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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Are you at risk for a work-related illness?

You may know that you have a right to seek workers' compensation benefits after a work accident, but you may not know you have this same right if you are sick because of your work. Sick workers are entitled to financial benefits if toxic exposure or the environment of their job led to illness. If you are sick because of your job, you have options. 

There are various factors that can lead to the development of an occupational illness. In fact, Missouri workers in all types of jobs and industries could face a risk for a work-related sickness. Many ill workers who need support find it practical to seek help as they walk though the insurance claims process.

Man with serious back injury repeatedly denied for SSD benefits

Missourians who are seeking disability benefits for injury should, of course, focus on properly filling out the application and doing what is necessary to meet the federal requirements for an approval. It is also wise for those who are applying or have already been approved or denied for benefits to pay attention to stories of others who have sought SSD benefits and had issues with their case. This applies not just to Missouri but to states across the nation.

A Utah man who has sought SSD benefits because of a back injury and has been repeatedly denied went to the local media for assistance. According to him, he would like to get back to work but has been informed by his doctors that he is unable to. At one point, the state itself determined that he could not work. For 17 years, he has had the back issues and needed surgery. After the problems started, they gradually worsened to the point where he could not stand for more than 15 minutes at most. He had worked as a welder, but the back problems made it necessary for him to quit.

Can a final decision or determination for SSD be reopened?

When a Missourian seeks benefits through Social Security disability and there is a denied claim that has become finalized, there might be a belief that the case is concluded and there is nothing more that can be done. However, even when the decision, revised decision, determination or revised determination is final, there is the chance that the Social Security Administration can reopen it and revise it. Understanding when this can take place is the first step for a person who is seeking SSD benefits to have the case reopened for a potentially better result.

The case can be reopened and revised by numerous entities including an Administrative Law Judge, the Appeals Council, the field office for Social Security or the reviewing office. There are time limitations and conditions that must be met for this to happen. The decision to reopen the case can be made by the SSA after it has gotten a request in writing from the applicant or others who are part of the case. Any decision with reopening or not reopening cannot be appealed.

What if there is a dispute over child relocation in Missouri?

For Missouri couples who are getting a divorce, there is a litany of issues that must be dealt with. Even when the case has been settled and the factors in dispute have seemingly been addressed, that does not mean the peace will last forever. This is especially true when there are children involved. In some instances, the custodial parent will want to relocate with the child. Even in cases where there is a relatively amicable parting of the ways, relocation can cause problems that turn the relationship contentious if not outright hostile. Understanding how the law of the state deals with relocation is imperative for both sides.

Relocation refers to a change in the child's principal residence for at least 90 days. It does not mean a temporary change of residence. When there is a proposed relocation, the noncustodial parent must be informed in writing. It must be provided at least 60 days before the move. The notice must have the following: the new residence with its address if it is known - if it is not known, the city must be given, the new home telephone number, when the move is intended to take place, the reasons for the move and a proposal for custody and visitation to be revised after the move.

What are earnings requirements for Social Security disability?

Missourians who are injured, ill or have a condition and find themselves unable to work will want to think about applying for Social Security disability benefits. If there are concerns about whether the application will be approved or not, it is imperative to understand the various rules that dictate a claim and whether the person meets the federal requirements for qualifying SSD benefits for injury. One of the foundational areas of SSD benefits is the earnings requirement for disability benefits. It is vital to meet the basic criteria before anything else.

To receive disability benefits, there are two earnings tests that the SSD applicant must meet. This includes undergoing a recent work test based on the person's age when he or she became disabled; and a duration of work test, which is used to prove that the person worked for sufficient time. With the recent work test, the year is divided into quarters and it is linked to the worker's age. Quarter one is from January through March; quarter two is from April through June; quarter three is from July through September and quarter four is from October through December.

Can my SSD application be approved via fast-track?

Much has been said about people in Missouri and across the nation who have endured extensive waiting periods for a decision on the application for Social Security disability benefits. For many, their medical issues and illnesses are so severe that they need an approval quickly to provide them with assistance as they try to get well. While some will not be eligible to be part of the "fast-track" process, many can take part and get their decision faster than they otherwise would. A law firm that understands all areas of disability can help with such a circumstance.

The Social Security Administration has a fast-track process that gives benefits to those who have a medical condition or conditions that are of sufficient severity that there will be limited or no debate of whether they meet the requirements to get disability. There are two processes that are used under fast-track: Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) and Compassionate Allowances (CAL). With these, the SSA uses technology to expedite the decisions due to the severe disabilities.

How much of my income is paid in support in a military divorce?

Since there are many members of the military in Missouri, it is not unusual that some of their marriages end in divorce. For those who serve, there are different rules for how a military divorce is handled. Many will have concerns regarding how much of their income they will be ordered to pay the former spouse in alimony and child support. Knowing the basics of how the amounts are determined is imperative when a military member is ending a marriage. According to the Consumer Credit Protection Act, there is a limit to what can be deducted from a person's earnings to pay alimony or child support. It ranges between 50 percent and 65 percent of their disposable earnings. The amount will vary based on the circumstances of each case.

Should the paying spouse show proof that he or she provides more than half the support for dependents apart from the ones for whom there will be a deduction and there are no payments in arrears, 50 percent is the most that can be deducted. For those who have payments in arrears, the maximum will be 55 percent.

Do multiple impairments affect my application for SSD benefits?

Missourians who are suffering from different types of impairments might think that it is simple logic that the Social Security Administration will assess their application for Social Security disability based on their disabilities and not base it on other factors. However, the federal regulations can be somewhat complex and the rules confusing. For example, those with multiple impairments should know how the SSA goes about assessing these issues when determining whether to award SSD benefits or not. Understanding how unrelated severe impairments, concurrent impairments and their combined effect will influence the case is an important part of a case.

Should the applicant be suffering from unrelated severe impairments, the SSA will not combine them so the 12-month duration requirement is met. A person who has a severe impairment or more than one severe impairment and then has another severe impairment that is not related to the previous ones, but none will meet the 12-month requirements will find that the SSA will not declare the person disabled regardless of the issues reaching a combination of 12 months.

What does an employer have to do after a workplace accident?

Most Missouri employers have the obligation to protect their workers by having a specific type of insurance for workers' compensation. The point of this is to provide help and support for individuals who may suffer injuries in workplace accidents or become ill due to occupational exposure. It may also allow grieving family members to secure death benefits if a person dies in a work accident.

In many cases, there are steep penalties for employers that do not have this type of insurance coverage. However, there are other requirements for employers, specifically in the event of a work accident. It can be helpful for you to understand what to expect from your employer in case you are hurt at work.

Understanding when Social Security disability can end for adults

Missourians who have an injury or medical condition that prevents them from working will likely want to seek Social Security disability benefits. For those who are seeking benefits because of an inability to work, it is not a simple matter of being approved for benefits and keeping them forever. The idea of disability benefits is to assist those who need it, so they can go through rehabilitation, therapy and other treatments. It is hoped that if these steps are taken, eventually the recipient will no longer need these benefits. In some cases, there is a dispute as to whether the benefits should continue or not. Therefore, it is important to known when disability ends.

For adults who are getting disability benefits, these benefits will stop in the following circumstances: if the person's impairment has shown enough improvement to allow the person to get back to work; if the impairment no longer meets or equals a listing on the Listing of Impairments; and the person is not disabled.

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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