Structured-settlement annuitants are lured by quick cash to unload their future payouts for dimes on the dollar.
BALTIMORE — The letter arrived in April, a mishmash of strange numbers and words. This at first did not alarm Rose. Most letters are that way for her — frustrating puzzles she can’t solve. Rose, who can scarcely read or write, calls herself a “lead kid.” Her childhood home, where lead paint chips blanketed her bedsheets like snowflakes, “affected me really bad,” she says. “In everything I do.”
She says she can’t work a professional job. She can’t live alone. And, she says, she surely couldn’t understand this letter.
[Freddie Gray’s life a study in the effects of lead paint on poor blacks]
So on that April day, the 20-year-old says, she asked her mom to give it a look. Her mother glanced at the words, then back at her daughter. “What does this mean all of your payments were sold to a third party?” her mother recalls saying.
The distraught woman said the letter, written by her insurance company, referred to Rose’s lead checks. The family had settled a lead-paint lawsuit against one Baltimore slumlord in 2007, granting Rose a monthly check of nearly $1,000, with yearly increases. Those payments were guaranteed for 35 years.
“It’s been sold?” Rose asked, memories soon flashing.
To read the rest of Rose’s story, go here: How companies make millions off lead-poisoned, poor blacks – The Washington Post