The Social Security Disability (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two large programs of the U.S. Federal government that are aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities. SSDI was created by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974.

The SSDI pays disability benefits to qualified SS insured members who are below the age of 65 and who are also totally disabled. To qualify for payment, a member must meet the following requirements:

  • Had worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes are automatically deducted from employees’ monthly take home pay on a monthly basis);
  • Has earned the number of credits required by the SSA (employees earn four credits annually); and,
  • Is suffering from total disability

Total disability or disability, as defined by the SSA, means:

  • Inability to perform previous work, as well as any other work, due to the medical condition;
  • The disability has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for a year or more; and,
  • The disability can result in death.

A list medical conditions that are severe enough has been drawn up by the SSA; finding one’s health problem in this list would automatically include him/her in the roster of disabled insured SS members. Not finding one’s health condition in the list, however, will require an evaluation by Social Security in order to determine if the health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability program, on the other hand, provides non-taxable financial assistance to Americans, who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled (the meaning assigned to “disability” is the same with SSDI), and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

Since SSI funding comes from the U.S. Treasury general funds (rather than the SS taxes paid monthly by insured SS members), neither SS credits nor previous employment is, therefore, required to qualify into the program.

The SSI program aims to help provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries. These basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

An article posted at www.chrismayolaw.com/practice-areas/social-security-disability/, states that for millions of Americans who live with a disabling physical or mental condition, it can be extraordinarily difficult to support themselves on their own. This is particularly true when their disability makes them unable to work. Fortunately, the Social Security disability program provides benefits to those who suffer from disabilities, helping disabled individuals to get the support they need to live their lives on their own.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support to those have become disabled by an injury or illness, and have met the required work credits. Additionally, children and spouses of deceased workers are often able to get disability benefits through this program.

SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to those living on low incomes who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.

 

The Dangers of Head-on Collisions

There are different kinds of car accidents, such as sideswipes, rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, and rollovers. But arguably the most dangerous of them all is head-on collisions. Getting hurt in a car accident, particularly a head-on collision, can have devastating effects.

Common Causes
A head-on collision happens when two vehicles’ front ends crash into each other, so most victims of head-on collision cases are traveling on opposite directions. Head-on collisions can happen because of many reasons, but the most common reasons are the following:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and losing control
  • Driving while distracted, such as texting and eating
  • Falling asleep while driving and drifting into the opposite lane
  • Going the wrong way
  • Losing control during a curve or turn
  • Speeding
  • Veering into oncoming traffic to overtake a vehicle

Common Injuries
Since head-on collisions involve the front ends of the vehicles involved, the occupants of the vehicles absorb a big portion of the collision force, resulting into devastating injuries.

Head injuries and brain trauma: The head of the victims may hit hard surfaces, such as the steering wheel and windshield, or get hit by projectiles, such as debris. These may result into head injuries, including facial deformation, and into brain trauma, including concussion and severe traumatic brain injury.

Neck injuries and whiplash: The sudden jolt caused by the collision may put a strain in the victims’ necks, resulting into neck fractures and other neck injuries such as whiplash.

Spinal cord injuries and back problems: The sudden jolt may also catch the body unprepared and relaxed, resulting into problems in the spinal cord and back. The worst injuries may even result into paralysis, limiting the victims’ motor and sensory functions.

Death: Many head-on collisions are high-impact accidents, so it is not surprising that many result into the death of the victims. Even the injuries stated above, when extremely severe, may cause death.

Common Fatal Auto Defects

The worst kinds of car accidents are those that have resulted not because of driver error, but because of an outside force. These include reckless drivers around you, road defects, and car malfunctions.

According to the website of Chicago car accidents attorneys, members of the automotive industry may be held liable for any auto defects to the point that you can take them to court. The fact that even lawyers protect you from these defects is enough proof that it can be very dangerous.

Below is a list of the most common auto defects today.

Airbags
Airbags are there to save your life, not make you more at risk of injury. Airbags can be considered defective when they fail to deploy when they need to, deploy for no reason at all, or deploy too late. If an airbag fails to deploy, it doesn’t counter the force of the collision, which may result into serious injuries. If an airbag deploys for no reason, it can cause trauma or an accident. If an airbag deploys too late, you can still seriously injure yourself from the collision.

Brakes
Brakes become defective because of many reasons, like poor maintenance and wear and tear. Most brake issues involve oil leaks, overheating, and squealing. If there is an oil leak, the brake system may fail because of friction problems. If there is an overheating of the brakes, you can lose braking power because the hot spots resist the friction from the pads and shoes of your brake system. If you brake is giving off a grinding sound, it may be a sign that your brake pads are thinning and need to be replaced.

