Category: Social Security
POSTED BY devind .
Having a baby should be the happiest day of one’s life. However, approximately 1 in every 9,714 people in the U.S. are born with a birth injury. Many of them preventable. If your infant was born with an injury mentioned in the article in this blog or you suspect malpractice, do not hesitate to talk to the experts within our firm. Visit jandils.com or call 877.526.3457. We are here for you!
When Do Birth Injuries Lead to Legal Action?
It’s very possible that the doctor did something – or failed to do something – during the birth process, and that conduct amounted to medical malpractice. But it’s not as simple as that. The results alone (a baby with a birth-related injury) don’t support a conclusion of malpractice.
In every medical malpractice case, it’s first necessary to establish the appropriate level of care under the circumstances – the degree of care and skill of the average healthcare provider who practices the same specialty, taking into account the medical knowledge that is available to the physician in that particular situation. This is a legal concept known as the Medical Standard of Care.
After you’ve documented what a similarly skilled care provider would have done under the circumstances, you need to show how that standard was breached – in other words, what did the defendant actually do (or not do) that fell short of the benchmark?
In some traumatic childbirth scenarios, fast action is required on the part of the doctor and especially in cases where the health of the newborn or the mother is in danger. A birth injury may be considered a practical (or even necessary) risk if the circumstances of the situation call for drastic measures. But obviously, in cases where no complications exist and labor is proceeding normally, a doctor may well be deemed negligent if the baby ends up with a serious physical injury.
Alternatively, if a quick response to a dangerous situation is necessary, and the doctor fails to act, that may also be considered medical negligence, and the medical professional would be on the legal hook for any resulting injuries. This is often the case when a baby is in danger – perhaps deprived of oxygen – in the womb, and the medical staff fails to execute a C-section in a reasonable amount of time. If oxygen deprivation – hypoxia (too little oxygen) or anoxia (no oxygen) – leads to brain damage in the newborn, the medical staff could be liable.
Most Common Types of Birth Injuries
- Brain injury, intracranial hemorrhages (bleeds), soft tissue injury
- Cranial nerve and spinal cord birth injury
- Peripheral nerve birth injury
- Bone birth injury
- Intra-abdominal birth injury
In such an emotionally charged situation – not to mention legally and medically complex cases, it’s best to discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If you suspect negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877.526.3457 or jandils.com. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly. We understand that this is a particularly uncertain time to be with child, but every mom here will assure you, birth is beautiful.
POSTED BY devind .
Can a Retired Person Also Collect Social Security Disability?
You can’t receive Social Security retirement benefits and disability benefits at the same time (with one small exception, which we’ll discuss below). The Social Security disability program exists to provide disability benefits to those who are unable to work as a result of their conditions and who are too young to draw their retirement benefits. In this sense, Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) can be thought of as a retirement benefit for those who are forced to retire early. If you do collect SSDI disability benefits, you will be converted to retirement benefits when you reach full retirement age.
In addition, you would get the benefit of the disability freeze, which means that your lack of income due to disability is not counted when calculating your Socal Security retirement payment from your earnings record.
Disabled After Early Retirement Benefits Start
However, if you were collecting early retirement benefits before Social Security says you were disabled, Social Security will not pay you the difference between your disability payment and the early retirement payment, and you would be paid at a less-than-full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Similarly, if Social Security denied your disability claim outright, you would continue to receive early retirement payments at the early retirement rate for the rest of your life.
Strategy for Deciding When to Take Early Retirement
While some people who quit work at age 62 purposefully apply for disability and elect early retirement at the same time, so that the early retirement payments fill the gap until the disability payments start, remember that there is no guarantee you’ll be granted disability benefits, and you could be stuck collecting less than your full retirement rate for the rest of your life. Still, this can work for those people who are severely impaired and are sure that they will get disability benefits.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have more than 25 years of experience working with the SSA. We can tell you if you have a credible case and help you present it. It’s our job to help you make the right decisions. Contact us at 877.526.3457, jandils.com or fill our this form and we will get back to you shortly. Your first consultation is always free.
POSTED BY devind .
Planning a Last Labor Day Vacation in the Era of COVID-19?
