Posts by Tristan

ERISA – The Legal Avenue for Working Americans to Receive the Benefits They are Entitled to Claim upon Their Retirement

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

According to the Chris Mayo Law Firm, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), passed into law by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974, provides federal guidelines for employers’ pension and health benefit plans. While ERISA regulations do not require a company to provide workers with either of these types of benefits, they do create a minimum standard for benefit plans at those companies that do elect to provide these benefits. Under ERISA, employees have a wide range of rights to help ensure that plans communicate vital information to participants and they can receive the benefits they have been promised.

Unfortunately, many face the repercussions of ERISA violations. It is because of this why one of the most common bases of many legal battles in federal courts is with regard to employment concern, particularly concerning ERISA.

ERISA was passed for the purpose of making sure that the millions of working Americans, upon their retirement, will be able to enjoy the assets or funds deposited in their retirement plan during the years when they were employed. This Act particularly benefits employees in companies where their employer has sponsored, on their behalf, health insurance coverage or any other type of benefits, such as a pension plan.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the branch of the U.S. Department of Labor that has been charged with the administration of ERISA, makes sure that the interests of ERISA-covered employees, along with their beneficiaries, are protected by the Act and informed, through the same, about all the vital information relating to the plans sponsored on their behalf.

ERISA also sets the minimum standards on how employees would qualify for the availment of the benefits offered by the plans. These standards include:

  • Specification of the length of employment required for an employee to qualify as a participant in the plan;
  • The number of years required before an employee can rightfully enjoy non-forfeitable interests in their pension plan;
  • The length of time an employee is allowed to be away from his/her job without his/her benefits being affected; and,
  • The right of the employee’s spouse to the pension in the event of the employee’s death.

Often, however, despite an employee’s qualification into the program and eligibility in already claiming the benefits stipulated in the plan, his/her application ends up getting denied. Pension plan providers are afforded 90 days for the processing of applications, though, they can request for an additional 90 days if more time is needed.

Denial of claim or getting approved for a benefit but which is lesser than the amount stipulated in the plan policy entitles the employee to file a written appeal with the plan provider, usually within 60 days after the application has been denied.

There are a number of different areas that has led to ERISA violations, including bad faith litigation and breach of fiduciary duty. In these and other situations, the support of a skilled attorney can help workers get the justice and benefits they deserve.

 

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Reckless Driving Behaviors: Distracted Driving

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Reckless Driving | 0 comments

Many traffic accidents occur because of genuine error and bad luck, but there are some that can be prevented but occurred anyway because of reckless behaviors such as distracted driving. Getting distracted while driving limit the driver’s ability to react on time on expected and unexpected events, putting not just them in danger of car accidents, but also the others around them.

According to the website of the Destin car accident attorneys of the Bruner Law Firm, innocent parties who have been injured because of negligent parties may have legal options, such as compensation. This further proves that negligent behaviors on the road, such as distracted driving, are not tolerated even by the legal community.

Different Types of Distractions
Distractions can be classified into three kinds – cognitive, manual, and visual. Cognitive distractions are those that put your mind off the act of driving, such as daydreaming, getting too involved in conversations with passengers, and emotional and psychological issues that may occupy your mind.

Manual distractions are things that put your hands off the steering wheel, such as mobile phones, tablets, music players, radios, and even food, drinks, and grooming materials like combs and mirrors.
Visual distractions are those that put your eyes off the road, such as looking at your GPS device or mobile phone, browsing through your music playlist, searching for an item inside your vehicle, and looking at your passengers to engage in conversation.

Dangers of Distracted Driving
Safe driving requires body coordination, particularly between the hands, eyes, and feet. Anything that compromises this coordination put you at risk of accidents. It is much worse if other people are already involved, because they may get hurt because of your negligence.

Distracted driving limits your reaction time. If a vehicle suddenly swerves or turns in front of you, a pedestrian or animal crosses the street, or an unexpected obstruction is on the road, you will not have enough time to judge the situation and act accordingly because your mind is not focused, your hand is off the wheel, and your eyes are not on the road.

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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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