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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Does chronic pain leave you eligible for disability benefits?

You may be aware of the fact that you could be eligible for disability benefits if you are unable to work due to a medical condition or a serious injury. Sometimes, a disabling condition is the result of an accident or the diagnosis of a serious illness. For you, however, your condition may develop over time as the result of a previous injury.

Complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition that results from damage from a previous injury. You may have to live with a certain amount of pain due to a past injury, but eventually, this pain could affect your ability to work. Missouri residents who struggle with CRPS may have a valid claim to disability benefits though the Social Security Administration because they are unable to hold gainful employment.

Financial challenges can be mitigated with proper divorce prep

Missourians who are divorcing will have significant emotional issues to get beyond as part of the process. This can obscure other divorce issues that can have even greater long-term effect on their lives. Finances must be considered during divorce proceedings. While this is a persistent problem for people ending their marriage, there are steps to take to mitigate these problems and to be protected. A legal professional can be helpful in organization and being fully prepared.

When a couple divorces, they might have had a home they purchased and shared during the marriage. If one spouse chooses to try and retain the residence, he or she might not realize the costs they will be burdened with on their own. Often, they cannot afford it. Upkeep of a home can be expensive and it might be preferable to sell it and divide the proceeds as part of the divorce. Nevertheless, some people will prefer the home instead of taking liquid assets. This is a trade divorcing couples might see as fair. But, keep in mind that when it comes to a home versus a bank account or retirement account, paper value and liquid value are different and should be compared.

Can I get SSD benefits for obesity?

Missourians who have a weight issue that places them in the category of being declared obese will have obvious hindrances when working or trying to work. Some who do not know they might meet the criteria to be considered obese are similarly unaware that they can get Social Security disability benefits for it. Understanding various facts about obesity and how it is assessed by the Social Security Administration is imperative for people who are afflicted with the condition are seeking disability benefits.

People who are obese are at high risk for numerous medical issues including diabetes mellitus, gall bladder disease, hypertension, heart disease, cancers and more. It can also lead to the person having mental issues such as depression. When an applicant seeks disability benefits because of obesity, the SSA will determine if they have a medically determinable impairment, if the impairment is severe, if it meets or equals an impairment on the listings, and if it stops the person from doing relevant work he or she did in the past or other work in which there are significant available jobs.

Backlog for SSD appeals troublesome for applicants

St. Louis residents who are suffering from an illness and believe that they believe meets the qualifications to receive Social Security disability benefits must be aware that the validity of the medical issue is doubtlessly important, but so too are other factors. One issue that is prominent is the number of people who are waiting for a hearing to receive their benefits. Understanding how this is problematic and the steps to take in attempting to mitigate the wait time is vital.

Currently, there are more than a million people who are waiting for a hearing with the average amount of time they are waiting an estimated two years. For some, time is of the essence and by the time they receive their hearing, they have already died. People who are seeking a hearing were denied Social Security disability. The right to appeal is available for all and there are four levels of appeal, but the person who decides on the case can vary. Many people who appeal will end up being approved.

Can I pursue SSD benefits because of cancer therapy?

Missourians who have cancer can pursue Social Security disability benefits for illness. However, depending on the cancer and the treatment the person is receiving, the illness might not be sufficient to meet the criteria to get SSD benefits. Understanding how the anticancer therapy affects the person is important when determining whether they can receive SSD benefits or not.

There are many instances in which the person's cancer will only meet the requirements in the Listing of Impairments to warrant an approval for benefits if the therapy to treat it is ineffective and there is a persistence, progression or recurrence of the disease. The evidence in the case will be used to decide on an approval or denial. There are numerous different aftereffects for treatment, and the Social Security Administration will judge each case on its individual merits.

The real military threat may be in your marriage

There are many factors that contribute to a successful marriage. Certainly, some common items may include open communication, trust, time together and common goals. Trauma and tragedy often stress a marriage to the breaking point, and couples facing such obstacles either come through stronger and more dedicated to each other, or they become distant and withdrawn from one another.

Unfortunately for many military couples, the negative factors may outweigh the positive, and even the strongest marriages are tested when military life calls. However, there are ways to protect your marriage from some of the most common threats you may face as service member.

What is the USFSPA maximum payment amount in a military divorce?

When a Missouri military divorce takes place, there are many different issues that must be navigated. Some of these could be in dispute, so it is important to understand the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA). Under this act, the right to distribute military pay when a service member ends his or her marriage is given to state courts. USFSPA also gives a method of enforcement via the Department of Defense (DOD). There is a limit to the amount a non-military spouse can get from the military member's pay. There is a maximum payment amount.

Under the Act, the most an ex-spouse can be awarded is half of the disposable retired pay of the military member. If payments are being made via the Act, and the paying spouse's wages are being garnished for spousal support or child support, it cannot go beyond 65 percent of the disposable income. When it comes to disposable retirement payments, these will be the amount the military member receives in gross pay minus any deductions that are authorized. The date of the divorce is key to determining the maximum payment and the deductions.

Do I need credits for my Social Security disability case?

When a Missourian has an injury, illness or condition and seeks disability benefits from Social Security, he or she must understand the importance of credits and how they are earned. For Social Security disability benefits, there must be a certain amount of credits earned before getting an approval. Knowing how these are accrued is vital to a case.

The Social Security Administration bases Social Security credits on the earnings of the individual. The individual's work history and earnings will be used to decide whether he or she is eligible for benefits or not. For 2017, a person will get one credit for every $1,300 he or she earns. There is a maximum of four credits per year. The amount a person must earn to accumulate credits changes when the average earnings rise. The credits cannot be taken away even if the person stops working or changes jobs.

If I am getting SSD benefits, is my spouse also eligible?

It is common for people to misunderstand the rules for Social Security disability benefits and fail to apply for certain options that they are entitled to, even after they have been deemed as disabled and are getting benefits. For people in Missouri who seek and are approved for SSD benefits, one of the questions they might forget to ask is whether relatives can also get benefits based on the recipient's record. The answer is yes. There are important points to remember.

If a qualified family member seeks benefits, they will provide their birth certificates and Social Security numbers to the Social Security Administration. If it is a spouse seeking benefits, it is likely that the SSA will want a proof of marriage and other information related to the union and its validity. There is a maximum amount that a family member can receive. It is up to 50 percent of the disabled person's disability rate.

What does my employers workers' compensation insurance cover?

Suffering an injury at your Missouri workplace or learning that you have an illness that is the result of your job can be a daunting experience. In addition to the pain you are dealing with, you must also deal with the financial fallout that comes with days missed from work, medical bills and other recovery needs.

Workers' compensation insurance intends to assist workers in your situation. However, it can be remarkably complicated to get the money you need or the amount that you need to fully recover and move forward with your life. It is beneficial for you to know your rights and the types of benefits to which you are entitled.

Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
St. Louis, MO 63105

Toll Free: 800-652-5775
Phone: 314-925-0242
Fax: 314-727-5297
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