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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Will you have your SSDI claim accepted the first time?

Even if you love your job, it is not the place you want to be if you are sick or in pain. While you depend on your paycheck to pay your bills, you may wonder if that benefit is worth the effort it takes to get out of bed and get yourself to the workplace. In fact, many days it is almost impossible for you to complete the duties required of your position at your job, and you don't think you will be able to continue long enough to retire.

You may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, which will provide you with benefits based on your work history and other factors. However, receiving SSDI benefits is not automatic. First, you must apply and wait until the Social Security Administration determines if you are eligible. That process can be tedious and often disappointing.

Limits in exertional, non-exertional and inability to work

When a Missouri resident is seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) for injury, there will inevitably be terms that he or she might not fully understand. However, these terms are often vital to the claim and could make the difference between getting approved for SSD benefits. Exertional and non-exertional limitations are examples.

A person's impairment and the symptoms that go along with it can result in their inability to work. These can be exertional, non-exertional or both. If the issue is exertional, it means that the person does not possess the physical strength to do certain jobs. With exertional limitations, the impairment and the symptoms that accompany it will hinder the ability to fulfill the strength portion of certain jobs. That includes standing, sitting, walking, pulling, pushing and carrying.

Social Security Disability and SGA tests for the self-employed

Missouri residents who have suffered an injury or illness and are unable to work can seek Social Security Disability benefits. However, since the assessment of the applicant's ability to perform substantial gainful activity is so integral to a case, those who are self-employed might be confused as to where they fit in with the equation and the requirements. There are certain rules that the Social Security Administration will use when evaluating a self-employed person's work activity. Part of that is tests to see if the person has reached SGA. Knowing these tests is crucial to an application.

The SSA will take into consideration the activities the person does and their value to the business when determining if there was SGA. Income will not be the sole consideration because the amount that the person earns cannot be boiled down to one factor.

New statistics show military divorce numbers stagnant

Some jobs have issues that make it difficult to maintain a marriage, and lead to a higher than average divorce rate. One job that has personal, professional and emotional stress is the military.

Members of the armed forces must endure separation and the status of being on call and possibly deployed for extended periods. There is also danger with the job. Regardless of the reason why marriage difficulties arise, it is important to keep track of the divorce rates for military members. New statistics were recently released as to the number of divorces for service members.

Understanding who makes the disability decision for SSD benefits

Missourians who have become ill and are unable to work should apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Many people are not aware they have a good chance at being approved, if they apply for SSD benefits. Others do not know how the decision is made to approve or deny benefits, nor who makes it. Knowing the entities that will make the decision on an SSD claim can assuage fears and give applicants confidence that they can get SSD.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at the application and make certain that the applicant meets the basic requirements to get SSD. The amount of time the person spent working is an important factor as this determines whether the person qualifies. Once these requirements have been met, the application will continue to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS is a state agency that will complete the first part of the process for the SSA.

Should you seek workers' compensation or disability benefits?

If you are unable to work due to an accident at work, you likely need financial support. Missouri readers know they are entitled to certain benefits in the event they suffer an injury in a work accident or because of an occupational illness. However, if you are unable to work for an extended period because of your condition, you may be unsure whether you should file for workers' compensation or disability benefits.

The most important thing after the onset of a condition that impedes your ability to work is securing financial support. When you cannot work, you cannot support your family. Fortunately, there are various options available to you related to financial support. You may find it helpful to seek guidance regarding which type is appropriate for your individual situation.

Legal help is key when seeking SSD benefits after a brain injury

The brain is such a complex part of the body and the linchpin in basic human functioning that when a Missourian suffers a brain injury, it can cause an endless stream of problems in the long and short term. Those who have suffered a brain injury might find themselves unable to function normally, need therapy and other treatments, and not be able to work. It is in these cases that Social Security disability benefits will be necessary and a lawyer is imperative to get approved for SSD benefits.

A brain injury can happen at work, when playing sports, after a motor vehicle accident, or by simply suffering from a spontaneous injury. There are many ways it can happen and the severity can range from the mild to the severe. Those who have a mild brain injury might need a minimal amount of treatment and help. From there, the amount of damage can rise to being treatable with the person relatively able to function on his or her own to needing help 24/7 to do even the simplest tasks. Any brain injury might meet the requirements to for qualifying SSD benefits for injury and having legal help in applying is crucial.

SSD benefits, longitudinal evidence and a mental disorder

Missourians who are suffering from mental illness or have a mental disorder and are seeking Social Security disability benefits because of it might be intimidated by the evidence that the Social Security Administration needs to approve their application. By nature, people with mental issues can have certain anxieties and fear of not meeting the requirements to get benefits. This can be overwhelming. One aspect of the evidentiary process is longitudinal evidence. This means that variables are considered when observing the person over a certain period to determine how their mental issues are affecting them.

With longitudinal evidence, the SSA will use the assessment to see how the person has functioned and evaluate changes in their level of functioning. The medical providers will give the SSA this information if the SSA needs to know how the person's issues have affected them in the past. There are some circumstances in which it can be difficult to accrue this evidence. If, for example, a person has had an extended period of homelessness, it will be all-but impossible to have longitudinal evidence. For those suffering from severe mental disorders, there will likely be evidence of this in how they are functioning despite not having an ongoing medical relationship with a doctor or treating facility. People who know the person such as family, friends, colleagues, social workers and others can give information to the SSA.

What issues can a Missouri court consider in a divorce?

Getting divorced in Missouri can be an emotional endeavor. When a couple gets married, they will overwhelmingly want it to work out so they can stay together and maintain the family unit. In reality, a significant proportion of marriages fail. There are a variety of reasons for this. When deciding to divorce in Missouri, it is important to remember the basics of completing the process. Knowing the state laws for a divorce is part of that.

Missouri is a no-fault state. This means it is generally not required that fault be shown before a divorce can be granted. Even with its no-fault status, there are certain factors that the state can consider when they are granting a divorce if the circumstances warrant it. If, for example, one spouse committed adultery and it was not a relationship in which relationships with others had been agreed upon, this can be considered by the court. Another issue the court can consider is if one spouse can no longer tolerate the other spouse's behavior. If the couple has lived separately for a minimum of 24 months - or 12 months if both parties agree - prior to the divorce being filed, this will be assessed by the court as the case moves forward. With abandonment for six or more consecutive months prior to the filing, this can be an important factor in the case. If one of the spouses was taking part in a criminal activity, the court can take that into account.

How is cerebral palsy evaluated for SSD benefits?

People in Missouri who have cerebral palsy or have a loved one who has it will undoubtedly know how difficult it can make it to function each day. Fortunately, people with cerebral palsy might be able to get Social Security disability benefits. SSD benefits can help those with cerebral palsy receive medical treatment, have the required equipment, and even provide other assistance if they believe they are able to work with their condition. Understanding how the Social Security Administration assesses applicants who have cerebral palsy is one of the keys to getting benefits.

With cerebral palsy, abnormalities in the brain disrupt its ability to control movement, posture and muscle coordination. These generally show very early in a person's life. They might be delayed or prevented from reaching various developmental milestones. As the person ages, the problems they have will frequently become clearer to the naked eye.

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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