When You’re Religious, and You’re a Lawyer


Double Dipping: How To Keep Your Social Security Disability Benefits And Earn Income

Posted by on 9:25 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Double Dipping: How To Keep Your Social Security Disability Benefits And Earn Income

If you are earning Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or SSDI, it’s directly related to your inability to work at your job. Your benefit amount will depend on how much much money you have earned in your lifetime and several other factors, but the Social Security Administration (SSD) provides you with an excellent method of viewing your estimated benefits. While the monthly benefit will come in handy, you may be wondering how you can survive on this benefit amount alone. Your ability to add to the monthly benefit amount by earning income depends on several factors, so read on for more information. Substantial Gainful Activity The SSA refers to the work that you were doing before you became disabled as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and to continue to receive benefits you must not earn over a certain amount of money or do similar work. The SSA reasons, and rightly so, that if you can do the same or similar work and earn more than that certain amount of money, then you do not need to collect SSDI benefits. Presently, the maximum you can earn is $1,130 ($1,820 for the blind), but this amount can change from year to year since it’s based on the cost of living. It’s worth noting that you must abide by both of the SGA guidelines to avoid losing your benefits. Even if your income fell below the $1,130 a month limit, if your earnings came from a job where you were essentially doing the very same work that you claimed to be unable to do, (that which qualified you for benefits in the first place,) you could lose your benefits. If you are able to find employment that keeps your income under the limits, you may still earn that income if you don’t do SGA. For example, if your disability limits your ability to stand and walk, you may be able to find a more sedentary job, such as a desk job, that will comply with SGA. The Trial Work Period The SSA also has a program that allows you to make an unlimited amount of income for a limited amount of time. For a rolling nine-month period, where the months do not have to consecutive, you may earn any amount you like and still continue to be eligible for your regular monthly benefit amount. It should be noted that: You must report all income earned to the SSA, whether you exceed the SGA limit or not. You can only participate in the Trial Work Period for a five-year window. If you are experiencing problems getting your Social Security benefits approved, contact an attorney (such as Paul F Guthrie) as soon as possible. Remember, these benefits are yours; you have earned them, you deserve them and you need them, so get some professional legal help in getting...

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Hold That Lawsuit: How To Be Compensated For Your Personal Injury Without Suing

Posted by on 10:30 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hold That Lawsuit: How To Be Compensated For Your Personal Injury Without Suing

Taking a case to court is both time-consuming and expensive, but there are a few methods you can use to be compensated for your personal injury without having to actually file a lawsuit. To learn more, read on. Make a Demand While it sounds a little harsh, it is actually a well-respected and often-used legal procedure. The demand letter lets the at-fault party know all about your injury and lets them know that if you aren’t compensated, you will file suit. More than that, it lists your reasons behind your demand, allowing the other party to understand what they could be encountering if they were taken to court. The most valuable benefit of a good, convincing demand letter is the potential for a fair settlement offer as a result. Examples of good demand letters abound, but be sure to include the following: A summary of the accident and why you feel the other party is at fault. Witnesses and other evidence, such as accident reports and video footage. A summary of your medical treatments and the costs so far. Finally, the demand, which is the amount of money you are asking to settle the case out of court, right now. Be sure to make this figure a little higher to leave some room for negotiating. File a Claim If you’ve been injured at a place of business, be sure to take action as soon as possible with the store management. Most businesses do have insurance coverage for customer injuries, and you will likely need to fill out an accident report. Since courts cost money for both sides, the store may offer to not only pay for your medical expenses, but your pain and suffering as well. Workers’ Comp If you’ve been injured at work, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance will likely cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. If your injury is serious and permanent, you may be offered a lump sum settlement, which is normally only offered when it is unlikely that you will ever work again. You should understand, however, that to get compensation for your pain and suffering you may need to file a personal injury suit. You may not consider the need for a personal injury lawyer if you have no intention of actually filing suit, but these legal professionals can be invaluable when it comes to writing a compelling demand letter, or using their negotiation skills to get you top dollar for your injuries. It should be comforting to know that your attorney, like one from LeBaron & Jensen, P.C., will stand ready to file a lawsuit if that becomes necessary to get you the compensation that you need and...