What’s safe and what’s not? If your main goal is to protect yourself and others from getting sick, a staycation is your best bet. Travel does increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19 to others. But there are still ways to safely take advantage of summer! Here are some tips adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
- Remember, wherever you go, follow the four Ws:
- Wear a mask
- Wash or sanitize your hands
- Watch your distance
- Wipe down surfaces
- Pack the essentials. Whether you’re going on a day trip or a week-long adventure, pack the following items:
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces
- If you’re traveling, do your research on restrictions.
If you’re going outside of the tristate area, make sure you follow both state and local guidelines. Stay up-to-date by checking the state or local health department website for your destination.
- Remember, COVID-19 is still an ever-changing situation. Some states may change their requirements about sheltering in place for tourists coming in or leaving. You may be required to quarantine.
- Stay outside as much as possible.
Not only is the great outdoors good for your emotional and physical well-being – but staying outside is less risky as long as you still maintain your distance and avoid large crowds.
- Are pools safe during the pandemic? There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.
- Do your research about hotels. Ask the hotel about their prevention practices, including:
- Cleaning and sanitation of high-touch surfaces such as ATMs, tables, doorknobs and light switches
- Social distancing and mask requirements
- Hotel staff and workforce screening policies
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we, too, have lived and worked through this unprecedented spring and summer. We realize the initial advantages of locking down with family have been unique and in many cases special. But none of us knows how long we will be going through social distancing. We are all anxious to get our lives back on track. We also want to be clear that our firm is by no means forecasting and/or fearmongering. However, based on the historical experience of other epidemics, there may be reason to be wary of profiteering by companies in the future. If you have a question about a personal injury case, please don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877-526-3457 or jandils.com. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly. Accidents still happen. You still deserve the best representation possible.
POSTED BY devind .
If you suffer from back pain and it makes you unable to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The SSDI program enables individuals who have worked to earn sufficient credits and who have paid in enough taxes to the SSA to be considered eligible for benefits if specified criteria are met. In many cases, dependent children of the disabled individual are also eligible for benefits.
There are several conditions of the spine that can cause back pain and problems. Some of these conditions occur naturally with age, but others may happen prematurely or be the result of an accident or another condition.
Some examples of back problems include:
- Degenerative disc disorder
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Nerve root compression
- Spinal stenosis
While back pain can be very debilitating and cause agony to the individual who suffers from it, the SSA makes it a challenge to get benefits for those suffering. In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you have to be diagnosed with a medical condition that lasts for at least a year. Your examinations, including X-rays, MRIs, or your physician’s notes regarding an examination, indicate you suffer from an abnormality of the spine or spinal canal, and that is what causes your pain and discomfort.
The SSA Evaluation and Medical Qualifications
The SSA uses their own medical guide to evaluate disability benefits applications that they receive. This guide, known as the Blue Book, helps to determine whether or not an individual meets the criteria to be considered disabled and eligible for SSDI. There is no listing for back pain, but there are listings that apply to specific conditions that cause the pain. As an example, degenerative disc disease does not have a specific listing. You have to have severe symptoms such as requiring assistance to walk, needing to adjust your position more than every two hours, and suffer from nerve-specific problems.
Regardless of the cause of your back pain, you have to provide evidence of how it impacts your ability to work and causes your daily limitations. Your documents need to include notes from your physician about limitations you have when walking or standing, and if you have to have a cane, walker or crutches in order to be mobile. These are all considered with great weight when making a disability determination decision.
Applying Specific Medical Tests to Your Case for Disability
Several medical tests, including X-rays, MRI and CAT scans, and other tests and examinations, can be used as ways to confirm that you are suffering from a disorder that is causing severe back pain and difficulty with your mobility. The SSA may order an additional medical evaluation at their expense to confirm your condition and the severity of your symptoms. The SSDI application process can be lengthy and may involve denials and appeals.
At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have more than 25 years of experience working with the SSA. We can tell you if you have a credible case and help you present it. Patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions incur medical costs of about $240 billion per year in the United States. Medical bills and the inability to work can be financially devastating. Don’t go it alone. Contact us at 877.526.3457, jandils.com, or fill our this form and we will get back to you shortly. Your first consultation is always free. Please, now more than ever, don’t hesitate
to contact us.
