The Social Security Supplemental Security Income: Eligibility Requirements

Jun 21, 2017 by

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), also known as State Supplementary Payment (SSP), is one of the largest programs of the U.S. Federal government that provide cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled people who are with little or without income. This cash benefit should help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Specifically, SSI is designed for:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR). (The FBR represents both the SSI income limit and the maximum monthly dollar amount paid by the SSI program.)

Last 2016, the FBR monthly income limit was $733 for individuals and $1,100 for couples. Determining eligibility for SSI benefits is not as simple as it seems, though, since the SSA has its own method of computing income limit. Add to this the “state supplement,” which is cash that majority of states in the U.S. (except in eight states which include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) add on top of the federal SSI payment – this addition increases the total amount of SSI payment (a beneficiary will receive) and the limit of income.

With regard to disability, the SSA considers a child (anyone below 18) or an adult (those aged 18 and above) disabled if he/she has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, (including an emotional or learning problem) that:

  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months;
  • Has resulted in severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and,
  • Can be expected to result in death

With regard to “income” and “resources,” SSI defines income as: money earned from work; money received from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs, friends or relatives; and free food or shelter. Resources, on the other hand, refers to things personally owned, including:  cash; bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds; land; vehicles; personal property; life insurance; and anything that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.

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Escalator Injuries and Deaths: A Premise Liability Case

Feb 20, 2017 by

Accidents occurring on escalators have been far more frequent compared to elevator-related accidents for the past twenty five years. Each year, close to ten percent escalator-related accidents are added to the 4,900 yearly incidences reported in the 1990s. In 2000, the number of accidents resulting to injuries and deaths jumped to more than 10,100 and, by the end of 2013, the number climbed to 12,260. Children, aged 14 and under, and senior citizens, at least 65 years old, are the ones who most commonly get involved in escalator accidents.

Falls is first in the list of escalator-related injuries and deaths, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the branch of the U.S. Federal government that protects American consumers and families from products that pose fire, chemical, electrical, or mechanical hazards.
From 1985 to 1999, 21 out of the 27 escalator-related deaths were due to falls.

Falls can either be “falls on” or “falls from” escalators. “Falls from,” also called “falls over-the-side,” involves a person falling outside of an escalator into an adjacent open space, while “falls on” or “falls down” involves a person who remains inside an elevator wellway as he/she falls.

Despite the many incidences of injuries and deaths due to escalator accidents, escalator hazards, which the escalator industry has known for decades and which they can easily correct through safer designs, have often been obscured even in litigations. This is because of the overwhelming success of the escalator industry in convincing both the media and accident investigators that accidents, especially falls, are due to intoxication, horseplay, and gross misuse.

It is important for the public to know that premises owners and manufacturers of elevators and escalators have contracts which require provision of continuous support and maintenance services, including annual inspection after initial installation. It is also important to note that, rather than horseplay, intoxication or grave misuse, the dangerous conditions which often lead to escalator accidents are maintenance related or failure by the manufacturer to retrofit readily available safety devices – a failure premises owners choose to overlook. These are actually nothing short of acts of negligence, the basis of many premises liability litigations and claims.

The Ali Mokaram law firm says that anyone who gets injured in an escalator accident should never hesitate pursuing legal action against the liable party to seek compensation for their injuries. Compensatory damages are designed to help the injured pay for the costs of recovering after the injury. These damages often include things such as lost wages, property damages, and lawyer fees.

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Bad Driving Performance and Employer Negligence: Factors that Cause Truck Accidents

Feb 8, 2017 by

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day; this translates to more than 100,000 injuries and more than 4,000 deaths every year. These numbers are despite the facts that both the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have created laws and strictly enforce these laws that are directed towards significantly reducing road accidents involving trucks.

Despite efforts from the government, however, bad driving performance and company or employer negligence continue to keep the number of truck accidents high. With regard to bad driving behavior, it has been discovered that many truck accidents are caused by drivers with multiple violations and who have very recently received warnings from their safety officers; despite these violations and warnings, they have been allowed to continue operating their vehicles.

In 1986, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed. This Act strictly mandates the removal of bad drivers from the road. Allowing drivers to continue operating a truck despite multiple traffic violations, especially a DUI or driving under the influence is a clear violation of this law, to which drivers, safety officers and employers must answer.

On the issue of company or employer negligence, the Department of Transportation has revealed that many small truck companies, to be able to continue with their operations, simply re-register under a new name and change their corporate structure in order to evade liability for accidents wherein their drivers are at fault, and escape legal responsibility for company violations of federal laws.

