If you’ve suffered a debilitating injury that’s going to prevent you from working, you’re going to need a way to provide for your own needs. Social Security benefits are designed to provide a monthly cash payment when injuries or disabilities prevent you from working for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, studies show that only about 30-35% of all Social Security applications are approved on the first attempt. Here are three steps you can take that will improve your chances of having your application approved on your first attempt.
Be Open with Your Doctor
When it comes to applying for Social Security disability benefits, your doctor can be your strongest ally. That’s why it’s so important that you be open and honest with them at all times. This includes sharing all aspects of your disability with your doctor, including how it’s affecting your day-to-day life.
For instance, if your disability is interfering with your ability to properly care for you or your family, you should share this information with your doctor. Being open and honest will help when it comes time for the doctor to make his recommendation regarding your need for Social Security benefits.
Submit Copies of All Your Medical Records
Before you apply for Social Security benefits, be sure to obtain copies of all your medical records, including all test results. Once you have obtained copies of all your medical records, send them in with your application for benefits. By providing copies of your medical records, you’ll give the Social Security Administration the opportunity to go over your records before they receive the official copies from your doctors.
Be Sure to Make Follow-Up Calls
After you’ve submitted your initial paperwork, don’t wait for the Social Security Administration to contact you. Instead, make follow-up calls. The first follow-up call should be about two weeks after you’ve mailed in your initial application packet. This will give them enough time to receive the packet and enter it into the system. After the initial follow-up call, make weekly calls to track their progress. Making regular phone calls will allow you to receive earlier notification if there’s a problem with your application.
If your disability is going to prevent you from working for an extended period of time, you need to apply for Social Security benefits. The information provided here will help you get approved for benefits the first time you apply. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to speak to professionals like Cook, Glen.Learn More
Private disability insurance is the insurance your employer offers you when you start a new job. There may be a short or very long waiting period before the insurance takes effect, and during that initial enrollment period you may have small amounts deducted from your checks to cover the monthly premiums. Short-term disability may cover you for up to two years while you are unable to work, while long-term disability may cover you until retirement. However, before you get excited about having long-term disability coverage, you should understand some things about what this type of insurance policy does not cover and whether or not it is a good value for you.
Long-Term Private Disability Insurance Does Not Cover Pre-Existing Conditions
If you are already using a wheelchair to get around, you have a brain tumor, or some other pre-existing condition that could impact your work later on, private disability insurance does not cover these. In some instances, some private disability insurance companies ask for access to your pre-employment physical before signing you up for their policies. This is to fact-check your doctor’s statements of your personal health against company records and screen out pre-existing conditions so that employees cannot place claims against their policies in the future for these conditions. While this type of insurance does not cover your current physical challenges, it can and does cover any future issues you may have.
Long-Term Disability Insurance Can Help Pay Bills Until You Receive Federal Disability Benefits
Long-term disability insurance from your employer is very different from disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. However, if you find that you need your private disability insurance benefits and you file a claim for long-term benefits with your private insurance provider through your employer, these benefits can help pay some of your bills until you have applied for disability benefits with Social Security. Benefits with Social Security can take several months to go into effect, and they are not always guaranteed, but if you have private disability insurance you will at least have some coverage and some money for as long as you need it.
Long-Term Disability Insurance Only Pays out at Sixty to Seventy Percent
The one down side to private long-term disability insurance is that it only pays out between sixty and seventy percent of your gross wages for the year prior to your injuries. Hiring a lawyer will not get you more money if the insurance contract is clear in its limitations and restrictions. However, this amount is still better than nothing at all. If you want to be sure you are getting a decent value from your private disability insurance, have a lawyer (like one from Iler and Iler) who is well-versed in this area take a look at the insurance contracts before you sign.Learn More
No matter how old or new your estate plans are, it’s important to remember that your will or trust is a flexible document, even as it stands for a secure future for your loved ones. Expect to update or change your official estate plans as family members are born and others pass on, when assets change significantly, or when there are other circumstances that require special provisions.
There are two important moments when you should definitely consult your estate planning attorney to go over your wills and trusts and make necessary changes:
When laws are updated
In early 2016 New Jersey was the latest state to enact provisions of the Uniform Trust Code (UTC), which details how wills and trusts should be handled, managed and settled by the courts and other parties. Promoted by the Uniform Law Commission, the UTC is a way to standardize estate law so that all state courts govern wills and trusts in the same or similar manner. (You can read the full text of the New Jersey version of the law here.)
