This morning I had a call from a friend that had received a bill from a government agency that was a bill for moneys she did not owe. It was no small amount, and she had mentioned she was struggling to meet this unexpected bill. This allowed me to encourage her to spend the energy to gather her documentation and to file an appeal, which this morning was upheld by the agency. They deal with over-billing incidents with such frequency that they were wholly unimpressed by a 5-digit savings for my friend. I'd like to mention my friend is smart, has run successful micro- businesses with hard work and savvy, But this was outside of her wheelhouse and the appeal was a little complicated considering there was no ready resource to provide a check-list of what was needed to appeal. (Please don't spin your wheels just saying, "But I see how I can how this!" and do NOT ignore because after the appeal period runs out you can find yourself being required to pay a stack of money in penalties and interest on top of the amount you did not appeal!)
This can come from a state agency such as the one that recently wanted me to prove I had NOT lived in my new state of residence during the 5 years prior to moving back here 18 months ago. Fortunately this was easy to do, but it took time, a bit of knowledge and a strong belief that much of government is inefficient, in effect praying on those who are too ill, too frail, too ill-informed, too intimidated by officialdom to expend their limited resources. For those who have honest family or friends to consult with, they have a fighting chance if they are not too embarrassed to ask for help. What might we do to help those whose who have little family or family that is too quick to take advantage of the situation, or those folks who have no one left because their capacity to keep living has outlasted those of their loved ones.
Bear these folks up in prayer today, and in our own families and circles of influence, encourage folks to seek help when they receive unexpected or higher than expected bills they do not fully understand or think they may have been billed in error in some way on their credit cards or bank statements. Even in the electronic age mistakes occur and electronic theft is far too common even it it does not reach the "identify theft" level.
Be careful out there!