Important Things One Should Know Concerning Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

America’s working group is one of the very important factors that make this nation a major economic force around the world. To make sure that they get rewarded as they retire, the federal government passed the Social Security Act in 1935.

This Act first served as a form of social insurance and was originally intended as a financial source for retiring employees, many of whom suffered from poverty during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Now known as the Social Security Administration (SSA), two large federal programs aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities have been created through it: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which SSA introduced in 1956, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which SSA created in 1974.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, was designed to provide cash benefits to Social Security members with total permanent disabilities and pensions to retired members aged 65 or above.

There are criteria that should be met in order for one to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits. The most basic of these requirements are:

  • Having worked in a job covered by Social Security or by being self-employed; and,
  • Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA.
  • Employee earn four credits a year (a table that shows the number of credits needed by an employee who gets disabled is available in an SSA website with address, https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10072.pdf. This table also shows the required number of years of work needed to be able to earn certain number of credits). These credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes (employees’ pay slips usually identify SS tax payments as “FICA,” that is, Federal Insurance Contributions Act).

While members usually need 40 credits (earned after 10 years of work) to be considered eligible for disability benefits, employees who have only been a few years in work and, therefore, have earned fewer credits can also qualify. One very important thing any employee will have to know, however, is that even if they are eligible now, if they stop working under Social Security and so stop earning credits (for a certain length of time), then they may no longer be considered eligible in the future.

Another important requirement for eligibility is, of course, the total, permanent disability sustained by the employee. SSDI does not cover partial or short-term disability. Employees who sustain this type of disability can, instead, file their claim with their state’s Workers’ Compensation office, but only if the injury (that results to disability) is work-related or sustained while performing their job.

Disability, as defined by the SSA (at least for SSDI purposes), means:

  • A condition that will render a person unable to to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled;
  • The disability renders a person unable to perform any other type of work; and,
  • The disability may either last for at least a year or result in death.

Once an employee starts receiving the cash benefits, payment of benefit will only stop if:

  • He/She works at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;
  • If the SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved to the point that he/she is no longer disabled; or,
  • If he/she turns 65 – if this is the case, recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and no longer disability benefit.

As pointed out in the Hankey Law Office website, Social Security Disability benefits is a reliable source of income that makes a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. People whose physical or mental disabilities keep them out of the workforce, therefore, should find out if they are eligible to the financial assistance known as Social Security Disability Insurance. A highly-competent SSDI lawyer may be able to help in this endeavor, as well as help prepare and file all necessary documents and forms in case of eligibility.

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Truck Driver Errors

An accident reconstruction team polished a crash site on Interstate 20, erasing remnants of a fatal accident that claimed the life of a six-year-old on Friday, March 11, that left a family mourning.

According to tow truck driver Dexter Chancey, who usually traverse this highway behind the wheel of his 18-wheeler, among the big accident sites in this stretch of road in Georgia include Washington Road, Wheeler Road, and Mike Pagett past Tobacco Road, among others. The reason why accidents happen on these roads? It’s because according to him, drivers, who are mostly truck drivers, cannot seem to focus on driving.

According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 74% of 1,425 motor vehicle accidents in 2015 in the state, which has risen by 21% from 2014’s records, has been caused by distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence just last year alone. Last year, funding to make roads safer is the aim of the Transportation Funding Act of 2015.

According to the website of Ausband & Dumont, truck accidents are very dangerous indeed, given that the larger they are, the more they are in danger of rolling over, which makes it dangerous for their occupants. Being with a truck along the road is also dangerous for other motorists on the road because given the size of a truck, once another vehicle collides with it, there is a high percentage that the occupants of the other vehicle will lose their lives.

Some drivers jump out of a truck that they know is in danger of rolling over. A jumper might save his life, but there is no guarantee that this will do the trick because if you roll left and you jump or fall out, the truck may roll over on top of you; in fact, a lot of drivers are killed annually in 90-degree rollovers when they fall out of the cab and their truck falls on top of them. However, taking the risk and jumping out of the truck might be better than staying in the cab if the rig does a 180-degree turn or more.

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Car Insurance Benefits

Almost any vehicle carries a weight of obligation for the owner and thus involves a substantial investment. More than that, although this is a way of transport that can cause serious injury to those inside or outside the vehicle, as well as for those people who are within its area. Furthermore, expensive vehicles including a yacht will probably set the owner back a pretty penny, therefore any harm will certainly burn an even bigger hole in the pocket. Whether ensuring coverage for liability or property damage, it makes perfect sense to get insurance that is adequate for all your vehicles.