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Learn What To Do If You Are Attacked By Your Neighbor’s Dog

Posted by on 8:48 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Learn What To Do If You Are Attacked By Your Neighbor’s Dog

Being attacked by a dog can be a very traumatic experience. When you are attacked by a neighbor’s dog, it is important to make sure that you properly handle the situation. Many people make the mistake of trusting that their neighbors will pay for the medical bills that are incurred from the injuries, but that is not always the case. The following guide walks you through the process you should follow in order to properly handle a dog attack. Go to the Doctor The first thing you need to do after being attacked by a dog is to go to a doctor. You need to have your injuries documented and may need to get a rabies shot, if the dog is not up to date on their rabies shot. The doctor will make sure that you do not have any major injuries and will give you stitches as needed. He or she will also create a report that annotates all of the injuries you incurred during the attack so that you can present them to your neighbor and a court if needed later on down the road. Get a Police Report Contact the police department to have an officer document the incident. He or she will get a statement from you, the owner of the dog, as well as any witnesses that saw the attack. These statements can be very important if you have to sue the dog owner to pay for your medical bills because it will establish what happened on the day of the event. Get a Prior History Report Contact the local animal control office to find out if the dog has a history of being violent. If there have been any other attacks reported, you can get a printout from the animal control office that you can then take with you to court to show that the dog has a history of attacking people. Contact a Lawyer Next, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Schey Piller Alspaugh & Wong Pc. Contact the lawyer to find out if there is anything else you need to do to prepare for a possible court case. He or she will give you recommendations for talking to the neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance company, if the neighbor has homeowners insurance, as well as help you know what to expect if the case does go to court. Contact Your Neighbor Finally, you need to contact your neighbor. Provide him or her with copies of your medical bills and give them an opportunity to pay for the bills. If he or she says that they are not going to pay for the bills because they do not feel their dog is at fault, take your case straight to court. Give your neighbor a reasonable amount of time to come up with the money to pay for your medical expenses. If he or she has not started to pay for the bills within a month or two, you should have your lawyer proceed with a lawsuit. There are some states that have a statute of limitation when it comes to how long you have to file a lawsuit for a dog attack. You want to be sure you file the lawsuit before the statute of limitation is reached and...

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Why You Should Work For An Uncontested Divorce

Posted by on 5:24 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why You Should Work For An Uncontested Divorce

Divorce is never free from stress, but if you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, choosing an uncontested divorce will take much of the pain away from the process. Approximately 95% of all American divorces are uncontested because that method makes it easier on everyone involved. If you and your spouse can cooperate, things will go more smoothly. More Privacy When you and your spouse sit down and negotiate your own divorce, most of the terms remain private. Unlike divorces that end up being fought in court, uncontested divorces allow you to file only your negotiation statements. As a result, you do not have to let the general public know many of the private financial and relationship details of your life together. What is private stays private, which can help you get along better after the divorce. When “outsiders” have access to your information, they may feel free to share their opinions and stir up hard feelings.  Less Legal Fees For many families, the basic cost of living consumes both paychecks. Simply dividing into two households is a serious financial strain. If you and your spouse end up fighting each other in court, the additional cost can be devastating. Uncontested divorce forms can eliminate most legal fees. You will not need a lawyer if you are able to calmly negotiate all aspects of your divorce. You can keep the money and apply it to your increased household expenses. Better for Children Children definitely benefit from uncontested divorces. As long as you both can agree to fair financial and visitation rights, the kids will be in a better position to adapt to the new situation. If they see that their parents still respect each other and can communicate without anger, they will feel less anxious and potentially avoid the problems many children of divorce face. Studies show that children of divorce often have more behavioral problems than their peers and experience more academic problems. A less contentious divorce should help them cope better or at least not exacerbate their issues.  If you have made the decision to divorce, choosing an uncontested legal action is often the best decision for everyone. Of course, you and your spouse will need to have an amicable relationship in order to make an uncontested divorce work; but if you can manage to cooperate, the dissolution of your marriage should be less expensive and painful than battling things out in...

