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Category: Social Security

FAQs

TEN Frequently Asked Questions by Clients Who Have Hearings Scheduled

You’ve likely waited some time for this day and lots of questions may be running through your mind. We have put together a list of frequently asked questions that we hope you find helpful. As always, if you have a question not covered on this list or need further details, please give us a call at 1-877-JANDILS.

 

FAQs

 

What do I bring to my hearing?

(medications, DL, hearing notice, etc.) Typically, all you would need to bring are the hearing notice and a photo ID.

What are my chances of winning?

There is no way to determine that before a hearing. It is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Judge. As long as you are honest with the Judge in your testimony and what you say is consistent with what you’ve told your doctors, you give yourself the best chance of being found disabled.

What do I wear to my hearing?

The hearing is casual and there are no strict rules about dress code. You can wear anything from what you would wear to go to Walmart to what you would wear to go to church or business casual wear. The only thing we would ask is that you don’t wear something that would be disrespectful to the court like clothes with holes in them or screen print that would be offensive.

Can someone come into the hearing with me?

As long as you are ok going in alone, that is typically best. The issue is that somebody else is not allowed to testify if they come in with you, so you could not look to them for answers. They would have to be like a fly on the wall. Since it is natural to try to get answers from that person if you don’t know an answer, it would be best to do so on your own. If you have to have somebody come in for moral support, you should let your attorney know, however it will ultimately be up to the Judge to allow that person to come in or not.

Do I bring my cane/walker?

If you would normally bring it when you go outside of your home, you can bring it or if you are having a bad day to where you would usually need to use it, you can as well, but if you wouldn’t normally bring it on that day, then you shouldn’t.

Will I have to talk at my hearing?

The Judge will want to hear from you how your impairments affect you personally. They have the medical evidence and any diagnosis that was made on your impairments, but they need to hear from you about limitations and symptoms you have and how that might affect your ability to work. Your attorney can make any legal arguments necessary, but you know your limitations and symptoms better than anybody else, so the Judge will expect to hear from you about those things.

How will I know who my attorney is?

Your attorney will usually find you in the waiting area. There aren’t usually a lot of people waiting, so it is usually easy for them to find you.

Will I know if I am approved the day of my hearing?

Most likely not. If your attorney has an idea of what might happen, they will let you know before you leave that day, but many times they will not know. Even if your attorney has an idea of what might happen, nothing is final until you get the decision back in writing.

How long does it take to get a decision?

The upper end of decision timelines right now is around 2-3 months. Typically, a decision will not take much longer than that and some can come back more quickly. If you have waited 2 and a half to 3 months and still haven’t received anything back in writing, you can contact our office and we can look into it to see if anything is holding up the decision.

If I get denied, is that the “end of the road?”

No, there is always an option to appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. We would write a brief on your behalf regarding any legal error and they would review the brief, your testimony, and the medical evidence to determine if a legal error was made. If one was made, typically, they will send the decision back to the Judge for another hearing which could result in an approval depending on how significant the error was. If you are SSI eligible or your DLI has not expired, your attorney may suggest that you file a new application instead of appealing.

Pedestrian Versus Driver

‘Pedestrian Versus Driver’ – Who’s at Fault?

“Who was at fault.”

With summer being in full swing there are many pedestrians out and about spending as much time soaking up the sun as possible. This can be a very dangerous time for walkers in big cities as well as small towns. Knowing the traffic laws is very important for drivers and pedestrians alike. When a pedestrian gets hit by a moving vehicle that is where things can get tricky. One question always arises, “Who was at fault.”

The answer to this question can vary, it really depends on who had the right of way in the situation. It is a common myth that pedestrians always have the right of way. Pedestrians in the crosswalk at intersections with lights must wait for their light allowing them to cross. In other cases, such as crossing in front of a school or mall, it is expected that vehicles will slow down and yield the road to pedestrians. Any other case when there is a crosswalk and not a light to signal when to stop or go for the pedestrian’s vehicles are also expected to allow pedestrians to pass.

Some other variables play into this as well, such as whether the driver was texting, speeding, ran a red light, or was under the influence. In the same breath, we can ask if the pedestrian was texting or walking in traffic, or even if they were under the influence as well. Trying to figure out who was at fault in one of these cases is the hardest part of filing a claim.

‘Pedestrian versus Driver’ cases are a grey area and if there is a lack of evidence, they can become even that much more unclear. The best thing to do in the instance that you have been hit by a vehicle and are looking for a personal injury claim would be to get representation. While it is possible for a pedestrian to handle a claim without a lawyer, in most cases it can be extremely difficult to do it on your own. You will have to get all the evidence to prove that you were not at fault, nor could you have helped avoid the contact with the vehicle and be sure that fault is not in dispute.