It should also be mentioned Third Party Liability protection won’t cover property damage or your own medical expenses, so stinting on the rates of good insurance coverage could cause much more fiscal vulnerability for you in the event you don’t possess a third party to compete with. Automobile injuries on land or water often lead a world of harm that won’t be simple to recoup from, equally for you or your vehicle. You need to purchase insurance for your own injuries and property damage.

When uncertain about what would be adequate coverage for you or your vehicle, check with a trustworthy insurance provider in your area. They’ll provide an estimate for what you want and what you can afford.

As said on the website of IOTS, third party liability (TPL) motor insurance in the US is required for motorists, but this just covers bodily injury and property damage to others up to a specific limit. Anything above that limit is an out-of-pocket expense for you personally as the at-fault driver. If you get enough protection, your insurance provider can really cover personal injury claims against you. At least for individual injuries, $100,000 is recommended for each individual in terms of third party coverage, but more tends to be better.

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Types of the Deadly Mesothelioma

In December of 1979, one famous Hollywood actor was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable, deadly cancer that involves the mesothelium or the cell wall that protects the body’s internal organs. According to the website of Williams & Kherkher, the only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos, a mineral that that has been used as a component in the manufacture of more than 5,000 products due to its resistance to heat, fire, electricity, and chemicals.

Though the movie sound stage insulation and the flame-retardant driver helmets and suits (which this actor wore whenever he raced) exposed him to the toxic mineral, he was more convinced that it was removing asbestos that covered the pipes of the ship he was onboard (while he was in the U.S. Marines Corps late in the 1940s) to be the real reason behind the cancer.

The 20 to 40 years latency period of mesothelioma makes this cancer diagnosable only (usually) upon reaching stage 3 or 4, a stage which renders the illness already irreversible and, therefore, incurable.

Mesothelioma has at least four types, each named after the body area where the cancer has formed. These types include:

  • Pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the pleura, or lining of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma of the four; its symptoms are fever, weakness, shortness of breath, swallowing difficulty, persistent chest pain and night sweats.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma, the cancer that scars the peritoneum or the mesothelial lining of the abdomen. The symptoms of this type of cancer include abdominal pain and swelling, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea and fatigue.
  • Pericardial mesothelioma, which develops when the spaces between the pericardium or the exterior lining of the heart, get filled with fluid. The symptoms of this type of mesothelioma include irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulty, coughing, chest pain, fatigue, night sweats and fever.
  • Testicular mesothelioma, the type of mesothelioma that develops along the lining of the male’s reproductive glands, also known as the testis; its major signs include swelling of the scrotum and development of testicular lumps.

People are exposed to asbestos in different ways; but whether one gets exposed to large amounts or to very small fractions of it, the danger of developing mesothelioma can be the same.

During the Second World War, for instance, more than four million shipyard workers, including enlisted personnel and officers from the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, got exposed to thousands of tons of asbestos as they built US warships, and insulated hot water pipes, steampipes and boilers. Thousands of these men and women were diagnosed with mesothelioma 20 to 40 after, many of whom have died already (thousands of others died due to asbestosis, another lethal effect of asbestos).

In another scenario, a wife had the task of laundering her husband’s asbestos-contaminated working clothes – the only exposure to asbestos that she had. Her husband was diagnosed with mesothelioma 40 years after his first exposure to it; he died two years after the diagnosis. The wife, on the other hand, got diagnosed with the same illness, five months after her husband’s death; her survival rate was much shorter than her husband’s, however, as she only lived three months after the diagnosis.

Many more individuals are suffering from mesothelioma and since the US continues to allow the use of this toxic mineral in the production of different products, many more will be diagnosed with this incurable cancer in the future.

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Protecting Children from Drowning and other Swimming Pool Injuries

Data shows that drowning is one of the most common causes of injuries and fatalities in children. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drowning caused an annual count of 390 fatalities involving children aged 14 years and younger between the years 2007 to 2009. The same report noted that similar swimming-related accidents led to about 5,200 injuries requiring medical attention in children aged 15 and younger during 2009 until 2011.

Considering these numbers, parents are right to feel concerned about potential dangers their children could end up facing as they enjoy one of the most beloved recreational activities in America. Aside from the threat of drowning, children could face risk of injuries such as brain trauma, disembowelment, evisceration, and other near-drowning injuries. Even worst, these devastating outcomes can lead to permanent disability or death.

How can parents prevent such accidents from occurring? Is there a way they can protect their children from the possibility of drowning and other swimming-related injuries? Before any active steps can be taken, it’s important that parents are aware of the factors that lead to these dangerous incidents.

