For most of us, the idea of someone – and especially a relative – taking advantage of the elderly is unthinkable. The tragic truth is that elder abuse is widespread, and the majority of abusers are family members, according to Aging.com.

stockfresh_1263647_old-woman-hands_sizeS-300x200One all-too-common type of elder abuse comes in the form of financial exploitation. A family member, friend, or caregiver may take advantage of an older adult’s finances for their own gain. It may be up to you to put a stop to it.

Financial abuse of the elderly takes many varied forms, and often includes the forging of signatures, taking money or property, fraud or scams, and coercion or deception. Elderly individuals are often forced to relinquish ownership through wills, deeds, or powers of attorney through threats, intimidation, or fraud at the hands of an abuser who is close to them.

stockfresh_1513518_social-security-benefits_sizeS-300x199The Social Security Administration keeps track of the medical status of some of its beneficiaries with what is called a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).  CDRs take place for beneficiaries of both Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  They are not the same as the financial review that people receiving SSI benefits undergo each year to verify their eligibility. This article will explain the frequency of CDRs, how they are carried out, and what to do in the wake of discontinuation of your benefits.

Typical CDR Cycles

If you are a Social Security Disability beneficiary under the age of fifty or one of those deemed likely to recover in a relatively short period of time (more than 12 months but likely in a few years), the SSA typically sets the first CDR for three years, or less, after benefits begin.  In cases where recovery is expected to take a long time or continue permanently, the SSA typically sets CDR dates at five to seven years from the initial determination of disability.  [Note:  These are not hard and fast timelines! In some cases, the SSA might perform a CDR one or two years from the initial finding of disability, and in very rare cases, such as those where the claimant has a permanent injury, they might perform a CDR beyond seven years from the initial review.]  Continue Reading

On December 18, a federal mandate requiring the installation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on all commercial trucks went into effect.  Still, other proposed regulations designed to improve highway safety have been rolled back or are on hold.

According to a recent story on NPR, the Obama-era mandate stockfresh_314277_rearview-car-driving-mirror-overtaking-big-truck_sizeS-300x200was one of several proposed regulations that were designed to make the roads safer by preventing drivers from operating their vehicles while fatigued. The ELD mandate, specifically, requires all trucks to have ELDs, which would replace the easily altered paper logbooks that many drivers still use to track the hours they spend on the road and the hours that they spend at rest.

Some truck drivers complain that the new devices are prohibitively expensive (the devices cost about $500) and that they do not take into account the actual conditions and delays that drivers experience while on the road.

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If you are shopping for a Christmas gift for a child this holiday season, remember that safety should be a top priority. While toys may appear to be safe, some are not properly labeled or tested and may pose serious health risks.

stockfresh_5929984_portrait-of-little-african-american-little-girl-sitting-on-the-f_sizeS-300x200Fortunately, watchdog groups like the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have taken the time to research the most popular toys this year. They recently released their “Trouble in Toyland” report, warning consumers about potentially dangerous toys and other gifts for kids.

Over the past three decades, U.S. PIRG reports have led to more than 150 recalls of potentially dangerous toys, and its public awareness campaigns have helped lawmakers and consumers alike realize the dangers of these defective products. For 2017, the group’s attention focused on the newest and biggest threats that these products pose to children today, including: Continue Reading

 

Workplace injuries can be devastating for anyone, regardless of gender. But a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while women have historically received fewer workplace injuries than men, the types of on-the-job injuries can be quite different for females.

stockfresh_4489991_work-accident_sizeS-300x208According to the recently released data, men accounted for 4,836 workplace fatalities in 2015. By contrast, 344 women died on the job during the same period. The leading cause of job-related deaths for both genders is the same – transportation accidents that occur by road, air, water or railway.

Then the numbers begin to diverge, where the second most common cause of workplace deaths death for women is by violence and other injuries by persons or animals. By contrast, the second leading cause for men are caused by slip, trip, and fall mishaps.

