Modified: November 3, 2022

Rights of the Disabled to Remain Silent When Applying For Aid

What You Don’t Have To Tell The Lender If You Are On Disability

Only confidential conversations allowed

Don’t speak to anyone but a lawyer.

In November 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) launched a bulletin asking people to take notice and cease certain disallowed practices by people who lend money to others, aka lenders. The problem is that some lenders have asked disabled loan applicants illegal, irrelevant questions before offering them the loan they should not be asking.

At the outset, it remains quite a common fact that you will have to face a lot of questions when applying for a loan. Obviously, questions about your finances must be answered honestly before you can borrow the loan proceeds. Income information is the most important part of this information.

How Does Social Security Law Income Come Into Play?

But lenders must tread softly in cases of income-related questions about people who receive social security disability income. An issue recently asked of borrowers on disability is if they know how long their disability income will continue to be paid out. This is the question that CFPB has explicitly not allowed lenders to ask their borrowers. In addition, researchers have found that many banks contact the doctors of disabled persons to learn about their disability condition and how long it might continue.

It raises serious concerns about the transaction if the lender insists on these questions. Such questions are not permissible. Simultaneously, the borrower must not bother to arrange for any documents containing information about the condition of the disability or its duration.

The officials have said from the governing authorities that asking for such documents and information from people with disabilities is discrimination and against the law. This concern might sound new. But this concern has been around for quite some time.

Example Of A Recent Bank Asking Illegal Questions Problem

We see this in a recent example. A bank asked similar questions about activities that were synonymous with asking the terms of disability. Furthermore, the bank asked the borrower whether he would continue to receive his disability income for another three years. The bank did this before offering him refinancing on his mortgage. Besides, the bank also approached the borrower’s doctor about the status of his disability.

The bank grasped the situation well and ended up settling the matter by offering a significant sum to the plaintiff before entering into lengthy court procedures. A borrower with a disability is only required to disclose he receives disability income. And the victim gets the amount of revenue coming to him. Any questions and inquiries from the lender beyond this are not permissible.

Related Issue – Attorneys and Clients In Dealing With Online Communications

Let’s take a realistic look at the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and its communications recommendations. These are tips for attorneys new to the field or with more experience. Regardless of your years in law, we have a few ideas for you to explain to clients trying to apply online for loans or dealing with lawyers.

Not every single communication is the same, but it offers insight into some general rules. For the most part, attorneys and customers should consider their messages and:

  • The content of the message itself, including sensitive or private information. How are these communiques organized?
  • What is the practicality of improving or introducing new email security standards and understanding its downsides – super important?
  • What is the overall risk of intercepting or reading these communications by someone you did not authorize?
  • What impacts your communications with your clients: large and small, routine, and more involved?

As you can imagine, this is a bit of a puzzle for an attorney not specialized in web or comm security. In some instances, the lawyer’s office hires outside help to find who fished or hacked your client’s email forensically. So as you can see, it’s not just that a bank can’t ask about a disability; the client should be careful about providing an SSN or any other unique info like universal passwords. However, in others, there are several vital steps your firm acts on internally. Each one makes a fundamental difference.

Taking Plaintive Steps

This is why the ABA and other organizations ask how data is handled. Also, many attorneys have no or just cursory training in these matters. However, you only have so much time or money.

Consider the following:

  • Who handles your information? What is their info security training?
  • What is your email routing method? Does your site use HTTPS protocol?
  • Is sensitive data labeled or treated as such? Consider means of securing this type of data separately.
  • Is this in line with your communications and privacy policy? Every firm worth its salt has one making your files more secure and inspiring confidence in your clients. They notice.
  • Each attorney should read and digest the new Model Rules of Professional Conduct. This provides an essential backdrop for lawyers in just about any field to prepare themselves for recent and upcoming changes.

Changing to a uniform, secure email or communications network allows for less juggling between different systems and less to consider for each client. Often, firms utilize a reliable cloud-based solution for their needs. Besides, even those without a lot of cash on hand have options. You may want to research Google Drive and Dropbox as their primary or secondary mode of such use. Each is free usage. But how secure they are would be something to ask a lawyer and a tech expert.

Furthermore, keep each in mind as you proceed. This list isn’t comprehensive. However, it allows firms of all sizes a jumping-off point in making their communications ones that can and should be above reproach or worry. In time, this pays for itself many times over. One less thing on your plate. Furthermore, each bit of security is critical for your firm.

Moreover, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) does not give any written proof to disability income receivers by duration. Disabled lenders beware of such tricks from banks. And if this story sounds familiar, contact a skilled attorney. The Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, is here to help.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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