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To apply for these benefits, you should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide your information. Here is the link: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-her

You must apply by May 5, 2020, even if you have not received your stimulus check. From the Social Security Administration:

“People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide their information. SSI recipients who have dependent children and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to act by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly.”

stockfresh_10257434_threat-of-coronavirus-for-family_sizeM-300x200For more information, please click here: https://blog.ssa.gov/supplemental-security-income-recipients-act-now-go-to-irs-gov-a-message-from-social-security-commissioner-andrew-saul/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdeliver DEADLINE Is May 5.

A Reminder About The $1,200 Economic Impact Payments

People who receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits or Social Security Retirement Benefits are eligible to receive $1,200.00 as long as their total adjusted gross income under a certain limit. If all the income you have is your Social Security disability or retirement benefit, you do not need to worry about the other qualifications.

If you have other investment income, you should know that you are still eligible for payments if your adjusted gross income is $75,000.00 or less for Continue Reading

If you’ve received a denial from the Social Security Administration after attending a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), you can appeal the decision to the Social Security Appeals Council. You have 60 days from the date you receive the denial to ask the Appeals Council to review the ALJ’s decision. The appeals council will look at your claim, the hearing decision, and any additional evidence submitted with your appeal.

There are several ways you can request the Appeals Council to review your case. The first is available through the Social Security Administration website, at https://secure.ssa.gov/iApplNMD/oao. Follow the directions on the website to submit your appeal. Of course, if you are confused and need guidance, you should seek the assistance and counsel of an experienced social security disability attorney like those at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP.

stockfresh_3784774_male-judge-writing-on-paper_sizeM-300x200The second way you can request a review of the ALJ’s decision is by mailing in a Form HA-520 to the Appeals Council at the following address:

Appeals Council, SSA/OARO

5107 Leesburg Pike

Falls Church, VA 22041-3255

If you need more time to submit additional evidence or to make a more thorough legal argument, you must ask for it within the 60-day deadline described above. Social Security Disability rules can be confusing, but an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can examine your case and help identify any legal issues that may help the Appeals Council identify areas where the ALJ made a mistake in denying your claim. Continue Reading

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck or because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, rather than to “tough it out” and endure the pain in hopes it will go away.  If you’re lucky, the pain will go away, and you can go on with your life.  However, if you’re injured and allow a significant amount of time to pass between the car wreck and your first medical treatment, this will make it difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident.

stockfresh_9952868_patient-showing-sore-shoulder-to-doctor-at-clinic_sizeM-300x197Likewise, if you’ve been injured and a doctor prescribes treatment or refers you to a specialist for testing or treatment, it is important to follow the doctor’s orders.  If you don’t, the defendant can argue that you are aggravating your injuries, and it will be more difficult to receive payment from the negligent party for those injuries.  In the North Carolina case Holtman v. Reese, 119 N.C. App. 747, 751 (1995), the plaintiff failed to follow the doctor’s orders to avoid high impact activities like snow skiing and water skiing.  Because the plaintiff failed to follow his doctor’s orders, the court determined that the “avoidable consequence doctrine allows the jury to relieve the defendant of responsibility for the consequences of an injury to the extent that it finds that the plaintiff acted unreasonably and thereby enhanced his or her damages.”  In other words, if a doctor tells you to stop putting weight on your sprained left ankle for 6 weeks and you fracture your left ankle two weeks later at the grocery store because you failed to listen to your doctor, the defendant is not going to pay for any treatment for your fractured ankle because you could have avoided the additional injury if you followed your doctor’s advice.

Doctors Usually Document Compliance

When your attorney presents the extent of your injuries to a jury, they rely on the medical records and notes created by your doctors. Doctors are very likely to document when you fail to follow their advice because they need to track how their treatment affects your improvement.  The defendant in your case will undoubtedly use these records to show that they are not responsible for the injuries that you could have avoided if you had listened to your doctor. Continue Reading

Who is Eligible?

