Yearly Archives: 2009

Backlogs In Social Security Disability

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The backlog of applications for SSD at the initial application stage certainly is increasing with some of it caused by the slump of the economy. The SSA projects that by 2011 another 500,000 claims will be initiated due in part to the ongoing recession. Across the country, there has been an increase in new claims through May 2009 of almost 13%, compared to this same time in 2008. A much higher pending workload of these claims (more than a 26% increase) is leading to much longer processing times. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have the assistance of an attorney to stay on top of a claim and to be sure it’s filed correctly.

This article was written by Chip Permar

SSD, SSI Benefits and Same Sex Marriages

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While gay marriages may be recognized in some states, the Social Security Administration, as a Federal office, does not give them validity. The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits any acknowledgement. As such, benefits are not distributed to a spouse if there is a same-sex marriage. As a result, couples will need to consider if a union is in their best financial interest.

This article was written by Chip Permar

Texting & Driving Can Kill You

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Five states in our country now outlaw the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. There are 21 states that prohibit the use by new drivers (in NC it’s under age 18)and a third of the states deny hand-held cell phones by school bus drivers (including NC). This information, as posted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, highlights the concern by law enforcement of cell phone and texting distractions.

All drivers are banned from text messaging in 14 states (NC included), with 10 of the states restricting new license holders from texting while driving. Crash data collection,from police reports and survivor and witness interviews, shows that driver distraction can greatly increase the risk of an accident.

In a study released this week by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the dangers of driving a long-haul truck and texting were capitalized. There was a six times greater risk of a crash or near crash when the driver was texting or dialing a cell phone — when his eyes were off of the road. Drivers were aware of video cameras and software in their trucks for these studies and the researchers could see the near-miss scenarios and actual accidents that occurred. To read more information about the study, click here.

As noted in one article, the ever-present “ping” of an incoming text or the ring of a cell phone can be difficult to ignore, but it may just save your life. Think about it. Focus on the road and don’t be a multi-tasking overachiever.

This article was written by Chip Permar

Update: Product Liability Bill

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Great news! As an update to my blog a couple weeks ago, Senate Bill 882 Statute of Repose has passed with flying colors and will be effective on October 1 of this year. Until October 1, an injured person cannot seek recovery in a products liability case if the product that causes injury is over 6 years old. This new law extends that period to 12 years.

This article was written by Chip Permar

Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Added to Compassionate Allowance List

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Last month Commissioner Astrue announced that early-onset Alzheimer’s disease will now be part of the 50+ medical conditions that automatically qualify the SSD applicant for quicker claim processing. The SSA Commissioner noted: “Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a rapidly progressive and debilitating disease of the brain that affects individuals between the ages of 50 and 65 and clearly deserves our consideration.” Individuals applying for benefits will get a quicker response from the SSA –perhaps in weeks rather than the typical months or even years — and that is certainly a bright spot.

This article was written by Todd P. Oxner