Unlike cars and SUVs, a semi-trailer, also called a big rig or an 18-wheeler, can easily damage smaller vehicles and severely injure or kill all their passengers. Accidents, injuries and deaths are not just statistical data. In each accident, many lives are affected: the lives of victims and of the members of their respective families. It will be in the best interest of victims to get in touch with a highly-skilled personal injury lawyer (as soon as possible) after an accident for them to immediately receive justice and the compensation which the court may find them worthy to claim.

It is explained in the website of the law firm Ali Mokaram & Associates, P.C., that “18 wheelers are an important way for U.S. companies to transport goods across the nation. However, these trucks are some of the largest and most difficult vehicles to operate on roads and highways. Their enormous weight and size make basic driving maneuvers, such as lane switching, braking, and turning, difficult for even the most seasoned truck drivers. There are many safety procedures in place for 18 wheelers and their drivers, but when drivers fail to adhere to such procedures, commercial vehicle accidents can result in serious injury and even death.

Individuals involved in an 18 wheeler accident can attest to the severity of damage caused by these massive vehicles. These giants may be necessary to deliver the goods consumers need, but when the negligence of a driver or a transportation company causes injuries to an innocent victim, they need to pay compensation to those who suffered.”

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Understanding Texas Drug Charges: Marijuana Possession

Jan 10, 2017 by

While a number of states in America are beginning to decriminalize or legalize marijuana use, there are many other states where mere possession of the drug could lead to serious penalties. In Texas, for example, marijuana possession is a criminal charge that can result to penalties requiring significant fees and even prison time. According to Nashville criminal defense attorney Brent Horst, penalties for possession charges are the less severe compared to those of other drug charges. However, being convicted of marijuana possession can have a profound effect on a person’s reputation.

The specific penalties for a marijuana possession will be decided on by the court following several factors. Texas courts might consider whether the individual has any previous convictions. The court will also consider the amount or marijuana that an individual is found to be carrying. Carrying 2 ounces of marijuana or less is considered a misdemeanor charge, often requiring up to $2,000 in fines and about 180 days in jail. Possessing 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana, another misdemeanor charge, is penalized with paying up to $4,000 in fines and a year of jail time.

Possession of marijuana in amounts larger than 4 ounces is considered a felony. Carrying up to 5 pounds or marijuana can lead to a sentence of 6 to 24 months in state jail with fines of about $10,000. Meanwhile, more than 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana can lead to 2 to 10 years of prison time with up to $10,000 fines. Carrying marijuana that amounts to more than 50 pounds can lead to a sentence of life imprisonment with up to $50,000 in fines.

With the help of an experienced lawyer, these penalties can be still be reduced following an individual’s specific circumstances. It might even be possible to avoid a conviction altogether. Seek out appropriate legal counsel to learn more.

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Mesothelioma: The Dangers of Asbestos

Jan 9, 2017 by

Before the 1980s, asbestos was common component in a wide variety of materials for construction, automation, and industrial use due to its unique resistance to heat, fire, electrical, and chemical damage. These seemingly indestructible naturally occurring minerals have thin microscopic fibers that later proved to affect the human body in dangerous ways.

Much of the dangerous effects caused by asbestos are because of its microscopic fibers that can easily be inhaled and ingested unknowingly. One of the most alarming ways that asbestos affects the body is through a rare type of cancer known as mesothelioma. This condition targets the lining of internal organs, causing tumors to grow in different areas of the body. Mesothelioma is known to typically affect the chest and abdomen due to the manner that asbestos enters the body, but it can also cause tumors to grow in the heart and even the reproductive organs. The asbestos attorneys at Williams Kherkher also add other medical conditions that can arise from asbestos exposure, such as scarring in the lungs.

Mesothelioma is particularly alarming because it can take years before any symptoms show up. Patients can be exposed to asbestos for a long time and not be aware of how it affects their health. Unfortunately, this makes the cancer particularly hard to detect. When finally detected, the cancer is often too far progressed to be properly treated.

If you are in an environment where you are at risk for asbestos exposure, be mindful of your health and take note of any possible symptoms you experience. Symptoms for mesothelioma affecting the chest cavity are coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, trouble swallowing, excessive sweating, and pain in the chest, sides, and lower back. Common symptoms for mesothelioma in the abdomen are pain and swelling in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, and extreme weight loss.

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