I'm looking for some advice. It's about money.
I don't need to tell you that times are tough. It seems like half the experts think we are about to plunge into the second part of a double-dip recession and the other half think that we’re there already. Like a lot of people, the week to week struggle is tiring me out and it's not just about me, either. I have a wife and kids to think about, too.
I won’t lie; the idea of getting $50,000 tax-free sounds pretty good to me.
I know exactly how I can get it, too. It wouldn’t take more than a few hours of work. All I need to do is fill out some forms and talk about the time that my sweet, dearly departed mother tried to get a farm loan from the USDA.
You may be thinking that it sounds too good to be true.
Trust me, it's not. This is the real deal. I've been working on a documentary about the USDA’s “black farmers” settlement for months now. I've interviewed dozens of people and it's very clear that you can collect a $50,000 check if you know how to fill out the paperwork correctly. And I know how to fill that paperwork out.
Basically, you tell the USDA that you or a relative attempted to farm during a certain period of time but that you or the relative were a victim of discrimination and the USDA didn't even give out the loan paperwork. No proof one way or another. The claim is judged by an "adjudicator" who looks at your paperwork and if it seems specific, detailed and believable, they approve the claim and you collect a $50,000 check tax-free.
In the Pigford black farmers settlement, over 15,000 people collected these checks and I've been told by a number of people that over 80% of them collected on this “attempted to farm” standard. If you're still skeptical, here's the official government accounting
. The U.S. government paid out over billion dollars in claims and most of it didn’t go to farmers.
“Great, but I’m not only not a farmer but I’m not even African-American.”
Keep reading. We’ve got that covered.
Since I’m not black, I couldn't file under Pigford or the new Pigford 2 legislation. Sure, some white people actually did collect under Pigford by providing farm information for a black claimant and then splitting the money. Sure, the lawyers and adjudicators were mostly white and they made out like bandits, too. But let's ignore the whole race issue.
The “black farmers" settlement was such a success that the lawyers realized they could create an entirely new settlement that almost everyone can qualify for. Me, you, everyone. All you need is a mother.
The government created a new discrimination settlement for "woman farmers.” They put up a website about it, too – FarmerClaims.gov
-- and as much as people complain about the quality of government services, this one even has a toll-free number that’s open from nine in the morning till eight at night.
And if you’re still sitting here scratching your head and thinking that the ‘attempted to farm’ thing must be too good to be true, just visit that website. It’s the official government site and look what it says in the FAQ.
I went into the USDA office and they wouldn't provide me an application, so I don't have a denial letter or anything from USDA. Am I eligible for a claim and if so what do I need to provide?
You may be eligible to submit a claim depending on your specific circumstances. You may request a claims package and review the eligibility criteria contained in the claims package. If you have questions, you may consult with counsel or another legal service provider.
Right there in black and white. Fifty thousand tax free dollars, ripe for the taking. Request a claims packet, toll free.
I don't normally think this way but like I said, times are tough. It's not my fault that the government got the economy in this big mess. Lots
of people seem to be taking advantage of it, too. Look at the bailouts for the banks and the auto industry. That's billions of dollars, not a measly $50,000. Maybe this is MY little bailout. Right?
And now that I think about it, $50,000 might sound like a lot but really it isn’t that much. It's not like you can buy a house or anything. We rent and my wife would sure like to own a house.
Wait! My wife! I need to check and see if she went to the USDA office, too. That would be another $50,000 free and clear. And if my wife went to try to farm, there is a pretty good chance that her mother went as well. And probably her late grandmother, too. Now we're up to about $200,000 and starting to sound like real money. We may have to split some of that with her mom. Whatever, we’ll work that out.
It occurs to me that since we’re splitting money, that my ex-wife might want to know about the settlement as well. Her two sisters would definitely be interested and I believe when their mom passed away a couple years ago, they might remember something she said about trying to get a USDA loan but those awful people wouldn't even give her paperwork.
I actually do know quite a bit about the mistakes you can make filling out this paperwork and how to avoid them, so I'm really be doing my ex and her family a big service by helping them through the process. Collecting is easy when you know how.
Oh! You know what? I could actually help total strangers fill out the paperwork. I mean, I wouldn't do it for them or anything. I wouldn’t lie for them. I’d just do what I'm doing here and explain the opportunity, then tell people the right way to fill out the paperwork if they want get their own $50,000 check.
Would you pay $100 to learn how to make $50,000? Of course you would. That's simple math. I bet there are thousands of people across the country would pay for a seminar or join an organization that helped them out.
It's not like the government is out there prosecuting anybody for this. That ought to tell you something. And it's also not like the media is covering the story in any way. Even a lot of people who know about the farmers settlements just shrug their shoulders. Nobody's getting busted. Just business as usual, right? People complain about tax dollars being wasted every day. It just goes in one ear and out the other for all of us and this is just a drop in the bucket. A couple of billion dollars. Look at how much money the government spends on other stuff. Trillions. They won’t even notice if my family takes a quarter million or so.
Huh. When I started this, I thought I'd be asking for advice. Now that I think about it, I guess that I don’t really have any questions at all.