Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What You Need to Know Before Submitting Your Social Security Disability Claim

 Before submitting a disability claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is very important to understand how a determination is made on your case. Realizing there are key fundamental aspects to every disability submission is critical to whether or not a person will be successful.

While there are many sub-parts to these categories and the issues can become quite complex, this should provide a basic understanding to help you navigate the SSA disability system.

Determine Whether or Not You Are Legally Disabled:

First, it is important to understand how SSA determines legal disability. In order to be disabled because of a mental or physical condition, one must not be able to do the work he or she did before and is unable to adjust to some other type of work. Further, this impairment must be expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

Again, as stated above, this definition can become more complex as you start considering your condition, but what is most important is to ask yourself:

  1. Can I still do the work I did before?
  2. Am I physically or mentally able I do another job instead?
  3. Is my disability likely to last for one year or more or result in my death?

If you can affirmatively answer "no" to the first two questions and "yes" to the third, then you are likely well on your way to at least having a credible claim.

Determine What Type of Benefits I Need:

If you have successfully passed the first hurdle, then understanding your own financial situation and your work history is very important at this stage. Here, you need to determine whether you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or both. Because this part of determining whether you are legally disabled and what benefits you may qualify for is terribly complicated, SSA provides step-by-step instructions on their website and a benefits calculator to make this easier.

Remember this, SSI is based on need.

Once again, there are many requirements in order to qualify, but you must be determined to be disabled and not make more than $721.00 per month for an individual and no more than $1,082.00 for couples. However, please understand there are exceptions here, such as SSA may only count some of your income towards your limit, and you also may be able to set aside some of your income if you are enrolled in the PASS (Plan to Achieve Self Support) program, or if you receive state supplements.

Basically, if you can remember or understand nothing more about SSI, understand that it is intended for those with very low income and those who have little or no liquid assets.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on the amount of work credits you have earned.

There are different requirements for various age groups, but generally you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years before you stopped working. Again, this is very complicated to many people, but you earn credits by working. SSA determines that $1,200 equals one credit and a person is allowed a maximum of up to four credits per year.

Therefore, in determining the amount of income your household brings in each month and the amount of assets you have on hand and the amount of time you have worked, will determine whether you qualify for either SSI or SSDI benefits or both.

Criteria That is Used to Determine Whether You Are Disabled:

Finally, you need to understand how Social Security is going to determine whether your physical or mental condition keeps you from working.

If you don't take anything else from this article, it is important that you understand the importance of documenting your condition. Social Security states explicitly on its own website that medical evidence is the "cornerstone" of a disability determination. Every person who files for disability is responsible for providing medical evidence showing that he or she has an impairment and the severity of that impairment. While SSA does help claimants with collecting their medical records, ultimately it is up to the person filing for disability to see that SSA can make a determination with an adequate amount of medical evidence.

Therefore, as you go to the doctor, make it a point to tell your physician you are attempting to file a claim for disability. Ask your doctor to not just write shorthand about your condition, but to spell it out in his or her notes because those will be reviewed. SSA understands you have a physical or mental condition, but your doctor stating you are disabled is not sufficient. That is a legal determination that is made by SSA and not your doctor. He or she needs to explain that you cannot sit for long periods of time, walk more than 20 yards before sitting to rest, get along with others, follow directions, etc. This is what helps SSA determine whether or not you are disabled.

Social Security will also look at other evidence to determine if you are disabled. This "other evidence" helps to show the extent of the individual's condition and his or her ability to work in a business setting. Such evidence may be allowed to come from spouses, employers, friends, other family, etc.

If Social Security is not content with your medical records or has a difficult time obtaining them, then you may be asked to go through a Consultative Examination. This may be done by your own doctor or through one SSA designates. Here, there will be a report made about your condition and any results the physician feels is relevant for SSA to make a determination.

Lastly, you need to consider what evidence you have in regards to your condition which shows that you are unable to work. Social Security here will look at a number of factors such as:

  1. Your daily activities;
  2. The frequency of your symptoms and their intensity;
  3. Medication and its side-effects; and
  4. Any measures you have taken to relieve your condition.

Here, probably the most important thing is that you continue to see a doctor, even if it is only once every six months. Many people often find it difficult to keep up with their treatment because they are no longer working. They can no longer afford private care because they no longer have insurance. However, if you truly are disabled, it is imperative to stay under the care of a physician, even if it falls under indigent care.