POSTED BY devind .
As August draws to an end, I can’t help but feel the familiar feeling of autumn drawing near. I know it’s too early, and summer is sure to roar once again and smack us in the face with another heat wave.
But lately, the air has been cooler – with a gentle, steady breeze. The mornings, cold and crisp. I’m positive I even saw some leaves starting to turn orange this past weekend.
Regardless of what the weather is or isn’t doing, there is always one thing we can count on each August.
Back To School
Yep. It’s here already. 2020 continues to fly by right before our eyes and it’s already time to send our kiddos to school. Or are we?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has come to the conclusion that it’s safe to go back to school as long as their recommendations are followed, and community spread remains low. They’ve even put together a pretty great check-list for parents to follow.
So will school be online, or in-person as usual (ish)? A question that has many of us parents confused and weary. With school starting in a couple weeks and many parents still working from home, it’s no surprise that some are STRESSING OUT!
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice rolled out his most recent back-to-school plan two week’s ago with a target start date of Tuesday, September 8th – nearly a month later than last year.
“I’ve told you repeatedly that there’s no chance in the world, to the best of all my abilities, will I put a kid, a teacher, our service personnel, or anyone into a situation that’s unsafe… I am extremely proud to announce that we have a safe method to reopen our schools that we built in from a standpoint of local control and scientific metrics.” – Governor Jim Justice
According to the Governor’s plan, each county will offer multiple options for instruction.
- in-person instruction – set number of days based on each county’s re-entry plan.
- virtual instruction – complete online learning with a broadband or wifi access.
- hybrid model – similar as in-person with reduced number of days.
Parents will have the flexibility to select their preferred method of instruction. Each county must have a plan to reduce exposure and ensure best health practices like social distancing, face coverings, hand washing, and disinfection protocols.
In the event a county were to see a significant increase in community transmission, the county superintendent is to work closely with the state on necessary action to keep the school safe, including stopping all in-person instruction and going fully remote.
The state is currently working on a coding system that will display a coding metric on an online dashboard for the public to view daily. According to the plan, depending on how each county is performing in the metric, they will each be assigned one of four colors: green, yellow, orange, or red.
Green – indicates that a county is experiencing minimal community transmission, allowing counties to operate under general re-entry guidelines while continuing to follow best health practices to prevent the spread of the disease.
Yellow – indicates that a county is experiencing moderate community transmission and increased restrictions may be necessary.
Orange – indicates that a county is experiencing higher community transmission and further restrictions will be necessary, in collaboration with local health officials.
Red – indicates that a county is experiencing substantial community transmission. Under these conditions, all in-person instruction would be suspended and remote learning plans would be activated. Staff would continue essential support services, including meals, student engagement, and special education.
Each county’s metric will be evaluated by DHHR and updated online each day.
I encourage each parent to visit your corresponding school or school board’s website to view your back-to-school plan. And as always, expect frequent updates as new information arises.
Good luck to all parents and children. On behalf of the team at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, we wish you and your children a happy and SAFE school year!
POSTED BY devind .
$9,000 Presented to Cancelled Freedom Fun Run 5k Beneficiaries
Summer 2020 has been severely impacted by COVID-19, to the point of many great events across the country being cancelled – including our Annual Freedom Fun Run 5k scheduled for this past July.
The event has proven to be a big hit here in Parkersburg, where hundreds of runners sign up to run or walk for a great cause, while donning their best patriotic attire.
Not only were the runners – many of whom signed up months in advance – left disappointed, but so were each of the three beneficiaries that count on the funds raised from the event.
Freedom Fun Run 5k Beneficiaries:
- We Have Your Six, a local organization which aids Veterans with emergency housing, clothing, food, healthcare solutions and more.
- Operation Transportation, which provides Veterans with access to affordable transportation for employment, medical appointments, and daily living.
- West Virginia University at Parkersburg Foundation, which provides scholarships for student Veterans.