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Planning For Your Estate? Here Are 3 Questions To Ponder

Posted by on 7:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Planning For Your Estate? Here Are 3 Questions To Ponder

Planning for the day when you are no longer here isn’t exactly at the top of anyone’s list. While you might not want to think about it, drafting a will now will end up saving a lot of problems when you are no longer here. However, it isn’t always easy to know what to put in your will or how to distribute your assets. To help make the process simpler, here are a few questions you can ask yourself. Will your children be treated differently or will all receive the same inheritance? While many people just end up leaving all of their children the same amount of money, that isn’t always the best thing to do. For example, if you have a child with special needs, they are going to need someone to help them out. Their level of care is going to be far different than your other children. Because of this, you might want to consider leaving a little more for them to make sure they get the medical treatment and care that they need to survive. Who will handle any business ventures you were invested in? If you had a bunch of different business ventures that you were invested in, you need to make sure that they are taken care of when you are gone. Whether it be that you leave them to someone else in the family or you turn them over to one of your staff members, you need to make sure that someone is going to be there to take care of them for you. Make sure it is thoroughly outlined in your will so as not to have a struggle over who is going to take over the business. How will children from previous marriages be dealt with? If you had children from a previous marriage, you want to make sure that they are taken care of as well. You can either set it up where you leave them a certain amount in a trust for when they are older or you can set it up where they get certain possessions of yours. Either way, you need to make sure that they are outlined in your will to make sure they are taken care of. By going through and asking yourself the questions above, you can make sure that you cover everything you need to in your will and nothing is left to chance. To learn more, contact a probate lawyer in your...

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Three Subjects To Discuss When Hiring A Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Posted by on 9:31 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Subjects To Discuss When Hiring A Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Going through a serious motor vehicle accident can be traumatic in a variety of ways, but it’s important that you’re able to think about the next steps that you should take as soon as you’re able. One of these important steps to consider pursuing is to hire a lawyer if you think that legal action is something you wish to consider. It’s beneficial to seek a few lawyer who specialize in motor vehicle accident cases and schedule meetings with them before you commit to hiring one. These meetings can help reveal the person who is best suited to handle your case. Here are three subjects that are important to discuss. Merits Of Your Case You might feel that your case is extremely solid, but without proper legal expertise, you might simply be feeling strongly about the case because it’s yours. One of the first points of business when you meet with the lawyer is to ask about the merits of the case. He or she will be able to assess what you’ve described and give you an honest answer as to whether legal action is worth pursuing or not. This conversation can also reveal the elements of your case that are particularly strong and the areas in which the case is weak. For the latter, look for each lawyer to provide some strategies for overcoming the case’s weak elements. Settlement Or Trial It’s common for some motor vehicle accident cases to conclude by the client accepting a settlement. Given this possibility, it’s smart to ask the attorney about the possibility of a settlement. Is it likely? How soon might it come? What would be the financial terms? Knowing the answers to these key questions is crucial to help you make an informed decision. It’s also beneficial to ask the lawyer whether it would be advisable for you to accept the settlement or hold out with the purpose of going to trial. Immediate Priorities Any skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer will be eager, if hired, to get working on some immediate priorities with you. As such, it’s useful to ask the attorney what these next steps might be. In many cases, you’ll be recommended to visit a doctor or other health professional for an evaluation that can be used in your case, as well as speak to one or more investigators to provide additional information about your accident. Hearing that the lawyer has a definitive plan about the immediate priorities that need to be addressed can help you feel confident in hiring him or her. To learn more, contact a law firm like Shaevitz Shaevitz &...

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Denied?! Understanding The VA’s Disability Service Connection

Posted by on 4:04 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Denied?! Understanding The VA’s Disability Service Connection