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Even in our great nation, military service is not always as lauded as it should be and Servicemembers and Veterans are not always as sought after as employees as they should be.  Fortunately, the United States Congress realized that we do not all act as we should towards these heroes and Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).  This brief article will focus on the anti-discrimination provisions of USERRA.

stockfresh_936092_military-uniform-soldier-row_sizeS-300x200It is important to realize that USERRA is a floor and not a ceiling.  In other words, it does not supersede any laws, regulations, or agreements that increase protections based on service in the uniformed services but it supersedes all those which reduce, limit or eliminate a right or benefit.[1]  Continue Reading

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for providing benefits to people who are disabled and either temporarily (more than 12 months) or permanently unable to work.  In order to determine that people are actually unable to work the SSA keeps track of a beneficiary’s medical condition and financial status.  stockfresh_5487160_person-hand-with-pen-filling-social-security-disability-form_sizeS-300x200If you are receiving payments from either the Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) program or the Supplement Security Income (SSI) program, the SSA will require that you submit proof of income information on an annual basis to ensure that your income does not exceed a certain limit.  This limit is called the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level.  This post will explain how the Social Security Administration defines SGA for you as one of its beneficiaries and the limits on income that the SSA requires in order to continue providing benefits.

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When you have been in a car wreck or any other type of accident, everything that happens after can be confusing or scary.  One of the questions we regularly ask potential clients is what type of diagnostic tests they have had.  A lot of times people are not sure which tests they have had, and if they do know which tests, they might not know the reasons for the tests.stockfresh_92580_doctor-with-patient-having-a-computerized-axial-tomography-cat_sizeS-300x200

Three Tests That Might Be Ordered For You

There are three typical tests that people have when they are hurt.  The first test almost any emergency room will run is an X-ray. X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic waves.  While used in many ways in the medical field, including treatment of cancer, the most common way is for taking pictures of bones to look for fractures. The radiation produced can penetrate soft tissue, such as skin, fat, and muscle but does not penetrate bone, resulting in shadowy black and white photos of those bones.  While radiation can help cure cancer, it is also classified as a carcinogen itself, but it is widely accepted in the medical community that the benefits of x-rays far out weight the risks. X-rays would be best used to diagnose broken bones suffered in an accident.

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In recent years, the discussion surrounding organized sports and their inherent risks has reached new levels of intensity, especially when it comes to the topic of concussions and brain injuries.

Some would argue that concussions are no more prevalent today than they were 10 or 20 years ago, and our understanding and education has simply brought the issue to the forefront. Indeed, awareness campaigns, major featureshutterstock_408266332-300x200 films like Concussion, starring Will Smith, and the number of high-profile athletes retiring due to concussion concerns have made parents of school-aged children pause when considering allowing their children to play organized sports for club leagues or schools.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the parents, and they may find it encouraging that some doctors believe that the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are greater than those of playing sports, and encouraging your children to participate in activities like sports are generally beneficial.

Schools’ Duty to Protect the Health of Student-Athletes

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In 2013, South Carolina adopted new mediation regulations for South Carolina workers’ compensation cases. Before 2013, mediations would occur in cases only if both the Claimant (Injured Worker) and the Defendants (Employer/ Insurance Carrier) agree to mediate the claim. stockfresh_6813342_mediation-word-in-wood-type_sizeS-300x200With these regulations, it is important for the injured worker to have some idea of what kinds of cases are required to be mediated, what the mediation process is and what it is not, and who the people are involved in the mediation.

Do All Workers Comp Cases Go Through Mediation?

First, only some South Carolina Workers’ Compensation cases are required to mediation. The most common type of case that must be mediated is when I am arguing that my client is permanently and totally disabled as a result of his or her injury. Other cases including occupational disease cases, contested death claims, and cases involving the reduction of a third-party lien must also be mediated. Additionally, it is possible that my client’s claim is mediated because I feel, and my opposing counsel agrees, that a voluntary mediation would be beneficial. This typically involves complex types of cases.

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