Further, you must always be a good patient and do as your physician prescribes. Social Security will usually not consider your case if you can't even follow instructions from you own doctor in trying to better your condition. Remember, medical evidence is the cornerstone to making a determination as to whether you are disabled. A note from your physician stating that you are not following his recommendations will assuredly make it that much more difficult to be successful in your claim.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Workers Compensation Attorney - The Best Way To Secure Your Rights!

Have you or any one of your family members suffered an accident at your workplace lately? Are you worried about the medical expenses? Don't worry, workers compensation lawyers can help you sail through the legal proceedings involved in procuring the medical costs. Hiring an efficient workers compensation attorney is a must if you want to get the medical expenses that you rightfully deserve. Given are some useful tips which will come useful while finding the right workers compensation attorney:

1. If you are injured at your workplace, seek out competent legal assistance of a skilled attorney as rapidly as possible. Your employers will fight the case and might try to prove you wrong by raising unethical evidences against you. It is important to hire an attorney who will defend your rights and achieve a successful conclusion of the case.

2. Your company might try to prove that they are not responsible for the accident. They have their own attorney who will try to prevent you from claiming your rights. It sounds unfair but the fact is that it's true. You will receive your due compensation with the help of a skilled attorney to put forward your case.

3. If they refuse to pay you any compensation, you have the right to appeal in court. Many people fear to go into legal complications and try to deal with all the expenses with the help of their insurance companies. But, chances are there that your insurance company might also try to prove that it was you who was at fault to save their own pocket. The best way to overcome such hurdles is to seek the help of an experienced workers compensation lawyer.

4. Your attorney will guide you through the correct course of action. It is essential to hire someone experienced otherwise the entire situation can turn out to be more problematic for you. Consult your worker's compensation attorney and find out how many cases he has handled in the past. What is his track record? Does he specialize in this particular field? Once you are well informed with such details, the rest will be a triumphant team effort.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Three Family Law Cases Where a Child Custody Attorney Is Necessary

There are some family law cases that may affect a child's legal rights. Most parents are eager to know if they will live with their child or if they will have a role in the raising them. Although the cost is a factor in such cases, enlisting the help of a child custody attorney will help protect the rights of all parties involved. Here are cases in which legal help is recommended to come to a mutual consensus.

1. Divorce cases

In divorce cases, parents wonder how the visitation and support issues will get resolved. Some important points that come up include financial support, property division, and visitation. These factors determine the right approach to resolving the legal issues. In this situation, a lawyer helps the divorcing couple to reach an agreement that will benefit their kids. The couple may opt for an informal settlement negotiation or mediation with the help of a lawyer. If this fails to work, they may want to bring the case to a court of law where a judge can evaluate the case.

2. Unmarried parents cases

There are also cases where the parents are unmarried. In most states, the legal rights are usually awarded to the mother. However, the father can take a legal action to get some form of visitation and guardianship rights as well. The legal approach for divorce cases still applies to unmarried parents cases. The parents can decide to talk to a child custody attorney and reach an agreement. If the mother is reluctant, then the father is free to proceed to take the case to court. Unlike divorce cases, the resolution for unmarried parents is uncomplicated as there are no factors such as property division and spousal support.

3. Non-parental cases

Also known as third-party custody, non-parental cases are types of cases where other people aside from the biological parents may want to obtain the guardianship rights. Such people may include close family friends, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. The state usually provides the correct approach that these people can use to claim custody. A person can seek the help of a lawyer when filling the non-parental petition with a family court. The petition should address three important questions: the person's relation to the child, the state of the biological parents (living or dead) and the reason for claiming guardianship. If the parents are living, they must be issued with a copy of the petition.

Custodial cases can be complicated if the parents are unwilling to reach a mutual resolution. For this case, a child custody attorney will help address all the concerns regarding support and visitation. If either parent or both decides to take the matters before a family court, a lawyer will assist the parent in the legal process and the options they have after a court's verdict. Additionally, getting legal help in such cases helps to ensure that the children will always have the support they need.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happens When Your Social Security Disability Claim Is Denied?

In some cases, a patient might be denied their Social Security disability claim. While they might have the proper documentation and the proper paperwork turned in, some claims are denied for a variety of reasons. One you can see what the possible problems in the claim might be, you can actively pursue a resubmission of your claim in order to get the disability benefits you deserve. When you can't seem to get the disability you believe are owed to you, you can then work with a lawyer in order to help you fight the denial of benefits.