It’s not uncommon to hear about veterans being denied after applying for Veterans Affairs (VA) disability. This could be the result of systematic failures, but another, simpler issue is that veterans aren’t trained to work with the complex paperwork system that the VA employs—jokes about military bureaucracy aside. If you’ve been denied and have no idea how to make the claim better aside from doing the same thing with more words, take a look at the service connection label and what it means for claims and appeals. The Service-Connected Confusion Unfortunately, the VA needs more than a visible wound or complaints of pain to give compensation for your problems. VA compensation is only designed for injuries and conditions related to military service, and their requirements are designed to block more than just fraud. If your problem was caused before or after military service, the VA won’t give monetary compensation or a disability rating to you—but they will be more than willing to direct you to the proper organization. For compensation from the VA, your condition must be labeled as service-connected. This means that your condition can be linked to your military service in some way, and you’ll be more successful if your linking evidence is listed in your official military medical record. The most successful VA injury claims will have the exact cause listed in your medical record, but it’s understandable that not all problems occur in areas with staffed medical paperwork personnel. For the civilians out there working on a veteran relative’s claim, not all injury situations result in being carried off to a base or lifted by a helicopter. It could be weeks or months for some non-life threatening conditions that could lead to bigger problems throughout life. Either because of remote location or lack of transit, anything from a bullet wound to a broken leg may need to be dealt with until it heals or stabilizes enough to look relatively normal. Missing Paperwork Concerns If the medic didn’t see the exact incident, it’s up to the individual writing down the information to either take the word of the service-member or take the statement as an alleged cause. Still, as long as there’s some kind of complaint in the medical record, the claim is more likely to be accepted. The military is a hectic environment with many positions being changed rapidly, so lost paperwork isn’t uncommon. Veterans are encouraged to make copies of their medical records, but that suggestion means nothing if the medical record is lost before you have access to a copier or copy service. If you’re missing information or didn’t have the chance (or foresight) to make a complaint beforehand, you may need a legal professional on your side. A personal injury attorney can research your past career and get a deeper look at your condition. Even if you don’t have the proper paperwork, a reasonable connection argument can be made if you’re filing your claim as soon as you get out of the military. The longer you wait, the easier it is to pin your condition on something that happened after you got out of the military, but an attorney can still dig into the situation. Age of injury reports can help you build an argument for when your injury was caused, and your previous military contacts...

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Playing It Safe: How To Avoid Social Security Fraud

Posted by on 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Playing It Safe: How To Avoid Social Security Fraud

The SSA (Social Security Administration) has created a program that benefits people who have become unable to work at their job due to a medical condition. This government agency provides a monthly monetary benefit to those who qualify, through both having worked enough and having a qualified level of certain medical conditions. With a confusing and complicated application process, it’s easy to make mistakes and run afoul of the system, resulting in the potential to be charged with fraud. Read on to learn more about common situations that could cause you to come under scrutiny with the SSA. 1. Making false statements and claims about your medical condition to either medical personnel or on an application. It is not necessary to exaggerate your symptoms and doing so could get your claim denied once the SSA requests you undergo a medical exam by an SSA contracted doctor. 2. While you may have heard that the SSA is more likely to approve claims for people with very little education and/or job skills, don’t be tempted to understate your education levels. The SSA can and will verify educational levels. 3. Once you are approved, your income must stay below the stated limit ($1090.00 as of this time) to continue to receive benefits. Whether you have a job in the workplace or are self-employed, the SSA will check your income with the IRS, so ensure that you are not under-reporting. 4. The SSA calculates any back pay from your last day of work. You must provide an exact, accurate date to the SSA, since fudging the date to acquire a larger amount of back pay could backfire and cause your entire claim to be denied once the SSA verifies the date with your previous employer. 5. You must inform the SSA immediately if your martial status changes, since your new spouse’s income could affect your benefit amount. 6. If you have been convicted of fraud in connection with any government-run benefit program, such as food stamps, housing assistance, social security disability or insurance, you will not be able to get your claim approved. Using someones else’s social security number to procure benefits because your own brings up a fraud alert is another form of fraud. 7. Misrepresenting your living situation is a common form of fraud, sometimes unintentional. If you cohabitate with someone, you must report this to the SSA. 8. Doing work and getting paid in (unreported) cash could mean committing two types of fraud in this instance; doing work that you claimed you are unable to do and earning more than the allowed income. Being ignorant of the rules and regulations about Social Security benefits is no excuse. Each act of fraud you commit could garner up to $10,000.00 in fines and up to 5 years in prison. If you have questions contact your Social Security caseworker and speak to an attorney for more information on staying on the legal side of the SSA. To get in touch with a social security lawyer, click on this link http://toddeast.com/ or do an online...