Despite the cancellation, the team at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law couldn’t help but feel the need to ensure that these organizations would still receive needed funds, allowing them to continue serving Veterans in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
“To ensure the health and welfare of our Veterans, our teammates, and our community, we had to cancel this year’s Freedom Fun Run 5k. But the organizations that were chosen to benefit from the event need our support now more than ever,” said Jan Dils. “Our Veterans count on these crucial programs, and we couldn’t let them down. For that reason, we have decided to donate a total of $9,000, to be split equally between the three organizations.”
Last week, each of the three organizations were presented a check for $3,000 each.
Gloria Husk with We Have Your Six accepting $3,000 donation
from Eric Hillyard-Poling of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law
Eric Hillyard-Poling of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law presents $3,000 donation to MOV Transit Authority on behalf of Operation Transportation
Darren Shearlock, M.Ed. Master Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired accepting $3,000 check on behalf of WVU of Parkersburg Foundation from Eric Hillyard-Poling of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law
POSTED BY devind .
Johnson & Johnson Recalls Baby Powder Due to Link to Ovarian Cancer
In late 2018, a Reuters report alleged that Johnson & Johnson baby powder had – for decades – tested positive for asbestos. Numerous internal memos seemed to suggest executives’ concern over possible asbestos contamination at talc mines used by the company, and soon after the report was issued, Johnson & Johnson stock lost around 10% of its value. Not surprisingly, the company responded with an aggressive campaign aimed at convincing consumers (and J&J shareholders) that its products were safe, and that there was no safety-related cover-up. But the company still faces thousands of lawsuits linking its baby powder to asbestos-related illness, including several tying the products to ovarian cancer.
The asbestos industry manipulated medical research around its products and buried negative findings about asbestos and health as long as it could. The corporate cover-up of asbestos’ cancer-causing effects lasted well into the 1970s.
The talc industry played a role, too, by downplaying the danger of asbestos contamination in talc products.
In July 2019, the U.S. Justice Department launched a criminal investigation to determine if Johnson & Johnson purposefully misled the public about asbestos fibers in its talcum powder. Thousands of lawsuits have coincided with this latest probe of the pharmaceutical giant.
The justice department criminal investigation may take years to resolve and, unfortunately, could delay settlement in pending civil claims.
After great pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily recalled a single batch of its baby powder, admitting trace amounts of asbestos in the product. The recall comes amid thousands of lawsuits alleging the company knew its baby powder was contaminated with asbestos, a carcinogen.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, Won’t Take “NO” for an Answer®.
As of late March, Johnson & Johnson faced 19,400 lawsuits related to talc body powders. If you or a loved one regularly used Johnson & Johnson baby powder and have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, you deserve highly experienced, compassionate representation. Contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877-526-3457 or jandils.com. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY devind .
Social Security Payments Continue During Government Shutdown
Limited services available in field offices during funding lapse.
Throughout the summer, we have spoken a great deal about the health risks of the coronavirus. But we are also approaching October 1, 2020 the time the federal budget appropriations are created. Congress has spent much of this year necessarily focused on the coronavirus. As a result, neither chamber has passed a single spending bill for 2021. Are we headed for another government shutdown in the fall?
In 2020, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Administration both raised benefits with an uptick in maximum federal SSI payment increasing $12 per month and SSDI up $50 depending on withholdings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 in earned income above the $18,240 threshold.
hat Can We Expect in 2021? Will There Be a Shutdown?
The Senate begins the 2021 appropriations process with similarly good intentions. With COVID-19 and police reform in committee, we can predict at some point before October 1, Congress and the president will enact a short-term continuing resolution that will fund the government until after the November elections.
But uncertainty continues and, with COVID-19, we have been facing furloughs similar to those experienced in a shutdown. In this communication, we talk a little bit about a partial government shutdown and the impact it typically has on those relying on SSI and SSDI.
Government Shutdown and Impact to Social Security Disability
The bottom line is that until a budget passes, Social Security benefit payments will continue to be distributed on schedule to individuals receiving Social Security, SSDI and SSI income. During COVID-19, offices are open virtually but only to perform select services. As an example, most of you should have received your stimulus checks.
