What You Need to Know about Social Security Disability Benefits

Apr 13

People face unavoidable risks in their daily lives, whether they’re at home, at their place of work, or driving on the road. Sometimes, these risks lead to accidents that could cause injury and disability. During such cases, the U.S. federal government has ensured that people with disabilities receive financial support through social security benefits. This is done through two primary programs called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). According to the website of the Hankey Law Office, individuals can make claims under either two programs depending on their particular circumstances.

Information about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI benefits are a form of financial assistance comprised of regular payments meant to support persons with disabilities and their families provided through paid Social Security taxes. An individual could qualify for SSDI benefits if they are insured members, aged 65 and below, and can meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed long enough to pay Social Security or Federal Insurance Contribution taxes
  • Have been able to earn the required number of credits by the Social Security Act
  • Currently suffering from total disability, which is defined by the factors: inability to perform previous work due to a medical condition; the disability has lasted for a year, and is likely to continue on for a year or more; the disability can result in death.

The amount paid to beneficiaries will vary depending on the nature of their disability. The same is true for the duration in which a beneficiary will receive their SSDI payments. The Social Security Act provides a list of severe medical conditions that would automatically qualify a person for SSDI benefits. If an individual’s current condition is not on the list, Social Security will conduct an evaluation to learn more about the nature of their disability.

Information about Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

On the other hand, SSI benefits come from the U.S. Treasury. Individuals would not need to have earned Social Security credits through employment to qualify. These payments are typically intended for individuals who are facing notable financial hardships and are having difficulties with paying for basic necessities.

To qualify for SSI assistance, an individual should be at least 65 years old and totally disabled. They should have income or resources that fall within a specific bracket called federal benefit rate.

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Child Custody Information: Restrictions for Unfit Parents

Apr 11

Child custody is one of the most important details that divorcing and separating parents should arrange. Because it could entail difficult decisions, the court acts as a mediator to ensure the best interest of the child is upheld. As such, there several factors that needs to be considered. Still, regardless of what both parents decide, the court will have the final say in the manner.

Particularly in the last several years, the court has been keen on making sure that children are able to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. As much as possible, the courts prefer to award joint custody to ensure that children can foster a healthy relationship with each parent. Joint custody is when both parents can play an active role in making important decisions involving their child. Depending on the proximity of both parents’ home, they might also be awarded joint physical custody by the court. This is the ideal scenario that courts will want to see child custody arrangements play. This, however, won’t be the case if there is an unfit parent involved.

The court will restrict custody rights for parents deemed legally unfit to care for their child. This is typically determined by identifying factors that is considered dangerous or harmful to the child. If there are concerns about domestic violence, emotional abuse, substance abuse, and other criminal offenses, the court will carry out a risk assessment to learn more about the situation. Such an investigation can take place even after a custody arrangement has long been settled. Depending on what they find, the court could end up making important modifications to the custody arrangement.

According to the website of BB Law Group PLLC, the following scenarios are flagged by courts as cause to modify child custody arrangements and deem a parent unfit:

  • If a child being subjected to abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • If a parent is dependent on narcotic substances
  • If a parent’s new partner endangers the child’s well being

For example, a parent with drug dependence could have their visitation rights terminated. As pointed out on the website of lawyer James Powderly, the criminal justice system takes drug charges very seriously. Any serious crime will have devastating outcomes, which can affect a parent’s ability to play an active role in their child’s life.

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Do You Need SR-22 Insurance?

Apr 10

Road accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence in the U.S., with the United States Census Bureau reporting 10.8 million vehicular accidents in the year 2009 alone. The website of the Abel Law Firm also notes that a car accident takes place every 8 seconds across the country. In most cases, these accidents result in damages and injuries. One way the government makes sure such outcomes don’t lead to devastating consequences is through requiring drivers to have insurance liability coverage.

Among such safety nets is the SR-22 Insurance, which is required of drivers who have been convicted of traffic offenses or have incurred several traffic violations within a given time period. Depending on which state they live in, high risks drivers will need to file an SR-22 to regain their driving privileges. According to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, SR-22 Insurance is particularly important after the following scenarios:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Causing a car accident without appropriate insurance
  • Having 3 or more traffic violations within a year

Technically, SR-22 is the name of the form that at risk drivers need to fill out and forward to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This form will prove that the driver has complied in attaining the insurance liability coverage required for their particular situation. Usually, the SR-22 form is forwarded by the insurance company. In these cases, drivers won’t have to worry about a lengthy process. The only thing they will need to focus their attention on is making necessary payments for their insurance policy.

Drivers required to get an SR-22 Insurance will have to pay a higher premium for about three years. Some states also require the payment of certain fees. It’s also important to note that an SR-22 insurance that gets cancelled or has lapses in payment within a specified duration or time could lead to another violation for the driver.

All in all, an SR-22 Insurance is an important safety net that helps key roads across the U.S. safe from liabilities caused by accidents. Drivers who want to regain their privileges after committing certain traffic offenses and violations should make sure to work with a notable car insurance company to get the best options for their particular situation.

