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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Is your disability case under review?

If an accident or illness changed your life, you may be learning to adjust little by little. Your illness or injury prevents you from working, so you have to rise above your condition the best way you can and find ways to make your days meaningful. Still, you may spend much of your time simply dealing with medical issues.

That is why you may feel shocked to learn that the Social Security Administration is reviewing your case to see if you are stillĀ eligible for disability benefits. If you have recently received a letter saying that the SSA is re-evaluating your case, you may wonder if you should be concerned about losing your benefits.

Property division and individual bank accounts can be complex

When couples in Missouri get married, they might want to protect their property in case the marriage ends in divorce. A strategy some will implement to achieve this is to have separate property in their own names. Bank accounts, automobiles and homes are examples. For those who are under the impression that this is a failsafe method of keeping items out of the divorce and shielding them from property division, this can be a mistake. There is always nuance in a divorce and the law will frequently categorize these issues differently than people think. When getting a divorce or simply considering one, it is important to understand how property will be divided regardless of whose name is attached to it.

According to a survey from Bank of America, it is increasingly common for younger couples to ignore the longtime practice of couples having joint bank accounts. 28% of millennials were found to have taken this step by maintaining separate financial profiles. This is around twice the number of baby boomers and Generation X people who have done the same. A reason for this is believed to be the ease with which money can be transferred with various apps. Another consideration is how complicated property division can be if there is a divorce and this is a way to avoid that.

Can you get disability benefits for somatic symptom disorders?

Some Missouri residents are suffering from a form of mental illness. For some, their condition can be treated with therapy and medication and they can work and function in society with relatively few concerns. Others, however, have symptoms so severe that they impact every part of their life. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to work. Medical treatment is needed to help them. For those who are in this situation, Social Security Disability benefits for mental conditions are a critical part of daily function and making ends meet.

While many mental disorders are well-known, such as bipolar, depression and schizophrenia, one disorder that is not often mentioned is somatic symptom and related disorders. Understanding this is one of the foundational aspects to getting disability benefits if the person is suffering from mental illness that has yet to be accurately diagnosed or properly categorized. When a person is suffering from a somatic symptom disorder or something similar, that person will experience physical symptoms or deficits that were not created on their own. They are legitimate and there is no explanation based on other medical conditions and their symptoms.

Understanding how the new tax laws impact people after divorce

When people in Missouri are thinking about a divorce or have already gotten a divorce, there are still lingering issues that must be considered. This is especially true when children are part of the process. Since the tax laws have changed and it impacts deductions and divorced parents, it is important to understand what it means when seeking deductions. The facts of any given situation will largely dictate how these issues are handled.

When a couple is separated or divorced, the designation of a parent as the primary custodian is critical to tax considerations. If a parent has primary custody, that parent is legally allowed to say that the child is their dependent. In cases in which there is an even split for custody, but there is no written agreement saying who is claiming the child on their taxes, it must be decided which parent will make the claim and derive the tax benefits. Some parents decide to have 50-50 custody and alternate the years they will get tax benefits.

What are the Symptoms and Complications of Schizophrenia?

In the past, people in Missouri and across the nation who were suffering from mental illness were either completely unaware that they had a diagnosable and treatable problem or kept it hidden due to the stigma attached to it. However, as time has passed and society has grown more accustomed to the issue with a greater willingness to discuss it, there an increased acceptance and freedom to admit the problem and take steps to treat it.

One type of mental disorder that can cause many problems is schizophrenia. For some, it gets so severe that they cannot work. Understanding when it is the problem and filing for disability benefits first requires a diagnosis and knowing the complications. Having legal assistance from a law firm that helps those with mental illness get Social Security disability is an integral part of a successful case.

What are the different kinds of child custody in Missouri?

One of the biggest concerns in a Missouri divorce is how it impacts children. A dispute between the parents as to how custody will be handled can cause problems in myriad ways. The parents will see their relationship worsen and the child can have a series of negative side effects from the constant disagreement. As a couple moves forward with the end of a marriage, it is important to keep the children in mind and to understand the different kinds of custody options that are available. To achieve a desirable outcome for the parents and a healthy resolution for the children, having legal advice is key.

In a divorce, there can be joint legal custody, joint physical custody and third-party custody. With joint legal custody, the parents will equally share the rights to make decisions on behalf of the child. The responsibility and authority to oversee the child's health, education and welfare will be handled by both. The parents will be obligated to confer when making decisions regarding the child.

A basic understanding of Social Security disability eligiblity

If you can't work because of an injury or a medical condition, what is going to happen to your family? How will you pay your bills, make ends meet and provide for your Missouri family? These are all important concerns that you may have while you are unable to return to your job. For some people with limitations expected to last permanently or at least 12 months, it may be possible seek Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration offers benefits to certain individuals who have qualifying medical conditions. Even if you have a serious sickness or grave injury, it does not necessarily mean that you will qualify. There are strict eligibility requirements, and you will find it beneficial to learn more about what these are before you move forward with your claim.

Will not following prescribed treatment lead to a denied claim?

Missourians who are seeking Social Security disability benefits should be aware of the federal requirements that are part of the process. This goes beyond being disabled and meeting the basic criteria to be approved for benefits. It includes adhering to the prescribed treatment to try and improve the situation so the person can do what is necessary to get back to full fitness and have the chance to work. For those who do not follow the prescribed treatment, it is important to understand the Social Security Administration's rules and how it will impact the case.

When a medical professional gives a prescribed treatment, the person must adhere to it if it is expected to improve his or her condition sufficiently so they can get back to work. If the person fails to follow the prescribed treatment and does not have a good reason for doing so, the SSA can decide that the applicant is not disabled. If he or she was getting benefits when the failure to adhere to the prescribed treatment took place, the benefits can stop.

Factoring in insurance is critical when getting a divorce

When Missouri couples decide to get a divorce, there are many obvious issues that will come to the forefront. That includes spousal support (also referred to as alimony), child support, child custody and property division. However, the emotional stress that accompanies the end of a marriage does not stop there. It is often only when the process is fully underway or near its conclusion that other factors that can present personal and financial challenges. Insurance is a consideration that is frequently left in the background, but must be factored in during a divorce. As with any divorce, it is wise to have legal advice before, during and after.

It is common for one spouse to have a job that provides health insurance coverage to the entire family. Once the divorce is completed, that could end. For those who are faced with a situation in which they are about to lose healthcare coverage because of a divorce, COBRA must be understood. This is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It was put in place more than three decades ago to assist people who did not earn sufficient income post-divorce to pay for health coverage or did not have a job that had health coverage as a benefit. The person can remain on the former spouse's insurance plan for three years. Although it must be paid for, it is a bridge to find alternatives for coverage like the Affordable Care Act.

Military divorce and a deploying parent delegating visitation

Divorce is hard on any family, but when one of the family members is in the military and might need to deploy at a moment's notice, it is even more complicated. With the number of military members in or from Missouri, it is important to understand how certain factors related to a military divorce are handled once a parent deploys. Visitation and keeping the deploying parent and that parent's family involved with the child is one such issue and it can be the foundation for a substantial dispute. Having legal assistance with these complex matters requires a law firm experienced in representing service members and their spouses.

When a deploying parent requests his or her visitation rights be delegated to another person, it is imperative to understand how the law handles such a circumstance. This can be done through a motion from the parent who is deploying or a family member with the consent of the deploying parent. The court has the right to delegate the visitation rights or part of those rights to a family member who has close and substantial ties to the child or children while the parent is deployed. This is contingent on the child's best interests.

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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