Basic Requirements to Qualify Under The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Program

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Social Security | 0 comments

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which the Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced in 1956, was designed to provide cash benefits to Social Security members who are below 65 years old and suffering from total permanent disabilities.

The criteria that should be met in order for an individual to be eligible for disability benefits include:

  • Having worked in a job covered by Social Security long enough or recently enough;
  • Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA. Employees can earn four credits within a year. 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); and,
  • Having a total or permanent disability, which is a condition that will render a person unable to perform the work that he/she did before getting disabled, render a person unable to perform any other type of work, and which can be expected to either last for at least a year or result in death.

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

Once a beneficiary starts receiving cash payment, this may stop if:

  • The SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved making him/her no longer qualified to be referred to as disabled;
  • He/She starts working at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;or,
  • If he/she turns 65 (in this case, the recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and not disability benefit).

As explained by Indianapolis Social Security Disability attorneys, Social Security Disability benefit is a reliable source of financial support for totally disabled SS member and their families, when the SS member has lost the capability of earning a salary. People whose physical or mental disabilities keep them out of the workforce should find out if they are eligible to the financial assistance known as Social Security Disability Insurance. A highly-competent SSDI attorney may be able to help in this endeavor, as well as help prepare all the necessary documents and forms in case of eligibility.

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Defective Car or Car Part: A Serious Fault of Car Manufacturers

Posted by on Jul 5, 2016 in Dangerous Products & Drugs | 0 comments

Defective Car or Car Part: A Serious Fault of Car Manufacturers

In 2014, two car manufacturing companies issued recalls on their vehicles due to defective parts discovered in them. One of the firms, Nissan had to recall nearly a million of its vehicles due to unreliable front passenger air bags; General Motors, the other firm, recalled 2.4 million of its sedans due to faulty taillights. This was not the only recall that General Motors had to make, however. There was still its 26.9 million vehicles which had a defective ignition system. Though alarmingly big, this number was just half of the nearly 53 million vehicles worldwide (about 34 million are in the US) that had to be recalled due to the explosive air bag inflator from Takata Corp. This recall is the biggest auto-safety recall in the history of the car industry.

Hundreds of different recalls have been made in the past by vehicle manufacturers due to defective parts or parts that malfunctioned. Some of these defects were a transmission shift cable that detaches, power steering that fails, fickle tail/brake lights, a seat belt cable that fails to provide proper restrain, front seats that do not detect occupants (which would result to air bags not deploying during an accident), electronics that can disable front and side curtain air bags and seat belt pretentioners, and so forth.

Some recalls are made by vehicle manufacturers – this is called a voluntary recall. Many others are made through a court order instigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Recalls are necessary when vehicles or vehicle parts turn out to have a safety-related defect or fail to comply with minimum safety standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Regulations.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Regulations are guidelines that need to be complied with by manufacturers of motor vehicles and vehicle parts. The FMVSS was issued by the NHTSA for the purpose of protecting the public against defective cars and malfunctioning parts which increase risk of injury or death during crashes. These guidelines specifically detail the minimum safety performance requirements for motor vehicles and parts, especially those parts that affect a vehicle’s safe operation, such as the brakes, lights and tires, and those that will keep drivers and passengers protected from fatal or serious injuries, like child restraint, air bag, safety belt, energy absorbing steering columns and motorcycle helmets (these federal standards cover all types of vehicles and vehicle parts).

Defective cars and malfunctioning parts are manufacturing mistakes or flaws in vehicle design. According to the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. law firm, these mistakes are results of careless or negligent acts to which manufacturers should be held responsible, especially in compensating the damages suffered by those who were harmed by their defective product.

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Comparing Assisted Living and In-Home Care

Posted by on Feb 21, 2016 in Assisted Living | 0 comments

Getting old can put you in many health risks, which is why it is important to know whether you are in need of assisted living or an in-home care. But how does in-home care differ from assisted living? Many older adults prefer to be living in their own homes as long as they can. The things that can determine whether the elder is in an in-home care or assisted living can be subjective and depend on the threshold of the caregiver or family members. There are those who believe that it is better to keep their loved ones at home regardless of the circumstance, while others accept the fact that additional assistance is needed. If you need help in deciding whether to choose in-house care or assisted living, here are some things to consider:

First, consider what you want or prefer. If you are living on your own, how can you secure the safety of your home or improve it? Ask yourself if you are open to the option on having someone move into your home, or having to move in with another person and how the arrangement would benefit you either through care or supportive services. More importantly, are you able to keep with your medical care on your own and able to take care of yourself? Such questions should help in determining whether you need assistance or not. If you choose to stay at home, you might need to hire an in-house caregiver or have an adult child (or other family member) move in with you to help you oversee your everyday needs. You might also consider signing into an adult day program to increase your socialization and avoid depression that comes with living alone.