If you’re already on SSI, SSDI or retirement, then a government shutdown should not affect your benefit payments. As the partial shutdown wears on, however, it’s possible that more employees will be put on furlough, disrupting some services such as processing new SSDI applications and appeals.
How Can We Help?
If you have questions about your benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. While we don’t have a crystal ball, we have assisted numerous clients through more than 2.5 decades of economic ups and downs. Don’t struggle or let your very personal issues and needs take a back seat. Visit jandils.com or call us at 877.526.3457. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.
POSTED BY devind .
Travel Insurance Q&A
Before COVID-19, travel insurance may have been included in your credit card benefits. But if traveling abroad, it’s important to check with your car rental company (e.g., Italy mandates extra insurance). However, in the days of COVID-19, If you’ve ever wondered if you should buy travel insurance, look at where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and how much you’re spending on your trip. Let’s take a closer look at what travel insurance is built for. You may find your decisions more questionable. Was your flight cancelled (likely refundable), but are you ready to travel when air space is clear – despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice?
Here are the pros and cons of domestic and international travel and why, at this particular time, you may prefer opting for travel insurance:
Q. Can visiting family and friends increase my chances of spreading COVID-19?
A. Yes. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones aremore likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to takeextra precautions. For more considerations see the webpage Coronavirus in the United States—Considerations for Travelers.
Q. Should I avoid traveling internationally?
A. Yes. The CDC recommends that you avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some healthcare systems are overwhelmed, and there may be limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas. Many countries are implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting noncitizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time.
The CDC also recommends all travelers defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.
Q.What can I expect when departing other countries?
A. Some countries are conducting exit screening for all passengers leaving their country. Before being permitted to board a departing flight, you may have your temperature taken and be asked questions about your travel history and health.
Q. What can I expect when arriving to the United States?
A. Currently, travel restrictions and entry screening apply only to travelers arriving from some countries or regions with ongoing spread of COVID-19. [Note: U.S. policies are subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.]
You may be screened when you arrive in the United States. After your arrival, take the following steps to protect yourself and others:
- Stay at home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for 14 days.
- Monitor your health for 14 days. Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
- Keep your distance from others (at least six feet or two meters). This is referred to as “social distancing.”
Check CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Travel webpage to find the current travel health notice level for your international travel.
Q. When can I return to work after international travel?
A. All international travelers should stay home for 14 days after their arrival into the United States. At home, you are expected to monitor your health and practice social distancing. To protect the health of others, do not go to work for 14 days.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, claims no knowledge of the legalities that will ensue as COVID-19 changes our litigation in these unprecedented times. But know that we have over 25 years of experience negotiating the ebbs and flows. This is not the time to put your Personal Injury claims on hold. We are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877-526-3457 or jandils.com. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly. We don’t take “NO” for an answer ®.
POSTED BY devind .
The Side Effects of a Healthy Local Industry: Cancer
According to the West Virginia Department of Commerce a large portion of West Virginia’s industry is chemical manufacturing. West Virginia is home to about 140 different chemical-related companies that provide over 12,800 jobs to the state. This makes West Virginia the location of one of the largest number of chemical manufacturing companies in the world.
If you’ve worked in the chemical industry, here are some facts you need to know about the potential of developing cancer.
Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer
Caused by asbestos, applications include insulation, brakes, shingles, flooring and many other products. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and highly deadly form of cancer that can take 20 to 60 years to become symptomatic.
Often by the time mesothelioma is diagnosed, the disease is advanced. The five-year survival rate is 5% to 10%. Most patients with mesothelioma of the lung die as a result of respiratory failure or pneumonia.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
Among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the U.S., benzene is used mainly as a starting material in making other chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubber, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. It’s also the cause of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
The five-year survival rate for people 20 and older with AML is about 25%. For people younger than 20, the survival rate is 67%. Although AML is a serious disease, it is treatable and often curable with chemotherapy with or without a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer or AML likely as a result of asbestos or benzene, you deserve highly experienced, compassionate representation. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, at 877-526-3457 or jandils.com. You can also fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly. We don’t take “NO” for an answer ®.