RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Clarissa Wood has been taking care of her disabled older brother Billy Jones for more than a year. Last March she learned about a Missouri program that would allow her to get paid for a few of the many hours she devotes to caring for him.
The Medicaid-funded program is administered by private companies. Wood chose a company called All About You Health Services in Raytown. According to state guidelines, All About You's role was to make sure she was actually doing the work she was being paid $9.75 an hour for. All About You was responsible for issuing her bi-monthly pay checks, withholding taxes and then forwarding those taxes to the state and federal government.
All was well for the first couple of month, but by May, Wood had stopped receiving pay statements, showing her withholding, although she kept requesting them
"She told me she would be emailing those to me and I have not gotten a single one," said Wood, referring to All About You Health Services' owner Genise Bartee.
By August Wood received notice that All About You was not paying the government the employment taxes it was withholding. Because of the way the program was set up, Wood's disabled brother is held responsible when those taxes are not paid.
"In August he got a registered letter saying none of the taxes had been paid for the state," Wood said.
By the time Problem Solvers met with Wood in November, the payroll taxes still had not been paid to either the federal or state government. Wood said her calls to company owner Genise Bartee were not being returned. Even a certified letter she mailed was never picked up, according to a notice Wood received from the post office.
Now penalties had started piling up because of the unpaid taxes. The problem "just kept getting bigger and bigger," Wood said.
Both the state and the IRS investigated, but by the time we got involved in November, nothing had been resolved. To get answers, we visited the company and spoke with owner Bartee. She acknowledged she was months late in paying taxes. She said she had no knowledge that Wood had had difficulty reaching her and said she never realized there was a certified letter waiting for her at the post office.
She also told us she had recently hired a new accountant and was in the process of getting caught up with late tax payments. On December 22, she promised Problem Solvers she would pay Wood's taxes that day and email us proof of payment. Instead we received an email saying that the e-filing system wouldn't accept the payment until January 6. That is now her new deadline. We plan to check back.
She also printed out every pay stub she owed Clarissa Wood -- dating as far back as May. Problem Solvers hand-delivered those to Wood's home.
Wood was happy to finally get the pay stubs, but says she no longer trusts All About You Health Services and has switched to a new company.