Dollar bills

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Use of Private Collection Agencies  

by Karen Flores, Hotline Attorney Recently, the IRS has announced that it has initiated a new private debt collection program.  The IRS has hired four private debt collection agencies to collect some longtime unpaid federal tax debts.  Collection action will begin spring 2017.  The four collection agencies are: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa Conserve of Fairport, New York Performant of Livermore, California Pioneer of Horseheads, … Continue reading Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Use of Private Collection Agencies  

Slices of bread and $2 bills.

Bridge Card “Lost Benefit” Information

by Lyndsy Gamet, MiCAFE Stakeholder and Network Partners Manager Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that it owes some Bridge Card recipients additional benefits that date back to 2014. They refer to the amount as a “lost benefit.” This was an error related to the Heat and Utility Standard Allowance changes. This Allowance was removed for many recipients, and for some it was … Continue reading Bridge Card “Lost Benefit” Information

Red corded phone.

Stop calling me!

by Ellen Mason, Hotline Attorney If bill collectors are bugging you remember: you do not have to talk to them. Federal law lets you demand that a bill collector stop calling you. So the next time a bill collector calls and you don’t want to talk to him or her say “Stop calling me!” The bill collector must not call you again except (1) to … Continue reading Stop calling me!

Quarter, penny, and other coins.

Don’t Have to File a Michigan Income Tax Return? Maybe You Should Anyway

by James Michael Curcio, Hotline Intern Many older Americans count themselves among the 45% of taxpayers who do not pay federal income tax, either because their income is too low or because their income is not taxable. While not owing federal taxes does not necessarily mean you do not owe state taxes, it is likely that if you are not filing a federal return, you … Continue reading Don’t Have to File a Michigan Income Tax Return? Maybe You Should Anyway

Stack of books

I am 65 and stuck with student loan debt. What do I do?

by Jadranko Tomic-Bobas, Managing Hotline Attorney   Over the last decade, outstanding student loan debt has nearly tripled with the current total is $1.3 trillion. Households with a net worth of less than $8500 hold more than 60%. More than 3 million Americans ages 50-64 are in default on their student loans. According to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Americans 50 and older … Continue reading I am 65 and stuck with student loan debt. What do I do?

Husband and wife looking at computer scared.

Data Shows Fraud Complaints on the Rise in Michigan

by Miles Morley, MiCAFE Community Partner Liaison The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) has released their 2015 Data Book. CSN is a database of consumer identity theft and fraud complaints. The complaints are gathered from federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Internal Revenue Service, state law enforcement organizations, such as the Michigan Office of the Attorney General, and non-governmental … Continue reading Data Shows Fraud Complaints on the Rise in Michigan

Three women, three generations. Happy and smiling.

Steps To Take When Becoming A Caregiver

by Christine Steinmetz, J.D., Hotline Attorney This post is the second in our series on caregivers. In our previous post, we provided questions to help you determine whether you are a caregiver. In this post, we will discuss the steps to take when becoming a caregiver and the resources that are available to help make caregiving manageable. The Legal Hotline receives several calls each week … Continue reading Steps To Take When Becoming A Caregiver