According to the website of the Atlanta accident lawyers from Ausband & Dumont Law Firm, swimming-related accidents and injuries are typically caused by the following:

  • Diving board accidents
  • Drain-related accidents
  • Lack of proper supervision (lifeguards)

One of the most important thing parents can do to keep their children safe is by making sure they are well supervised. More than that, parents should also be able to expect that the swimming facilities they are using remain completely safe and regulated. Property owners share the responsibility of keeping young children away from possible dangers by making sure their premises are properly maintained. The law can hold them accountable for any accidents caused by negligence or recklessness.

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Mediated Divorce: Keeping Spouses Allies Even After Divorce

Complex, emotional and demoralizing – these are how marriage counselors and legal professionals describe the divorce process, especially if it is contested as this will mean that the case and all related issues will have to be settled by a family judge in court where anyone can witness the whole procedure.

This is most probably why more than 90% of divorce cases in the U.S. are now uncontested, meaning these are settled out of court as the divorcing spouses try to reach an amicable agreement on all issues related to divorce, namely child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony, paternity issues, division of assets and properties, and distribution of debts.

Only when spouses cannot or maybe choose not to agree on divorce terms will court hearings be necessary. But couples need to understand that a divorce settled in court will mean entrusting all decisions to the judge and may take months or even a couple of years before a final decision is made.

While protecting one’s interests is very important in a divorce case, so is arriving at agreeable terms through friendly means. This friendly settlement is possible and is, in fact, what many divorcing couples are already choosing – divorce through mediation.

Divorce through mediation or mediated divorce is for couples who want to arrive at the most agreeable terms on all divorce-related matters by themselves and who want to maintain privacy in their marital lives. According to Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers, in this process the couple is heard and guided by an objective third party person called the mediator, who is chosen by the spouses themselves. With their respective divorce lawyers, the mediator hears both sides, offering his/her opinion at times (but never imposing anything on the couple) until the spouses arrive at terms acceptable to both. All decisions arrived at in mediated divorce are legal and ought to be followed by both spouses; failure to do so by one can result to legal actions by the other.

Besides being much less painful and stressful, other benefits of mediated divorce include:

  • It is much less costly as this procedure may take only hours or a couple of days, compared to a court procedure that may last more than a year, and so require spouses to often incur off time from work, as well as pay costly court fees
  • Besides having a free hand in arriving at decisions that will work best for the spouses, their marital problems and personal lives also remain confidential as this divorce procedure requires only the presence of the mediator and the spouses (who may have or not have lawyers)
  • Compliance to the terms of the agreement is more certain and voluntary as these were made by the spouses themselves

In a child custody case, decisions are made in consideration of the best interests of the child; mediated divorce, on the other hand, was definitely designed for the best interests of the divorcing spouses.

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Understanding Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are possible compensation awards that can be given in a personal injury lawsuit. Although not directly related to the plaintiff or the case, punitive damages are designed as a form of punishment towards the defendant in the case in order to prevent future similar misconduct. Because each state as its own set of strict laws regarding punitive damages in a civil claim, it is important to first determine what is applicable in your case. According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer can help assist and evaluate the probability of punitive damages.

In a civil case, compensation that is awarded for the plaintiff is generally to compensate for the losses that the accident or injuries have lead to. These damages are all dependent on how much the plaintiff has suffered because of the injuries and the necessary amount he or she would need to return to the “normal” life that they were living before the injuries occurred. This would mean that the amount of compensation would depend on the evidence presented by the plaintiff and their lawyer during the trial.

Meanwhile, punitive damages are not aimed to compensate for the damages suffered by the plaintiff: they are generally intended to deter such actions not only from the defendant, but also for other motorists. It is also aimed to punish the defendant for their negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing. Although they do serve an important purpose, however, they are not awarded to every case.

Punitive damages are only awarded when there is evidence of gross negligence, blatant disregard to the rights of others, and other actions that the court may deem fit for punitive damages. There are states that provide punitive damages, as well as have set limits or caps on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded by the court to the plaintiff. In order for punitive damages to be considered, a court will have to submit a meticulous evaluation that would justify the need for punitive damages. Various factors are considered, and only after a rigorous deliberation will punitive damages be awarded in a personal injury case.

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Need Some Personal Injury Tips? Keep Reading!

When you are injured under circumstances that should be taken to court, then you need to be fully prepared in order to make your case. The earlier you get in touch with a personal injury lawyer the better. Make the time now, and review the following tips for your benefit.

