Case was settled in October. To my understanding of the contract the Medicare lien was to be paid to them Before the check was cut and sent out to the attorney. The lawyer has had the check for about a month. For some reason, there was no real determination on the actual lien, At first before the settlement. It was about 35k, and then was determined it was 19k, no problem. But the interim final letter was sent to us and signed. However the lawyer is saying they are still waiting to hear from medicare about lowering the lien some more. Why is this even an issue, when #1, the settlement amount has enough to pay the lawyer's fees, the probate, medicare and the Personal rep. As I said the check has been there for a month or so, and the lawyer is saying maybe 30 more days. IsThisNormal
It very well could be that the lawyer is trying to get the lien reduced even further ... which is a good thing for you meaning that you have to pay less money back.
Dealing with the government is never quick ... especially when you are asking for approval to pay less than the amount the government claims you owe.
See if the lawyer can make a partial distribution and keep enough back to pay the reduced lien.
It may also require going to back to the Probate Court to revise distribution numbers.
30 days is definitely not unusual.
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Has the Judge signed a compromise order? Has the Surrogate Judge approved it? This can take a long time.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 18 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
In a personal injury / wrongful death claim a MediCare lien can be very problematic. I have had situations in which it has taken up to 6 months to resolve a MediCare lien. Lowering a lien always benefits a client. And the interest lost over 6 months nominal versus a reduction in a lien which is usually substantial.
I don't see anything unsual. But call your attorney to discuss. Believe me these liens are nothing but headaches and it takes time and effort to resolve.
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Did the lawyer explain to you why it would take 30 more days for him to release the funds? He's in the best postilion to tell you what the hold up is.
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The best source of information for you at this stage is your lawyer. Sounds like the lawyer has done a good job and continues to try to get even a better net recovery for the client(s).
Well this does not sound unusual to me. I do not know your settlement amount or your financial situation. However, if you are in desperate need of the funds, in my practice, I will commonly hold back enough money to deal with the Medicare lien (which can be a long horrible process) and release the remaining funds after fees and expenses to the client. Just call your lawyer and ask them. It sounds like he or she is working hard for you.
Interim lien notice is interim. Final lien must be obtained, and MCare usually reduces pro rata for atty fees and costs. If further reductions are sought for any reason, that takes longer as it is a separate process that can take time. Atty is not supposed to disburse until he has paid MCare.
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