If you think you are ready to living in an assisted living facility, you get the benefits of being in a community and will be well looked after. Many seniors tend to suffer from social isolation and inadequate nutrition that often lead to health complications and cognitive decline. Other reasons, as cited by SeniorAdvice.com as to why older adults choose assisted living is because the arrangement setting allows them the freedom to do what they want but still be cared for by care aides. The decision to move into an assisted living, however, should be both made by you and your family members to allow to better transitioning.

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A Closer Look into the Top Two Causes of Aviation Accidents

Posted by on Oct 6, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Every day, thousands of commercial planes take off from various airports in the US to transport hundreds of passengers per flight to local or international destinations. The aviation industry has gone a long way, boasting of over a hundred years of continuous improvement to make air travel safer and more comfortable than ever before.

Though aviation accidents do happen, these are always kept at a minimum, making transportation authorities, including those from the Aviation Safety Network, the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, concur that air travel remains to be the safest and fastest means of transportation in the country.

There are different reasons why aviation accidents happen, but the two most recurring causes are pilot error and air traffic controller error. Pilot error, which tops the list, includes oversights and mistakes in operation, and lapses in judgment. These usually result in:

  • Navigational errors
  • A pilot causing a plane to head into a storm’s path
  • Failure to follow directions given by air traffic controllers, especially during takeoffs or landing
  • Failure to regularly check or correctly read cockpit instruments
  • Failure to extend flaps during takeoff
  • Disconnecting the autopilot intentionally or accidentally

Though most of the accidents are traceable to pilot error, the frequency of mistakes committed by air traffic controllers (ATCs) is much more overwhelming. In 2012, for instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discovered 4,394 errors in the 132 million flights handled by ATCs; 41 of these errors were serious and could have had disastrous endings.

The primary duty of an air traffic controller is to ensure safety in commercial and private aircraft operations by: coordinating their movements to make sure that they are at safe distance from one another, directing them as they land or takeoff, and, guiding them around bad weather. These tasks are definitely not as easy as they sound, especially during peak air travel times when about 5,000 planes are in the sky every hour.

Other reasons that may explain ATC’s errors are their “rattlers” working schedule, which allows them very little sleep or no sleep at all before overnight shifts, resulting in some of them sleeping on the job. Another common issue is problems in communication due to the absence of standardized English phrases which will ensure that flight crews (especially non-Americans) and ATCs clearly understand each other.

Compared to road crashes, accidents involving aircrafts can be much more traumatic because passengers have nowhere to run or protect themselves from danger. Besides of this, the number of those who get injured, as well as of casualties, is always on a much larger scale.

Airline and Insurance companies take advantage of the so-called “45-day rule” to settle with victims (or families of victims) before any of the passengers would have time to file a civil lawsuit. This rule, which is enforced by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), prohibits law firms from contacting any of the passengers or their families within 45 days after the accident; it does not specifically forbid passengers, however, from making initial contact with law firms or lawyers.

A Tennessee personal injury attorney may probably be among those who would explain that the purpose for such rule is to allow family privacy during what could be a traumatic time and to wait for the outcome of the investigation about the accident, which is based primarily from whatever information may be acquired from the plane’s black box.

It is the basic right of aviation accident victims, or their families, to seek assistance in order to understand what  options they have, to know about the preset compensation value that is assigned by law for each passenger victim, the full amount of compensation they are legally allowed to seek, and what further action they can take to seek full justice for all the damages they have been made to suffer.

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Developments in the Texas Prompt Payment Act of 2003

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in Medical System | 0 comments

Doctors and other medical professional are historically slow-paid by health insurance companies that they service. There was a time when insurers paid slower than Medicare. As a result, these professionals refused to renew their contracts or limited their services, making it more difficult for people with health insurance to get the care they need.

This prompted the Texas state legislature to come up with the Texas Prompt Payment Act of 2003. This imposed strict timelines and penalties for insurers that failed to pay on time for legitimate invoices. Naturally enough, insurance companies brought their legal weight down to bear on the law, delaying implementation for nearly a decade. Medical service providers finally have the law on their side to ensure prompt payment of services.