Information on the personal injury law website of the Tennessee lawyers Pohl Berk indicates that you should never let anyone that is at fault for your injury convince you that you should take a payout without contacting an attorney. The amount they offer may sound fair, but there is no real way to be sure of that without contacting someone that knows exactly how much your damages are worth.

File a report with the police. Filing a police report will give you an official way to document names, date, and time of the incident, as well as the contact information of other involved parties. In many cases, this will be your official record of what occurred. This police report will also be valuable evidence should your case go to trial.

When choosing a personal injury lawyer, pay special attention to the size of their firm. Generally, larger firms mean that more than one lawyer may work on your case. These are usually Associate Attorneys who are trying to gain some legal experience, while having a senior attorney oversee and make the final decisions. Smaller firms can usually provide better management by having fewer people working on a case. Feel free to ask if other attorneys will be working on your case in any firm you’re interested in.

Now you are ready to make that phone call. Of course, you need to use the tips you have learned to help you find the right personal injury lawyer. It is time to get your case moving, as every day really counts, and you need to be fully prepared once it goes to court.

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Customized Isn’t Always a Good Fit

When you pop a pill or have a doctor inject something into you for whatever reason, you don’t question if it is safe to do so. Sure, you are advised about associated side effects, but you certainly don’t expect the drugs to be contaminated by fungi or bacteria. You presume that they are prepared under sterile conditions. After all, these drug companies are strictly regulated by the government. Aren’t they?

Well, not compounding pharmacies.

The general public is generally not in the know about how these drugs and medications get from the manufacturer to drug stores and doctor’s offices. When these products come from major drug companies, they are prepared under rigorously sterile conditions, so there is a lot of confidence that they are safe to administer. But there are certain products that are also available from compounding pharmacies, and since these are lightly regulated, the same confidence regarding their safety may be misplaced.

This is the case that led to the death of 45 people who were administered vials from a contaminated batch of an injectable steroid called methylprednisolone acetate. Although it is also manufactured by reputable drug companies, these contain preservatives designed to kill any microbes that may be present in the product, and many physicians prefer to use products that are preservative-free. Compounding pharmacies offer products such as this injectable steroid methylprednisolone acetate without preservatives. Unfortunately, this has turned out to have unacceptable risks.

Steroids contaminated with fungi or bacteria are a deadly combination, because steroids repress the immune system, allowing the contaminant free rein in the body. The Food and Drug Administration investigated the work environment of the compounding pharmacy that sold the contaminated methylprednisolone acetate and found the conditions highly unsuitable for the work it was doing. The investigation came a little too late for those who have already been harmed, though.

It is turning out that it may be safer to go with mainstream drug products. Always ask your physician the source of any drug or medication before it is administered to make a more informed decision.

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Inheritance and Child Support

Child support is one of the most challenging issues in cases involving determination of parentage, dissolution of marriage, annulment, marital separation, termination of a civil union or divorce. Family law courts, where divorce and child support are decided (only if divorcing parents cannot arrive at a child support agreement by themselves), always consider what is best for the child when making decision regarding custody and support of a biological child.

There are many factors considered by family courts on child support issues and parents should understand that whatever decision a court comes up with, it will, in no way, compromise their own financial situation, capabilities and needs.

Child support refers to the periodic or monthly payment that the obligor (the non-custodial parents) pays to the obligee (the custodial parent, a guardian, a caregiver or a government agency in the absence of all those mentioned or if the court deems that not one of those mentioned is qualified) until the child’s 18th birthday, the child’s emancipation or until the court decides. This support is intended to provide for the basic needs of the child, like food, shelter, clothing, health care and education. In some instances, the court will require the obligor to provide continuous financial to the child for his/her college or advanced education, dental or medical needs, vacation, and so forth.

The most common factors considered by the court in determining the amount of payment that the obligor has to pay include, the spouses’ present income, age and health, professional opportunities, capability to pay and the child’s needs. These factors are based on the specifications made by the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, which requires parents to support their biological children.

There are instances when the obligee may request the court to make changes in the amount of support given to a child. This can be done based on the ground of “changed circumstances.” Changes are usually requests for an increase in the amount of support, especially if the obligor gets better opportunities in life, receives an inheritance or wins the lottery. The Seegmiller Law Firm suggests that a settlement in a personal injury claim may also qualify as a changed circumstance.

A parent, however, whether custodial or non-custodial, may choose to include his/her child in his/her will or trust, as this will definitely be for the benefit of the child. A child is entitled by the court to claim a share in his/her parent’s property too, even if it means overriding his/her parent’s Will and Trust.

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