a rep payee. In my experience, SSA is very quick to appoint a rep payee if they have doubts about a beneficiary's ability to manage his or her own money.
    2. Talk to your local SSA office about what if anything you can do to receive your benefits without a rep payee. Know that your local SSA office has a duty to act in your best financial interest, and employees take that duty seriously.
    3. Do your best to demonstrate to your local SSA office that you don't need a rep payee. This may take time, and there are no guarantees that you will succeed. If you originally sought a rep payee for yourself because you thought you were unable to manage your own money, that would make it extra difficult to now remove the rep payee. Good luck!

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