Child Seats
You expect designers and manufacturers to ensure that your car is safe for your children. Still, there are defects that can potentially injure your child, like defective harnesses, inadequate padding, and weak car seat shells.

Seatbelts
Seatbelts are probably your first lines of defense when collisions occur, so of course you prefer them to be in top condition so they can be effective. According to the seatbelt injury attorneys of Spiros Law, P.C., seatbelt defects include manufacturing negligence, poor design, repair errors, and the use of inferior quality materials.

Tires
Tires carry the weight of you vehicle. Add the fact that they are creating friction on the road surface by rolling and you have yourself some auto parts that can potentially cause a disaster. One of the most common tire defects include tire blowout, or the sudden loss of air pressure in the tires, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Tire blowouts generally happen because of low rubber quality, poor design, trapped water, and the use of inadequate adhesive.

Common Truck Driver Errors

Due to their weight and size, trucks are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. These are the kinds of vehicles you wouldn’t want to collide with, as their mere weight and size make for desastating collisions, compared to other vehicles like compact cars, SUVs, and motorcycles.

But truck accidents still happen, and one of its leading causes is driver error. According to the websites of Williams Kherkher and Abel Law Firm, truck accidents that have resulted from the careless, recklessness, and negligence of a party may be taken to court. It is a good thing to know that the law is at your side when it comes to this kind of traffic accidents, but it is better to avoid accidents altogether.

Below are some of the most common errors truck drivers do that may result into a traffic accident, because knowing them is your first step at prevention.

Distracted driving
Driving requires complete focus. If a truck driver puts his hands off the wheel or eyes off the road for whatever reason, he may cause a traffic accident. The most common distractions involve food, mobile phones, and daydreaming.

Driving under the influence
If a truck driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any substance that can cause some kind of impairment, he may be vulnerable to a road accident. Driving requires hand-eye-foot coordination and comprehension skills to follow safety procedures, read road signs, and focus on the act of driving.

Not utilizing No-Zones
Trucks are big vehicles, so they tend to have blind spots. Those blind spots are called no-zones. These no-zones include the immediate front of the truck, the rear-end of the truck particularly of the trailer, and a part of the side of the truck. Not taking these blind spots into consideration is a reckless act and can potentially cause an accident.

Speeding
Traveling faster than the safe speed makes truck drivers vulnerable to lose control of their vehicles, swerve through lanes, veer off roads, crash through trees, or rollover embankments. Speeding also cuts the reaction time of truck drivers to unexpected circumstances on the road.

Other obvious driver errors include not complying to FMCSA rules and regulations, not having the proper training or license for the type of vehicle that is being driven, and failing to inspect the truck before traveling.

It is almost amazing that truck drivers are doing these mistakes intentionally or not, considering the gravity of their consequences. Again, it is a good thing that the law is in your side when it comes to these kinds of accidents.

Punitive or Compensatory Damages due to Car Accidents

Anything that will catch your attention while you are behind the wheel and cause you to veer your focus on that thing rather than on your driving, then something unpleasant may just likely happen.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continuously and untiringly reminds motorists that it never be complacent in apprehending and punishing violators of traffic laws, especially if these violations injure or cause the death of an innocent victim (another motorist, a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian).

Dangerous road behaviors that continue to put at risk everyone’s safety include driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, overspeeding or driving at a speed that is unsafe for a particular road or weather condition, and distracted driving, which is now fast becoming a major threat on the road.

Unlike other causes of car accidents which are focused mainly on single acts (like DUI, which only involves consumption of alcohol), distracted driving takes different forms, so many of which are so ordinary that drivers no longer realize that they are already being distracted.

Cell phone use (whether using a hands-free or hand-held phone to text, call someone or answer someone’s call) is currently identified as the most common form of driver distraction. The many other forms of distraction drivers are guilty of include: talking or arguing with his/her passenger; eating; drinking; reaching for an object, like from the back seat of the car, causing him or her to look away from the road as well as take one hand off the wheel; adjusting a car radio or a GPS device; using a laptop or reading a map for directions; playing with a child or a pet; grooming, like brushing one’s hair or applying make-up, or fixing a tie; lighting a cigarette; driving while angry; and so forth.

One revealing result of records analysis made by the NHTSA is that the ones most guilty when it comes to distracted driving are young drivers, particularly those aged between 17 and 24. This also means that most of those who violate safety traffic rules, as well as the most common victims of fatal car crashes, are young drivers too.