Check Your Paperwork First

While you don't want to think you were denied your Social Security disability benefits because of an error on your part, it does happen. Once you are denied your claim, the first thing you should do is review the documents that you sent to the claims office. Check to make sure that your Social Security number is correct and that you filled out the forms completely. In many cases, you may have simply missed a few pieces of information and they just need to be filled in. Review your paperwork several times in order to ensure that you have documented all that you need to document, and that you are doing all that you can to support your claim.

Ask for an Explanation

If you've looked over your paperwork, but you truly can't find anything wrong with it, then it's time to ask for an explanation. Try to call or to email the Social Security disability office to see what they have to say about your claim. They should be able to tell you what isn't right on your form, though they will not necessarily try to contact you. Instead, you need to reach out when you can't seem to find the error that was on your part. Try to get the most specific instructions you can so that you can correct any mistakes on your own.

Call an Attorney for Advice and Help

If your claim continues to be denied and you feel that you are qualified for Social Security disability benefits, it's a good idea to talk to an attorney who is experienced with handling these sorts of cases. They will work with you to build a case that can then be brought to court in order to be heard. A professional Social Security disability attorney will help you get the disability benefits you are owed, and the peace of mind that you have been missing as a result.

While some Social Security disability claims are denied for good reasons, if you feel that you were denied your claim without a reason, it's time to take action. With a focus on filling out the paperwork correctly, asking for advice, and then calling an attorney, you will make sure that you have done all that you can to get your disability benefits started or restarted if they've been suddenly stopped.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Who Pays For Visitation? And Other Questions A Family Law Attorney Can Answer

Legal proceedings for a divorce can be an arduous and highly emotional experience, and adding children into the mix can make this time nearly unbearable. To alleviate some of the stress, it is imperative to hire a family law attorney. They are experienced and equipped to answer the hard and fast truths about divorce and custody. Here are a few of the tough questions an attorney can handle.

Can I Modify a Court Order or Judgment?

Under certain circumstances, a judgment can be changed. Custody arrangements can be altered if the child's needs change or if one of the parents has to relocate. If there is a difference in income or employment status, the court can address a previous order as well. As soon as there is an indication that a court order needs to be modified, contact a lawyer.

Will I Have to Pay My Spouse's Attorney Fees?

Whether or not one spouse would have to pay for the other's family law attorney fees varies from state to state. In some cases, if one qualifies as a dependent spouse, he or she would be entitled to lawyer fees. The status of "dependent spouse" is determined by several factors-mainly how much disposable income the person has, and whether he or she depends substantially on the other person for financial support. The traditional example of a dependent spouse is a stay at home parent. However, working parents can also qualify.

Who Pays the Travel Expenses for Visitation?

When parents live in different states, the cost of travel can become a huge expense. Judgments will differ by state, but in most cases, the non-custodial parent will pay for the child to go for court-ordered visitation. In some instances, if the custodial parent has made the decision to move out of state, the judge may order the custodial parent to handle the travel expenses. It is also possible that the court will ask both the parents to create a trip trust fund to ensure that when visitation is needed, there are resources available.

If I Lose My Job, Do I Have to Continue to Pay Support?

If a party's financial circumstances have changed in any way, they are still required to pay the agreed upon amount of support. However, it is encouraged that the affected party notify the court as soon as possible and pursue a modification to the court order. Financial hardship is a valid reason to ask for an adjustment to items like the amount of payment or payment schedule. It should be noted that until the court approves the modifications, all persons should continue to send support in compliance with the original order.

Going through a divorce or custody battle is not only emotionally taxing but also very complex. Laws differ from state to state, and they can also change. It is important to hire someone who is knowledgeable of the most current legal proceedings in the jurisdiction of the case. A family law attorney can help to navigate the proceedings and make way for a clearer and more effective experience.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Workers Compensation Lawyer for Denied Claims

A workers compensation lawyer will work with you through the claims process. If an employee is injured while on the clock, the employer's insurance should provide financial protection for the individual. However, a claim must be filed and the insurance company must approve the claim in order for the individual to receive this coverage.

Though the process is closely regulated, it is still possible for individuals who are in need of such claims to be denied coverage. That could mean you are paying thousands of dollars in medical bills because of a mistake somewhere in this process. An attorney can help you to avoid those complications.