However, according to the website of the Texas prompt pay lawyers at Williams Kherkher, there are fresh wrinkles in the legal landscape. One bill from the Texas House of Representatives (HB 1433) and another from the Senate (SB 1166) are proposing to amend the law in significant ways. HB 1433, for example, proposes a two-year statute of limitations and significantly lower caps for civil penalties. Currently, the lowest cap for payments delayed for at least 31 days is $100,000. The bill reduces it to $5,000.

On the other hand, SB 1166 proposes new exceptions for the penalty provisions that will make it harder for the burden of proof heavier for the plaintiff. It also proposes to that the 18% interest imposed on the insurer is only for the unpaid amount and limits the award of attorneys’ fees.

These are proposed changes to the law, and if they pass, they will have a significant impact on claims. However, it is not yet part of the law, so this is the time to make a claim. If you are currently suffering from the effects of long-delayed payments from an insurance company, you should not delay consulting with a competent prompt pay lawyer in Texas.

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Basic Grandparents’ Rights to Custody and Visitation

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Family Law | 0 comments

Most issues in marriage and divorce when it comes to the children are concerned with the rights of the parents. This leaves the doting grandparents pretty much on the wayside. However, all states in the US have lately come around to the notion that while grandparents may not have a constitutional right to have custody and visit their grandchildren, they should at least have statutory rights.

Unfortunately, not all parents agree. They have successfully challenged state laws that dictate grandparents’ rights based on constitutionality, and so the success of any bid to acquire rights over their grandchildren will depend on a particular state’s laws on it.

In Texas, for example, grandparents have no right of visitation. If a parent objects, they have no legal recourse. However, it is possible for grandparents to petition the state court to grant them visitation rights under specific circumstances. They can also petition for custody if the grandchildren lived a minimum of six months with them and the petition is within 90 days after the children were removed from their care. They may also petition for custody if an emergency arises wherein the grandparents can prove the wellbeing and safety of the children are at risk. According to the website of Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler, this can be a tricky proposition. It requires a skilled family law attorney to have an even chance of success in most cases.

The same situation exists in Iowa, more or less. The law states that visitation and custodial rights of grandparents can only be granted if it is in the best interests of the child. The only way grandparents can prevail over the objections of the parents regarding visitation and custody is to prove them unfit. As pointed out on the website of Cedar Rapids family law attorneys Arenson Law Group, PC, it is important to maintain stability for the children even amidst a legal battle over them, and that is not an easy task. The children after all are the most important factor in such cases.

If you want to petition the court to grant you grandparents’ rights, you need to go to the right people. Consult with a qualified family or divorce lawyer in your state to make sure that you get the best representation you can get.

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The Shape of things to Come with Dangerous Drugs and Medical Devices

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in Dangerous Products & Drugs | 0 comments

Pharmaceutical companies are not making it easy for plaintiffs to make a claim by dragging out the legal process as long as they can. For example, manufacturer of drospirenone-based combined oral contraceptives (COCs) Yaz and Yasmin Bayer Pharmaceuticals is now refusing to face some thousands of claims in a Lexicon waiver as it had previously offered, which would have allowed all plaintiffs to present their cases before U.S. District Judge David Herndon. According to the National Injury Law Center website, these COCs had dangerous side effects about which Bayer neglected to warn their users. Bayer is now maneuvering that plaintiffs bring their claims to their local district courts.

The first product liability lawsuit filed for hysterectomy power morcellation is also working its slow way up the legal ladder. The suit was filed in March 2014 by the widower of Donna Burkhardt, who died in February 2013 of metastatic leiomyosarcoma because of a hysterectomy using a device manufactured by LINA Medical. According to the website of the morcellator lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher, morcellators significantly increase the risk of uterine and similar cancers when it cuts up fibroid tissues that may be cancerous. The discovery phase is set to complete by July 2015, and any pre-trial motions should be completed by October. Only then can the actual trial begin, scheduled for November 3, 2015 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. However, further delays are extremely likely.

On the other hand, Stryker Orthopaedics has already begun to settle claims by patients or their families for the defective Stryker Hip Implant devices that failed catastrophically prior to November 3, 2014. According to the Williams Kherkher website, this is the reason that Stryker voluntarily recalled certain devices in 2012. However, patients whose implants failed after November 2014 will not be eligible for a claim. This does not mean that they cannot file a lawsuit against Stryker provided it is within the statute of limitations for their state. It is vital that they contact a dangerous drugs or medical device lawyer in their area immediately.

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