Regardless of who the person behind the wheel is, a car accident taking place due to reasons such as negligence, carelessness and distraction, can be avoided. For victims, one important thing they should consider after an accident is hiring a seasoned personal injury lawyer, who may be able to help them get the compensation that the law may entitle them to receive.

According to the website of the law firm Ali Mokaram, “Compensation or commonly referred to as damages, can be divided into two categories, punitive or compensatory damages. Punitive damages are penalties that a judge will award to the plaintiff that is specifically designed to punish the defendant for their heinous acts. These damages are typically reserved for cases involving tort law and are often used to deter the defendant from doing the act again. On the contrary, compensatory damages are designed to help the plaintiff to pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.”

Domestic Violence Accusations

Domestic violence refers to any form of abuse or violent behavior towards a person in a domestic setting, like a spouse or child. It may come in many forms, but the most common forms are physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

According to the websites of the Law Offices of Richard A. Portale, P.C. and Kohler Hart Powell, SC, domestic violence accusations should be taken seriously and you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. These accusations, proven or not, can have negative effects in your being, like reputation damages and career damages.

But in order to properly defend yourself from domestic violence accusations, it is important to know first the different forms of domestic violence and their manifestations.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse involves contact or pain inflicted on the physical body of another person. Most of the time, this comes in the form of punching, kicking, stabbing, and choking. But there are subtler forms, like forcing to use drugs, intentionally denying needed medical care, and depriving the person of sleep and food.
This kind of abuse is easy to detect because of physical evidence like wounds. Still, abusive acts that don’t result into injuries, like slapping, can still be considered domestic violence.

Emotional Abuse
This kind of abuse usually targets the victim’s self-worth by using abusive behavior such as constant personal criticism, intimidation, public humiliation, and insult. Most of the time, emotional abuse is partnered with physical and other forms of abuse to magnify its effect. The victim can develop several conditions such as depression, eating disorder, substance abuse, and suicidal tendency.

Sexual Abuse
Sex is a vital part of domestic relationships, but it doesn’t mean that it is not subject to abusive behavior. Most sexual abuse cases involve rape, harassment, and unwarranted touching. But there are other forms that appear to be subtler, like forcing the victim to not use contraception, abortion, genital mutilation, and sex trafficking.

Other Forms of Abuses
There are other forms of domestic violence that you should consider, like psychological abuse and economic abuse. Psychological abuse involve a variety of abusive behaviors that may affect the victim’s mind, like blackmailing and preventing the person from leaving the house. Economic abuse refers to the control of financial issues, like how an abusive spouse can intentionally limit the access to the victim’s career advancement, education, and resources such as money and other assets.

Not only are these abusive behaviors unhealthy for the relationship, but they also bring with them additional medical costs, attorney fees, and other unnecessary expenses. It is a good thing that there are laws that protect those that are accused of domestic violence and those that have become victims of domestic violence. By looking at both the sides of the accused and the accuser, we can better judge domestic violence cases.

Common Causes of Insurance Disputes

Insurance can give people financial assistance in times of emergency. When they get involved in an accident, having insurance can help them pay for medical bills or repair for their car. Accidents are associated with various expenses and your insurance can help defray the onslaught of bills. When insurance disputes arise, the release of your claims can be delayed. In this article, we shall focus on the common causes that lead to insurance disputes.

Coverage Limits and Exclusions

The insurance provider and the policyholder may have different interpretations when it comes to the scope of insured perils, entities or individuals, per occurrence and aggregate limits, and other terms and conditions.

Lack of Communication

When there is poor or infrequent communication between a policyholder and the insurance company, chances are there will be insufficient understanding of the policyholder’s risk profile and/or insurance portfolio. Constant communication is vital to avoiding insurance disputes.

Unreasonable Expectations

Expecting too much in the scope and value of a particular claim can lead to delays in the processing of a claim.

Non-Disclosure

You need to tell your insurance company about any issues that might affect your risk when you take out or renew your insurance policy. If you don’t, it is likely that it will affect your ability to make a claim on your insurance.

Loss Assessment

When there is a conflict on the computation of your projected or incurred losses, there could be a problem with the immediate release of your insurance claims.

When applying for insurance policy, it is important for the applicant to disclose as much information as they can to the insurance company. This will help insure a trouble free release of your insurance claims in times of emergencies. The website of Abel Law Firm reveals that it is important for you to make timely payments of your policy so you can prevent delays in the release of your claims.