Get In Touch With Us!

If you or a loved one have been hit by a vehicle you may have a personal injury case on your hands. Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, has a team who deals exclusively with Personal Injury cases with great knowledge. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Do You Know Your Social Security ABCs?

Like many areas of business and the government, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has its own special lingo and frequently uses acronyms in their communication with a claimant during the claims process. Understanding the language will help you navigate through SSA’s rules and regulations when filing for disability benefits. Below is a list of commonly used acronyms to know when applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income:

  • ALJ – Administrative Law Judge
    An independent judge is assigned to review your file, listen to your testimony and decide on your claim following a request for hearing.
  • AOD – Alleged Onset Date
    This is the date in which you feel you became disabled.
  • CE – Consultative Exam
    A consultative exam or test called for when your current medical information is considered insufficient by the SSA in deciding your outcome.
  • COLA – Cost of Living Adjustment
    In order to keep up with inflation, Social Security may increase by a small percentage each year. This is known as a cost of living adjustment.
  • DDS – Disability Determination Section
    State Agencies funded by the Federal Government whose purpose is to make disability findings for SSA at the initial and reconsideration levels of a disability claim.
  • DIB – Disability Insurance Benefits
    One of the two disability programs housed under the Social Security Administration office. This is also known as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Title II benefits. This program requires a claimant to have obtained enough work credits to have gained an insured status.
  • DLI – Date Last Insured
    Your date last insured is when your work credits expire. In order to be eligible to receive DIB, you must prove that your disability started before your date last insured.
  • ME – Medical Expert
    Helps the ALJ understand your medical records. He or she may also give testimony at your hearing regarding what he or she feels you can and can’t do following a complete review of your medical records.
  • OHO – Office of Hearing Operations
    When you file a request for hearing, your claim file is sent to this office. It’s the office where the ALJs work, also known as the hearing’s office.
  • PIA – Primary Insurance Amount
    This is the amount of money you would receive each month if approved for DIB.
  • SGA – Substantial Gainful Activity
    SGA is work that brings in over a certain dollar amount per month. In 2019, that amount is $1,220 for non-blind disability applicants and $2,040 for blind applicants. If you are working and earning over those amounts, SSA will not consider you disabled.
  • SSI – Supplemental Security Income
    SSI is a needs-based disability program. You must be found medically disabled by the Social Security Administration, but you also must meet strict income limitations in order to receive SSI benefits.
  • VE – Vocational Expert
    An expert witness called by SSA to testify at your hearing. The VE knows about job availability and skills needed to perform certain jobs.

Visit SSA acronyms, for a complete list.

Here at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we have been speaking the SSA lingo for over 25 years, and we take great pride in helping our clients get the benefits they deserve.  If you’d like to know more about our services, or if you’d like to sign up a free consultation, call us today at 877-526-3457. If you can’t talk now, fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.

Runners and Walkers Line Up for Our First Freedom 5K Fun Run

Saturday, June 29, 2019, the volunteers at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, were up and out at 5:00 a.m. preparing for our first Freedom 5K Fun Run – yet another way the firm strives to raise money for Veterans’ causes. We were thrilled to have 373 registered runners/walkers and lots of cheerleaders – friends and family – come out and support our Veterans on a warm June day.

Beyond the runners and walkers, there were 80 volunteers, setting up, hydrating participants – taking care of all the important details that make a 5K run. Also, thanks to the generosity of many local restaurants who donated food and condiments for refreshments, and other businesses who gave us discounts and deals to help with the cost of making this fundraiser successful and beautiful!

Rewarding Results

Our first Freedom 5K Fun Run, with a generous match from Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, raised more than $25,000 that will be split between two amazing causes.

WVU-P Scholarship for Veteran Recipients helps pay for housing, fees, transportation and other things the G.I. Bill may not cover for a Veteran. Another great program, Project Yoga MOV provides one-hour classes twice a week at Full Circle Yoga in Vienna, WV. Steve Barnhart teaches this class and has created a wonderful program with the help of Pat and Cheryl McHugh. As a perk, each Veteran receives a new yoga mat at his or her first class. Full Circle Yoga has given out more than 100 yoga mats since December 2018. This program helps Veterans physically and mentally as well as offering great friendship and support.

The race was completed by the first runner in under 20 minutes, and our first walker completed the race in just under 35 minutes. We also had a “Spirit” competition. More than 50 participants dressed up in their most patriotic attire.

Chalked up as a great success, we look forward to our second annual Freedom 5K Fun Run. Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you. Our Veterans and their families are so deserving, and we are honored to be able to help them in any way we can.