The Employer Didn't File the Claim

Though it is not legal for them to do so, some employers will not file such claims and will offer to pay out of pocket for such types of medical issues. The problem with this is that it provides no protection for the injured individual. Without a paper trail, there is no way for you to prove that you were injured on the job. That is a big risk for you to take. Rather than do this, work with a workers compensation lawyer to get the type of protection you need to avoid this type of problem.

The Insurance Company Denied The Claim

It is common for individuals to make mistakes during the filing process and for the insurance company simply to deny coverage. You do not qualify for such levels of protection in some instances. For example, if you are facing concerns related to a claim that you have no evidence for, it may be hard to prove your case. However, with the help of attorneys, you may be able to finally get the help you need.

What can you expect? If you have been denied, it will be up to you and your attorney to petition for an appeal. This is done through a specific method. If you were missing information or otherwise limited terms of evidence, you will need to correct that problem before trying to file your claim again. The attorneys will help you to gather such information. If the claim is further denied, it might be necessary to take the process to court for further exploration of your risks to compensation.

There is no doubt that this process can be a challenge. However, there is help available. With the aid of an attorney, you can finally get the compensation you deserve. The key is to hire a workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Putting it off could cost you a lot in the long term.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Three Ways a Family Law Attorney Can Help You

Learning about family law can be a difficult and emotional process for you and your loved ones. After all, you might seek an attorney to help with a divorce or negotiate the terms of guardianship and alimony. Before you try to navigate the complexities of the legal system alone, be sure to consider the value of legal assistance.
An Evolving and Complex System
Legal codes are constantly evolving and adapting to new policies made at every level of government. This means family law is a complicated system and should only be navigated with the support of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. After all, all lawyers are required by the American Bar Association to pursue ongoing education throughout their career.
As an example of these complexities, child support payments are determined by a fixed formula based on variables like income and assets, while alimony is based on demonstrating a need and a spouse's ability to pay. This difference can often cause confusion and lead to you paying more or receiving less each month. Therefore, finding the right attorney to help you understand the system and fight for your rights might save you money both now and in the future.
Local Laws
The internet is a platform to share information and a resource to learn new things, but it has also allowed for a lot of misinformation to be published. Incorrect or overly general data can lead people to make decisions that are based on outdated or inaccurate information. The court system and its processes are different in each state. Advice from a professional sharing legal experience in one part of the country might not apply where you reside. You should therefore always consult a local family law attorney who understands the local system of jurisprudence and how it might apply in the specifics of your case.
Emotional Challenges
Dealing with legal issues, especially those involving family or loved ones, is usually an emotional process. The right family law attorney will support you during this difficult time while also approaching your case objectively and professionally. Ultimately, you will want to find a lawyer with the experience necessary to consider your future, even if you aren't thinking past the day-to-day.
Whether navigating a divorce or guardianship of minors, the legal system can be confusing. That's why hiring a family law attorney is worth considering. Having consistent access to someone that can answer your questions will be useful throughout the process.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Common Questions When Considering a Social Security Disability Attorney

For those who have a case involving disability, it may become necessary to hire a Social Security disability attorney. There are a variety of benefits that come with utilizing legal assistance in these cases, and the fees are fairly reasonable. In fact, many lawyers will not charge if a case is lost. Clients and potential clients often have many questions when it comes to hiring a lawyer.

When Is a Social Security Disability Attorney Necessary?

One of the most common reasons for hiring a lawyer for these instances is to improve the likelihood of receiving approval for benefits. While some people are able to have a positive outcome without assistance, those with legal counsel almost always have a better chance of winning a disability case than those who do not.

While these attorneys are most commonly sought out after an initial denial, they can be very helpful at the application stage. In fact, their knowledge and expertise during the application stage may often result in an approval in one application period. On the application, the Social Security disability attorney can help argue that an individual's condition meets the required list of impairments or provide advice on an alleged onset date of disability. During hearings or appeals, he or she can assist in collecting relevant medical evidence, such as doctor's opinions, and preparations for any questions that may come from the judge. They can also assist with finding individuals to testify on behalf of the client.

When Should a Lawyer Be Called?

A Social Security disability attorney can be called at any point during the process, but it is best to call one as early on as possible. For those who may be on the fence on whether or not legal counsel is necessary, it is often beneficial to call, as many will provide a free consultation. He or she will be able to examine a case to determine the strength of the case and provide assistance with the application.