Basic Concerns about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security members, who sustain permanent disabilities, whether this injury is work-related, may be entitled to receive cash benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Social Security members refer to anyone 65 years old or below, who has:

Worked long enough or recently enough in a job covered by Social Security or who is self-employed; and,
Earned the required number of credits required by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Employees earn four credits in a year. These credits can be earned through monthly payment of Social Security taxes (identified as “FICA” Federal Insurance Contributions Act in employees’ pay slips).

Permanent disability, on the other hand, refers to any condition:

  • That renders a person unable to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled and which renders him/her incapable of performing any other type of work; and,
  • May either last for at least a year or result in death.

The SSA has made a list of disabilities and medical conditions which it considers too severe. If a person’s condition is found in this list and if he/she meets the other criteria listed above, then he/she would most likely qualify as a recipient of SSDI cash benefits.

It will have to be understood by an employee, however, that, despite having been approved to receive the cash benefits or if he/she is already receiving payments, this can stop if:

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

As explained by the Hankey Law Office, however, despite how much those who have developed an unexpected physical or mental disability rely on Social Security Disability benefits, many of them find the application process overly complex; worse, many more are denied in their application on their first attempt.

Whether in preparing all the required documents, in filing their application or in making an appeal, a highly-competent SSDI lawyer may be able to help. It is not enough to be eligible for the benefits; everything will also need to be done correctly – something that can be better accomplished through the assistance of a legal professional.

What are Sex Crimes?

There’s a reason sex crimes are constantly in the news: they’re not only all too common, but completely life-changing for all parties involved. The best way to prevent them from occurring is to spread knowledge and awareness about how and why sex crimes happen and why they shouldn’t.

As defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, sexual assault is an attack or attempted attack generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assault may or may not involve force; some attacks can be solely verbal.

According to the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, child sexual assault can be classified under indecency with a child or continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children. Indecency can be either a second or third-degree felony depending on the charges and has a minimum sentence of 2 years. Continuous sexual abuse, however, is a first-degree felony and a conviction can lead to anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison.

Rape, defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics as forced, non-consensual sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force, is a second-degree felony. Those convicted of rape charges can receive anywhere between 2 to 20 years in prison.

Statutory rape includes any sexual activity between a minor under the state-established age of consent with a person more than three years older than them. Statutory rape is a first-degree felony and can carry a sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison if the minor is under 14 years old and a second-degree felony with a possible sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison if they are between 14 and the age of consent.

Those who have committed a sex crime must nationally register as sex offenders. This means they are entered into a nation-wide registry and legally obligated to live by a certain set of rules that includes disclosing their sex offender status to their neighbors and not living within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare facilities.

Should You Get a Prenup?

The debate on prenuptial agreements, colloquially known as “prenups,” is heated and incredibly varied. Google the issue and you’ll come up with thousands of articles from business, financial, and relationship journals in support of getting the agreement and just as many against it. All in all, it can be said that the decision to get a prenup is best reviewed on a case-by-case basis. But how do you know whether your specific case necessitates the hotly debated documents?

First of all, younger, less financially-established parties with very few assets to their name at the time of the marriage shouldn’t need a prenup. However, having a significant amount of assets when coming into a marriage can cause initial issues that may be resolved through a prenup according to the lawyers at Arenson Law Group, PC.

A study by TIME’s Magazine found that more couples argue about money than any other topic. In order to prevent the arguments and stress money can cause in a marriage, it is often suggested that couples maintain open communication about the topic. If you’re worried your potential spouse may be uncomfortable discussing money, prenups can help start a dialogue on finances in the relationship and establish financial boundaries that both parties can agree on. Though financial conversations can be awkward initially, they are going to be a recurring theme throughout any marriage.

Another major issue that should factor into any decision to get a prenuptial agreement is spousal support. If you don’t think your spouse will appreciate the prenup, it is probably best not to get one. Trying to force a prenup on an unwilling party is likely to create friction and inspire distrust very early on in the marriage.

One last thing that should be considered is the presence of children. For those who are going into a marriage with existing children, it may be good to establish a prenuptial agreement to ensure that there is a stable plan in place for the children. Prenups can also let you establish these children as beneficiaries in the case of your death according to CNBC.

All things considered, the prenup is neither good nor bad, but a tool you and your partner can use to help construct a marriage or take it apart. Whether you decide to use one or not, the decision to get a prenup can set the course for a marriage and is a decision that should be seriously considered and discussed in depth.