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: How Does It Work?

Apr 06

Financial instability is an issue plenty of Americans are currently grappling with. Considering the state of today’s market, more and more people are finding themselves in the midst of growing debt. Consumer debt in the U.S. is at $11.4 trillion. This only shows how alarming the debt crisis is.

If you are among the many Americans struggling to pay off their mortgages, student loans, and other debt obligations, you might find recourse in filing for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most suitable options for those seeking for financial relief.

The website of the Bradford Law Offices describes Chapter 7 as a form of bankruptcy that provides individuals a way to manage their existing debts through the liquidation of particular assets. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is particularly helpful for those struggling with a huge amount in payments, as it can discharge or even eliminate part of the debt they’ve incurred.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, which could take up to 4 to 6 months to complete, starts with filing an official petition, which includes a statement of all your financial affairs. This will include a complete list of all your assets and debts. It’s important to have appropriate financial and legal advice as you go through the entire process. Once the petition is filed, the court will impose an automatic stay and prevent creditors from contacting you about your payments or ceasing your property. The court will also assign a trustee, who will then be responsible for liquidating and distributing particular assets that have not been exempt. These exemptions are determined by bankruptcy law and are different from state to state.

There is a set of criteria that determines your eligibility to file a Chapter 7 petition. The court will have to consider a variety of factors, but they primarily assess your personal income. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is meant to be an option for those with pressing financial needs. The bankruptcy means test will help determine whether your income falls within a lower income scale.

Filing for bankruptcy can offer much needed financial relief. Before you go through the process, it’s best to learn which bankruptcy option is the best solution for you. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the appropriate avenue for individuals who need extra support for their current financial situation.

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What is Wrongful Foreclosure?

Apr 03

Facing financial troubles can already cause a lot of stress. However, when an individual fail to make payments on mortgage, they could also stand to lose their most valuable possession. It’s not hard to imagine that losing one’s home can be a devastating experience. Unfortunately, foreclosure is an experience that is becoming increasingly widespread across America.

Even more alarming is the fact that such incidents could have been avoided if not for negligent errors. According to data gathered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), about a third of all foreclosed borrowers faced to lose their homes due to errors on the part of banks and mortgage companies. All in all, 1.2 million borrowers came to face wrongful foreclosure.

Foreclosure is basically a legal process where a creditor or lender attempts to recover debts incurred by a borrower that has not been making payments through forcing the sale of certain assets. Most of the time, this asset is an individual’s home. Wrongful foreclosure happens when a bank, mortgage company, or any other money-lending financial organization pursues this process illegally.

According to the website of real estate litigation lawyers at Gagnon, Peacock, & Vereeke, the following issues are typical factors in rendering a foreclosure illegal:

  • Bad faith on part of the lender
  • Errors and continued use of banned practices
  • Predatory lending practices
  • Failure to provide borrowers with appropriate and sufficient notices
  • Overcharging homeowners through additional late payment fees

These are just some of the many issues that can allow wrongfully foreclosed homeowners enough ground to fight illegal practices. If you are currently facing a wrongful foreclosure, know that you have legal options that could help you navigate through your dilemma. Your best recourse is to consult with experienced legal counsel in your area, such as a Plano wrongful foreclosure lawyer.

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Premises Liability: Slip and Fall Accidents

Apr 02

There are certain accidents that are pretty easy to avoid. As long as safety precautions are followed with extra care, a large number of individuals can be saved from the risk of injury. Among such accidents include slipping and falling. While these accidents might sound simple compared to other, more disastrous situations, they occur frequently enough to be some cause for concern.

According to the National Safety Council, slip and fall accidents are responsible for around 8.9 million emergency department visits every year. Personal injury lawyers from Ritter and Associates also note on their website that 10 percent of all civil lawsuits in America are for premise liability. Among all these lawsuits, the most common complaint is for injuries caused by slip and fall accidents.

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere—from homes, places of business, to areas like malls and parks that people typically frequent for recreation. As long as premises have certain hazards and dangers lying around, a slip and fall accident is always a looming possibility. Among such hazards include wet and slippery floors, uneven flooring, cracked pavement or concrete surfaces, exposed wires, uncovered pegs, staircases and inclines without proper handrails, poor lighting and unnecessary clutter along walkways.

Injuries that commonly result from slipping and falling include sprains, broken bones, and torn muscles and ligaments. There are, however, certain accidents that could lead to more severe outcomes such as injuries to the back, neck or head. In some cases, such outcomes could lead to traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Both types of injuries could severely limit a person’s physical capabilities, impeding their ability to move around.

Slip and fall accidents are easy to avoid. More than taking extra care when out and about, property owners should also know that they are equally responsible in preventing the occurrence of such accidents. Property owners need to make sure that their premises are free of any hazards. Liability for slip and fall injuries can be reduced as long as property owners do their best to keep their premises safe and well-maintained.

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