It’s camaraderie like this that inspires us to continue our work in the community. It’s also the work we do each and every day to help Veterans get the benefits they deserve. If you ever need a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Pool Chemicals

3 Things to Be Aware of When Interacting with Pool Chemicals

As the summer continues on, the days are getting warmer and everyone is trying to find a way to enjoy the sun while it lasts. It is a treat to spend the day by the pool – either public or private. But having a pool requires minor maintenance before the start of the season as well as periodically throughout. Before you clean your pool, we have three things to watch out for while you and your family are preparing to enjoy a splash-filled day.

Things To Be Aware

The first to be mindful of is contact with chemicals – this is especially important for your eyes. It is highly recommended that you should wear eye protection, such as goggles, while handling chemicals as well as when swimming after chemicals have been added. There is a recommended waiting time of 2-4 hours to avoid this contact with chemicals while swimming. Some would even suggest giving it a day before entering the pool for the chemicals to balance out.

The next thing to be most cautious of is your respiratory system. It is recommended while dealing with chemicals to be sure not to inhale them directly as this can damage your internal organs. Common chemicals are chlorine and bromine; these can both be found in solid or liquid forms. Bromine is irritative to the throat if inhaled and can be corrosive to human skin in its liquid form.

Our third preventable injury is to the skin. This can be avoided by the use of proper protective gear. Always wear gloves while dealing with pool chemicals and be sure not to cause any splashes in order to protect your exposed arms and legs. Most important of all, be aware of your surroundings.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

These three injuries are easily preventable by practicing pool safety and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocol. Many reports with chemical-related injuries were of children exposed in private homes. There were also many work-related injuries of people who work at public facilities.

Our advice to avoid these injuries is to always store chemicals properly, avoid splashing while putting chemicals in the water, and to be knowledgeable about which chemicals you are using.

If you or someone you love was injured by improper chemical usage, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Your first consultation is always free.

3 Forms You Should Know About When Applying for Social Security Disability

3 Forms You Should Know About When Applying for Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Once you file an application for Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration will send your claim to a state agency, known as Disability Determination Services (DDS). This is the department that will make a medical decision on your claim. While your claim is at DDS, you will receive various forms to complete and return. Below, we will explain the three most common forms:

1. Adult Function Report (AFR)

This form is also known as the Activities of Daily Living report. In this form, you are asked to describe your daily activities as well as how your daily activities are affected or limited by your disabilities. Sometimes there will be a third-party AFR that a family member or peer is asked to fill out as a witness to the disability you face daily. These forms are to showcase the way an illness or disability impairs daily living and should be filled out completely with nothing left blank. There will be questions such as, “How often do you go outside?” and “Do you prepare your own meals?”

2. Work History Report (WHR)

This form asks you to describe all the jobs you have held within the past 15 years. It will ask for details regarding job descriptions such as how often you would be standing, walking, bending, lifting, sitting, carrying and whether you were in a leader or management position. We broke down the work levels in a previous blog – https://jandils.com/3-ways-social-security-defines-work/. This form is how Disability Determination Services classifies the jobs you had before becoming disabled or while being disabled. The older the claimant, the more important this form becomes – especially after the age of 50. The Work History Report helps to determine if there is any skill that would possibly be transferable to another occupation that is doable with your disability. It’s important to be detailed and thorough while describing your past work.

3. Pain Questionnaire

Seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Well, it is. The pain questionnaire asks you to describe the pain you feel daily. Some of the details requested include location, severity and frequency of the pain. The questionnaire will also ask what can help the pain, if anything, as well as what makes it significantly worse.

Accurately completing these forms is an extremely important step in your pursuit of disability benefits. Our office has 25 years of experience reviewing and completing these forms. If you need help completing the DDS forms or are thinking about applying for SSD or SSI, our team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, is here to help you. If you’d like a free consultation, call us today at 877-526-3457 or visit jandils.com. If now is not a convenient time to talk, fill out this form so we can call you at a better time.

 

3 Ways Social Security Defines ‘Work’

3 Ways Social Security Defines ‘Work’

There are five levels of work that the Social Security Administration uses to judge whether an individual can perform the range of sedentary, light, medium, heavy or very heavy work. This judgment is based from an exertional point of view – exertion being effort needed to complete a given task. Below we will break down three of these five forms of work that are most common.

Sedentary Work

Sedentary work is work that involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at once. It can occasionally involve carrying or lifting items such as ledgers, small tools and docket files. While a sedentary job is defined as one that involves a lot of sitting, it also involves some walking and standing to carry out job duties. Usually, this involves standing or walking for up to two hours throughout an eight-hour work day and sitting for six hours of an eight-hour work day.