Over 28 states have enacted some of the provisions in the UTC. In the case of the New Jersey code, the laws are retroactive and cover any and all existing wills. If you had a competent attorney draw up your will, you should already be covered and meet the requirements of your particular state’s laws. But if you live in New Jersey, or in any state that has enacted the code after your will was filed, it’s a smart call to have your estate attorney go over your documents to be sure everything is compliant with your state’s latest trust rules.
When special needs arise
Life throws us curve balls all the time. Accidents, disease or sudden illness may render a formerly active family member unable to properly care for their own needs. Whether you must see to their financial, medical or educational support after your death, there are special considerations–especially if your family member will need to rely on Medicaid or other public assistance in the years to come.
Many public assistance programs do not allow recipients to have much in the way of assets. A special needs trust will allow for extra subsistence and support, but only if the funds are structured in such a way that they are not given directly to the person with the disability. It’s important to have an experienced estate planner handle a special needs trust to ensure it won’t impair any future ability to receive health care or other services.
Even if you already have such a special needs trust, as a child with a disability grows to adulthood, they may be more or less capable of self-support than was believed when you first established the trust. You will want to review and change a special needs trust if you find that your child will need additional support in the future.
There are many DIY estate planning tools on the market, but be aware that the wrong wording in a will or trust can significantly alter who gets your assets and how they are taxed after your death. You must also make certain that all of your beneficiaries line up on your paperwork, so that you aren’t bequeathing your savings account to one person on your signed bank forms and giving the same account to a different beneficiary in your will or last testament. This sort of confusion can also be eliminated by having a professional go over all of your policies and accounts to make sure everything is in sync.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Donald B Linsky & Associate PaLearn More
If you’ve been injured on the job, the actions you take immediately after the incident may determine whether or not you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. Worker’s compensation is designed to provide you with the medical care and financial assistance you’ll need to recover from your injuries and survive financially while you’re unable to work. However, even a few missteps can undermine your claim and make it difficult for you to receive the benefits you’re entitled to. Here are four steps you should take that will help you avoid problems with your claim.
Report the Injury Immediately
As soon as you suffer a workplace injury, you need to report the incident. Don’t leave work without filing an accurate report with your employer. Stop by your human resource office and tell them that you need to report a workplace injury. If they don’t have proper procedures in place for you to report the incident, sit down and write out a statement detailing all the events surrounding the injury. Be sure to include the time and location of the incident, as well as the names of anyone who was present when the injuries occurred. If you were following the orders of a supervisor when the injuries occurred, be sure to make a note of that in the statement, as well.
Consult with an Attorney
Once you’ve filed your claim and met with your physicians, you’ll need to consult with an attorney. Your attorney will make sure that you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. Your employer and the insurance company are going to be looking to protect their interests, which means you’ll need someone looking out for yours. Don’t try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. Obtain legal counsel and let them do the negotiating for you.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
While you’re receiving medical care for your injuries, it’s important that you follow your doctor’s orders completely. Those medical records, including doctor’s orders, will be used by the insurance company when determining your settlement. If you haven’t followed the doctor’s orders, you could undermine your worker’s compensation claim. If you’re not sure you agree with the care you’re receiving from a physician, seek a second opinion.
Workplace injuries can turn your world upside down. Make sure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to by following the suggestions provided above. Be sure to discuss any concerns you might have with your attorney, such as Hamilton Law Firm, P.C.Learn More
If you have been working in and out of the country and you want to bring home your partner that lives in another country, you’ll want to call an immigration lawyer. If you want your partner to come live with you in the states permanently, and you are strongly considering marriage, there is a process that has to be followed.
Your partner can first apply for a visitor’s visa, where they can visit the area for an extended period of time. During that time you’ll want to meet with an immigration attorney to start the process of turning your partner into a citizen. Here are a few reasons you’ll want to have a lawyer.
There is a great deal of paperwork that has to be filed and applications that have to be filled out carefully. Having a lawyer to help you go over these different documents, and to fill everything out for your partner is ideal. Any flaws will get the application denied, or could force you to start the process over. If this happens, your partner could get deported.