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What Debts Are Dischargeable In Personal Bankruptcy?

Posted by on 6:32 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Debts Are Dischargeable In Personal Bankruptcy?

Maybe you’ve fallen on some tough times, and you’re considering filing for personal bankruptcy. While this can be a workable solution for discharging your debt and getting back on your feet, you’ll want to make sure that the debts causing you trouble will actually be discharged during this process. Medical Debt While the Affordable Care Act has slightly reduced the number of Americans with overwhelming medical debt, there are still around 64 million people in the U.S. with medical bills that they are struggling to pay. Rising health care costs may not be covered by insurance, or the deductibles may be so high that people with medical emergencies still find themselves in trouble financially. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, medical debts are considered unsecured, which means you had no collateral that backs up the debt. It’s also considered nonpriority debt, which means that your trustee who manages all your debts through the bankruptcy process will not rank them as vital to pay off. Even if you do pay down some of your medical bills through bankruptcy, the remainder will be discharged.  Credit Card Debt Credit card or consumer debt is also considered unsecured, and is generally discharged when you declare bankruptcy. You may have to make some payments toward the debt, depending on how your case is settled, but typically this type of debt is a very common reason to declare bankruptcy and regroup financially. Tax Debt Local and state governments, as well as the federal Internal Revenue Service, will want you to repay any tax debts that you have incurred. Tax debt is rarely completely discharged, but you can often reduce the amount owed by working with the government entity that you owe the tax to. The situations where you’d be able to discharge tax debt are complicated and would require a skilled bankruptcy attorney to assist you with. Child Support and Alimony If you owe this type of debt, filing bankruptcy will not discharge it. You will still owe the back payments that you’ve missed, and you’ll potentially still have your paycheck garnished to pay these debts.  Student Loan Debt It’s rare that the bankruptcy court will permit you to erase your student loan debt. In order to do so, you have to prove that paying the loans back would be an “undue hardship” — but almost none of the people who file for chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to show this. You can’t simply be unemployed; you have to present concrete proof that you are permanently unable to work and are having trouble maintaining a minimum standard of living. So plan on those student loans staying with you in the future. For more information about which debts can be discharged when you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney, such as Donald T Tesch, PS....

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2 Tips For Making Your Estate Plan Stronger

Posted by on 10:57 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Tips For Making Your Estate Plan Stronger

Getting a good estate plan is vital. Many people understand how important it is to meet with an attorney and get their affairs in order; however, even those who prepare the plan can still have family members contest the estate plan. Contesting an estate plan is expensive and emotionally hard on the family; additionally, you want to ensure that your wishes are honored after you pass away. This is why you should do everything you can to protect your plan from being contested. Here are a couple tips that could prevent your plan from being contested. 1. Disclose The Contents of The Plan To Your Family Before You Die One of the worst things you can do is have surprises in your estate plan. Instead, it is better if your family understands what the plan is going to say and so when the time comes they know what to expect. This doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be pleased with the contents of the will and the division of assets. But, if you discuss the estate plan while you are in sound mind and able communicate your wishes, your family will have a harder time proving that this isn’t want you wanted.  In addition, when you explain the plan before you pass away you give your family time to ask questions and discuss why you did what you did. This will make it easier on them so that they don’t have unanswered questions after your death. 2. Do It While You Are Young and Healthy Another major mistake people make is making changes to their plan when they are in their final days. One of the important factors that have to present to have an estate plan upheld is that you have to prove that the person was in sound mind and knew what they were doing. People who are on their deathbed generally have health problems that could cloud their judgment, or they make rash decisions that they haven’t thought through. Your family could argue that you didn’t know what you were doing when you made these changes. This is why it is better to do it when there is no question about your mental state and health. Naturally, as you age you will need to make changes to the plan as your situation and assets change. But by getting it done while you are young and healthy, your family won’t have to question if you were of a sound mind when you did it.  If you do choose to make changes as your health is declining, make sure that you have witnesses present who have no interest in the estate plan. These witnesses will be able to testify that you knew what you were doing in the case that the estate plan is contested. By doing these two things you can help ensure that your estate plan isn’t contested after you pass away....

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