Most people who receive Social Security Benefits will be eligible to receive the $1,200.00 Economic Impact Payment as part of the CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT. That means that persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDIB), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and even people receiving Social Security Retirement benefits may be eligible to receive a direct deposit or check from the United States Treasury Department.

Coronavirus-300x169Economic Impact Payments will be made through the Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov). Do not contact the Social Security Administration with questions about economic impact payments. The Social Security Administration has enough extra work trying to process claims, take applications, etc., online and by telephone, without allowing persons to come into the field offices, which are all closed to the public because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits or Social Security Retirement Benefits will be eligible to receive $1,200.00 as long as their total adjusted gross income under a certain limit. If all the income you have is your Social Security disability or retirement benefit, you do not need to worry about the other qualifications.

If you have other investment income, you should know that you are still eligible for payments if your adjusted gross income is $75,000.00 or less for individuals or $150,000.00 or less for married couples filing joint returns. The payments will be reduced from $1,200.00 by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000.00/$150,000.00 limits. Once an individual’s adjusted gross income exceeds $99,000.00, or a married couple’s adjusted gross income exceeds $198,000.00, they will not be eligible for any Economic Impact Payment.

People who receive Supplemental Security Income will be eligible for the full $1,200.00 payment.

How Do You Receive Your Payment?

There has been a lot of confusion about how the IRS will get your payment to you. Some of the information initially said that you must file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 in order to receive the Economic Impact Statements. For a few days, even the IRS was saying that a “simple tax return” would be required.

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Whiplash is a term we all have heard, but what exactly does it mean?

Whiplash is a neck injury that results from your head moving backward and then forward very fast, much like the action of the cracking of a “whip.” Whiplash is very common with a rear-end car accident. Sometimes doctors will also refer to a whiplash injury as a neck sprain or strain.

Symptoms many times include neck pain, shoulder/upper back/arm pain, loss of range of motion in your neck (meaning you can’t turn your head as far as you could before), headaches (typically starting at the base of the head) and tingling in the arms. More rare symptoms include blurred vision, ringing in the ears, irritability, sleeplessness, and memory problems.stockfresh_5272973_x-ray-image-of-neck_sizeS-219x300

If you think you might have whiplash injury or any other injury because of a car wreck, it is best to go to a doctor or hospital immediately and be examined. A big mistake many injured people make is not seeing a doctor if they are in pain. If you are in pain and do not go to a doctor, the insurance company will not believe you are in pain. The attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson are experienced in handling all types of car accident injuries, including whiplash.

When you go to the doctor because of your whiplash injury, your exam typically will include answering a series of questions regarding your symptoms and a physical exam, including the doctor touching your neck to check for swelling, tightness, and range of motion. Sometime X-rays will be taken to rule out any fractures.  Be sure to give your doctor all the information you have about your injury and symptoms, and if you don’t remember something, just say that you don’t remember.

Whiplash is often initially treated with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, pain medication, or muscle relaxers, ice or heat, and rest. If the pain is not resolved, your medical provider might recommend chiropractic care, massage, home exercises, or even physical therapy. Be sure to follow all your doctor’s advice and keep all your appointments. By missing doctor’s appointments, you are telling the doctor, and the insurance company that you don’t hurt and your injury is not important. Continue Reading

Many larger employers may have Short Term and Long Term Disability benefits available if you can’t work. These are usually tied in with your rights under FMLA and Americans with Disability Act protection.  This is an important benefit if you have a prolonged non-work related medical condition, or if you are hurt at work, and the claim is denied by workers’ compensation.

stockfresh_4489991_work-accident_sizeS-300x208Short Term Disability benefits usually last between three and six months. Usually, you can’t collect Short Term Disability benefits if you are receiving workers’ compensation. People expect that you usually can’t “double-dip,” which means you won’t receive both a full comp check and a Long Term Disability benefit.  Therefore, Long Term Disability benefits typically, but not always, will be reduced by your workers’ compensation benefit.  However, it may be advisable to apply for LTD anyway. In some cases, you may only be entitled to a small monthly benefit in addition to workers’ compensation, sometimes more if you have paid for extra LTD coverage.  Your LTD may also provide additional benefits when you settle your workers’ compensation case. Keep in mind that usually, your employer won’t encourage you to apply for LTD while you are on worker’s compensation. Continue Reading