Another consideration to think about is final attorney fees. Those who are approved for benefits at the first try will owe smaller fees since there will be no back benefits owed to the client once the benefits are finally approved.

Hiring an attorney after an initial denial can greatly increase the chance of a positive outcome on the second application, and it is also possible to have the case moved through the process more quickly. This is often the case for terminal medical conditions or for extremely dire financial circumstances. However, this tends to be rare, as many must wait for several months before a case is resolved.

For those who are still on the fence about hiring a Social Security disability attorney, there is an instance in which it may not be helpful. For those who have submitted an initial application and are awaiting word, there is no need to get a lawyer yet as there is no point in paying a commission of past-due benefits unless there is a denial in coverage. However, in many other situations, having representation can be incredibly helpful.

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Is A QDRO Always Required In A Divorce?

For many divorcing couples, retirement plans make up the majority of the marital estate. While some couples can agree to simply "each keep their own" in the asset division, for many other spouses a division of one of the accounts is necessary to ensure a fair distribution of marital assets.
When division of a retirement asset is required in a divorce, many people are unsure how to proceed. They may have heard the term Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), but have no idea if or how it applies to their situation. This lack of knowledge often leads to errors that can end up costing them more money in the long run.
This is why it is important to understand early on what type of retirement accounts exist. Once you know what type of accounts are in play, you can assess whether a QDRO - or a different, similar order - is required. You will also better understand the most effective way to distribute the assets in the final property division settlement.
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) - Since IRAs are not subject to ERISA, a QDRO is not required to divide this type of account. Pursuant to 26 U.S.C.A. §408(d)(6), a transfer from an IRA can be made to a spouse or former pursuant to a decree of divorce or a written instrument incident to a divorce. This written instrument can be either a separation agreement or divorce decree. In most cases, a letter of instruction and copy of the Final Judgment/Settlement Agreement should be enough to transfer money from the IRA.
Non-Qualified Plans - There are numerous types of retirement assets that cannot be divided in a divorce. Non-qualified plans fall outside the purview of ERISA and are not subject to division via QDRO (or usually any other means). These plans usually have names that include words like Supplemental, Excess Benefit, SERP or even Non-Qualified, and are offered to key, high-ranking employees as a means of providing additional retirement benefits beyond those allowed under ERISA. The language of many of these plans specifically preclude payments to anyone other than the employee, and no court order can change this.
Non-ERISA and Government Retirement Plans - ERISA specifically excludes any federal government retirement plans. While these accounts are divisible, it is done with a document other than a true QDRO. While the name QDRO may be used generically to refer to any order related to retirement account division, government plans each have their own mechanisms for division and it is important to understand each. You can learn more about these plans at and Rules governing state and local government plans vary by state, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules specific to your jurisdiction.
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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tips on How to Choose the Best Workers Compensation Lawyer

There are many times when it is necessary to hire a workers compensation attorney. The process of getting the funds you deserve from this type of establishment can be challenging, but the program is in place to provide you with what you deserve. There are many steps involved and it is quite possible for you to be told you simply do not qualify for any type of funds. When you are facing frustrations about your case, it is necessary to hire a lawyer to help you to get through the process. One of the best decisions you make for your future could be this.

Why You Need One

The process of working through these types of claims is not easy. The state's Bureau of Workers Compensation is put in place to work much like an insurance policy. When an employee is injured on the job, the employer files a claim with this agency, which in turn verifies the information and pays for the medical needs of that individual. However, there are specific steps and qualifications you must meet in order to get the results you want.

Because there are many cases in which these claims are turned down or are more complex, it is best to work with a workers compensation attorney from the start if you are not getting the support you need.

A lawyer can help you better to understand what you should be filing your claim for and what may not be possible to receive care from based on the facts of your case.

The lawyers will help you to determine why you were unable to get your claim processed the first time. He or she can also help you through the process of appealing a decision.

If you are dealing with an incident with your employer, it may be important for you to hire a lawyer to help you to battle the non-compliance of the employer. This is against the law, but many instances occur in which people do not get the results they need because of the employer's non-compliance.

A workers compensation attorney should know these areas of the law very well. There are differences from one state to the next, but every state has a policy in place to protect employees. It is a good idea to discuss your case in full with these professionals in person. You may find out there is nothing you can do to get your claim but there are more cases that do receive better information. Sometimes, these attorneys will not charge you anything unless your claim is successful, too. Talk to them about your options before you miss what you deserve.

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