There are going to be very strict laws that your partner has to follow while they’re in the United States. They may not be able to work, or you may have to file for a specific type of visa for them to do so. Committing a crime could be one of the worst things they could do while their application is pending. Your lawyer will make sure your partner is educated about these laws, and help if any complications arise.
If the two of you have decided that you are going to get married during the process, or before submitting the application, your lawyer can file all the paperwork for your marriage license and help to get your new status pushed through the government records. As long as you can prove that you are marrying for love, and not for a visa, there shouldn’t be complications.
There are a lot of different things that you have to consider when you invite your partner to move from another country to live with you. Don’t just have them get on a plane with their passport and think that they can stay at your living space without being a citizen. Eventually, they need to become a citizen of the United States and you will want to get a lawyer to work out the details.Learn More
Riding your bicycle can be a healthy and cost-effective form of transportation, but it also puts you at risk as you share the road with cars and trucks. If you were recently involved in an accident with a driver while riding your bicycle, you may be wondering about your options to help cover the related medical and property damages. Although it is possible to file a personal injury claim against a driver after an accident, the burden may be on you to provide adequate proof of your suffering and the driver’s negligence. These four steps will help you come to court armed with the strongest case possible.
Treat the Incident Like a Car Accident
When you or your bicycle is struck on the road, you may be tempted to resolve the situation informally and be on your way. But this can damage your legal standing and reduce the credibility of your claims, which is why it is important to wait for police to arrive and deliver a statement. This is your opportunity to present your side of the story for the official record, so be honest and thorough.
Assemble Witness Testimonies
If you are not injured significantly during the crash, you may also want to use the following hour or two to get the contact information or brief statements from witnesses on the scene. Assuming you were not at fault for the accident, these witnesses could prove to be a crucial resource when it comes time to prove your claim, and they can be nearly impossible to track down later on.
Seek Medical Attention
Of course, if you were injured, you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Even if you feel fine afterward, it is still a good idea to get examined for any underlying wounds or complications. Ask for a written record of the injuries you suffered, and take photographs of them for future reference. Both written and visual evidence of the damage to your person can be a vital resource for winning over a judge or jury.
Protect Your Evidence
In all likelihood, your personal injury attorney will want as much evidence from the crash as possible. This includes your bicycle and the objects you were carrying with you at the time, even torn or dirty clothing. These items help illustrate the severity of the crash and can also be used to justify your requested figure. Avoid washing your clothes, throwing away ruined objects or having your bicycle repaired before you go to court. Your attorney will be able to handle paperwork and negotiations for you, but he or she can’t do everything. By taking steps to bolster your claim while on the scene of the accident, you can dramatically improve your chances of success and an adequate payment.Learn More
Being an unmarried single mother is not always easy, and various legal issues can complicate matters a great deal. Knowing your legal rights as a single mother can help ease your burden in many cases. This article takes a look at some key legal considerations that unmarried single moms often face.
As your child’s biological mother, the law generally assumes that you have the right to custody. The child’s biological father typically does not have this presumptive legal right. If the child’s father wants to challenge your right to custody then he must usually go to court and try to win custody from a judge. Generally, for this attempt to succeed, the father must show that you are an unfit parent in some way, such as proving that you have abused drugs or are not physically able to give the child proper care.
Even though your child’s father might not be granted any custody rights, the courts usually believe that it’s in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. For this reason, courts typically allow the father of a child to have visitation rights even if the parents were never married. If you feel that a relationship with the father would be harmful to your child, you will need to present the court with a compelling reason to prevent the father from seeing the child.
For example, if the father has exhibited violent tendencies in the past, this could be as a reason to keep him from spending time unsupervised visits with your son or daughter. However, the court might still allow the father to spend time with the child under supervision, even if unsupervised visitation is disallowed.
The father of your child has a legal obligation to support his son or daughter independent of any other consideration. For example, this applies regardless of whether the father has been granted any visitation rights by the court. An important point to keep in mind is that if you apply for any type of government assistance, such as food stamps, the state is going to automatically take legal action to obtain financial support for the child from the father.
Unmarried mothers of young children often face daunting legal issues that can make their lives more complicated. These issues are very difficult to navigate without the help of an expert. For more information concerning this issue, contact a family lawyer, such as Thomas & Associates, PC.Learn More