Many questions have arisen since the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease among visitors to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair held at the NC Agriculture Center in Buncombe County. Some questions surrounding the outbreak are related to the health risks associated with the disease, and other questions concern legal issues. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported there were 97 confirmed cases and one death associated with the outbreak at the fair as of October 1 and officials continue the investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak.  The outbreak legionnaires1-300x300has affected people in 16 North Carolina counties and 6 cases have been reported in South Carolina.  The highest number of cases have reported in Buncombe and Henderson counties.

I remember when Legionnaires’ disease first hit the news in 1976 when a large group of American Legion members staying in a hotel in Philadelphia contracted a mysterious disease. Over 180 persons contracted the condition, and 29 died. Ultimately, it was diagnosed as a type of pneumonia that was spread by contaminated water vapor in the hotel HVAC system. Dubbed “Legionnaire’s Disease,”  the illness occurs with some regularity.  It is not spread by person to person contact; instead the bacteria thrives in warm water and is spread by breathing in aerosolized water. The bacteria thrives at 95 degrees F and can be found in hot water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air conditioning systems, and evaporative coolers, among other places.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include chills, cough, fever, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and vomiting. Persons experiencing those symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately and talk to them about Legionnaire’s disease. Urine testing can confirm the presence of legionella, the bacteria known to cause the diseases. Symptoms typically appear within 2-14 days after fair attendance, and the condition is typically treated with antibiotics.

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Tragically, there are work-related deaths in NC.  What if your husband or wife dies in a work accident or from an occupational disease?  In the sad event, an employee dies from injuries sustained at work, there are rules which govern the compensability for the dependents/beneficiaries of the deceased.  The State does have provisions for widows and widowers or other dependents of the person killed at work.stockfresh_8850471_woman-with-lily-flowers-and-coffin-at-funeral_sizeM-300x200

A death claim is different from the claim the injured worker had while he or she was alive.  The death claim is brought in the name of the person(s) entitled to benefits.

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Many times, a Veteran’s service-connected condition leads to a new disability or illness.  A classic example of this is when a Veteran’s service-connected left knee condition leads to later problems with the Veterans left hip or right knee.  When a new condition was caused by or aggravated by a service-connected condition, that new condition can be service-connected by way of secondary service connection.stockfresh_7705090_vet-tiled-letters-concept-and-theme_sizeM-300x218

38 C.F.R. § 3.310(a) states that a “disability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected.”  This includes conditions in which there is an intermediary step in the process.  For example, it is easy to understand that a Veteran who has service-connected hypertension my, later on, develop heart trouble or headaches, due to the increased blood pressure.  Continue Reading

38 C.F.R. pt. 4 (§§ 4.1 – 4.150) contains the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities.  This is the law that the VA applies the facts of a specific Veteran’s claim for disability compensation to in order to rate that Veterans condition.  For example, let us say a Veteran submits a claim for a mental health condition. After assisting the Veteran with developing his or her claim, the VA determines that this condition is service-connected and that the Veteran suffers from:

  • mild memory loss,
  • chronic sleep impairment, and
  • occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency due to anxiety.

Based on these symptoms, the VA may assign a rating of thirty stockfresh_4360615_soldier-having-counselling-session_sizeS-300x200percent (30%).  This is because 38 C.F.R. § 4.130 (Mental Disorders) list these symptoms as justifying such a rating.  A problem arises when a Veteran files for a condition that is not listed in the rating schedule.

Suppose a Veteran of the Persian Gulf Wars filed for a number of claims, including: Continue Reading

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