ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Economic Stimulus Check Deadline Nears

The IRS has issued 76.1 million economic stimulus payments so far this year, based on 2007 tax returns filed.

This equals approximately $63.8 billion. The agency expects to issue 124 million payments by the end of the year. Eligible individuals are receiving up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples filing joint returns) plus $300 for eligible children younger than age 17. Potential beneficiaries must apply for the payment by October 15, 2008. Those who have already filed a form 1040 for tax year 2007 do not need to do anything else to receive the one-time payment.

Those who do not normally need to file an income tax return, but received at least $3,000 from Social Security benefits, veterans benefits, certain railroad retirement benefits, or earned income in 2007, must submit a simplified version of a form 1040A to the IRS in order to receive the stimulus payments. The minimum payment for this group is $300 for an individual and $600 for a couple filing jointly.

The IRS has identified 5.2 million retirees and veterans benefits beneficiaries who may be eligible for the economic stimulus payments. In July 2008, the IRS announced that it would send a second special mailing to those individuals who may be eligible but have not yet filed for the payment. The package includes a letter explaining eligibility for the stimulus payment and how to claim it. It also includes a sample income tax form plus an actual tax form that people can complete and mail to the IRS.

A recent AARP survey reveals that failure by many seniors to collect the economic stimulus payment is not due to lack of need, but by lack of knowledge regarding the payment and how to apply for it. AARP has taken steps to reach out to seniors and others who may not realize that they may qualify for this payment. They have an online form at www.aarp.org/stimulushelp that contains a simplified form for basic information, which is then transferred to the correct places on the form 1040A. AARP recognizes that many seniors do not use the Internet, but the purpose of the AARP outreach is to make seniors aware of their options.

Potential recipients of the economic stimulus payment should take care to protect their valuable personal information. The IRS will always communicate in writing; the agency will never call or e-mail asking for a person's Social Security number or bank account information. The IRS will never send a letter or e-mail asking for a response by telephone or e-mail, and IRS agents will not ask to come to a person's home for the purpose of the economic stimulus payment. Do not pay anyone or go through a third-party intermediary to apply for or speed up the payment process.

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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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