Light Work

Light work jobs require frequent lifting or carrying objects that weigh 10 pounds and occasionally lifting or carrying objects that weigh up to 20 pounds. Jobs that fall into this category require a bit more standing and walking than sedentary jobs, usually six hours of standing and/or walking.

While performing a job in this category, one might be able to sit for small increments between walking and standing with a total of no more than two hours of sitting in an eight-hour work day. An example of a job that falls into this category would be a cashier, bagger or machine operator.

Medium Work

Jobs in this category require the ability to lift 25 pounds frequently and no more than 50 pounds occasionally. Similar to the requirements of light work, one would have to be able to stand or walk for six hours out of the eight-hour work day and sitting up to two hours of an eight-hour work day. Use of hands is necessary, though the use of fingers directly for fine activities is not. In a medium-level job, there is typically more stooping involved due to the frequent moving of objects. They recommend a decent flexibility of knees and torso for the level of activity required for jobs in this category. Some examples are construction workers, plumbers or electricians.

Call Us Today

Being accurate in describing your past work is vital to the success of your claim, especially if you are age 50 or older. It’s one of the many reasons why so many people turn to Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. If you’d like to know more about what our firm can do for you, call us today at 877-526-3457 for a free consultation. If you’d rather talk at a later time, fill out this form so our team can contact you at a time that is best for you.

Identifying Nursing Home Neglect

Identifying Nursing Home Neglect

You have a thousand things on your plate. As you are stuck in this whirlwind of life, your parent or grandparent is beginning to need more and more help with the activities of daily living. Putting him or her in a nursing home is one of your options, but how can you be sure the patient will be cared for properly? We have some tips for keeping your loved one safe and the signs of neglect.

First, we should define nursing home neglect, which is different from nursing home abuse. Neglect is defined as lack of care, or subpar care for an elderly person that can harm the patient. Identifying nursing home neglect warning signs can be very difficult, but here are a few of the most common:

  • Dehydration / Malnutrition
  • Lack of nursing home staff involvement
  • Unusual changes in behavior
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Unsanitary living conditions

In some cases, there won’t be any physical changes identifiable, so you will need to pay close attention to any behavioral changes. If living conditions seem dangerous or unsanitary, there may be cause for concern as to nursing home neglect. Taking pictures when bringing a loved one to a nursing home for the first time is highly recommended; taking subsequent pictures over a period of time is also suggested to ensure he or she is receiving the best care.

If you suspect your family member is being mistreated or neglected by a caregiver, you may have a Personal Injury case on your hands. Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, has a team who deals exclusively with Personal Injury cases with great knowledge and experience and in nursing home neglect. If you have concerns, we have answers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. You should never have to worry about the care your loved one receives.

Round Up

Weeds Aren’t the Only Thing to Watch Out for this Spring

As spring continues and summer approaches, there will be gardening and lawn care taking place in neighborhoods everywhere. Among the most common annoyances during these activities are the pesky weeds that grow and sprout around flowers and plants. For many years a common go-to for help with these pests was Roundup Weed Killer. It seemed to really get the job done well, and people loved its reliability.

What many people didn’t know was the pesticide and herbicide glyphosate, present in Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen. That is, at least, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is a branch of the World Health Organization. It may be the most commonly used pesticide in all of America, as it is used on corn, cotton, and soy bean farms everywhere. You should think twice about where and from whom you buy your produce.

Bayer, recent buyer of the Roundup brand, disputes the argument. Yet lawsuits are being pursued by dozens of individuals who have developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Large B-Cell Lymphoma and T-Cell Lymphoma, along with a handful of other cancers. There are cases coming up left and right connecting this carcinogen to the diseases victimizing many farmers.

This spring think twice before coating your pastures, home gardens and lawns with this chemical. Instead, try a few of these alternatives: natural horticultural vinegar, saturated steam weed control, electric weed eaters, and so many more. Make a difference in your health and your neighborhood by trying to practice safer weed removal.

In addition to your own personal household use, if you have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and have used a glyphosate product (i.e., Roundup or Eraser) in any of the following occupations: agriculture, barge operation, farming, forestry, groundskeeping, landscaping, pesticide and herbicide application, professional gardening, trucking or transportation, please contact our Personal Injury Team at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, for a free consultation. Call us at 877.526.3457.

IVC Filters

IVC Filters

Have you ever heard of your Inferior Vena Cava? It is often shortened into the acronym IVC, and is the largest vein in your body. Its primary duty is to carry blood from the lower half of your body up to your heart and lungs ¾ a very, very important job for just one vein. This vein is crucial to our human functioning.

Are you familiar with an IVC Filter? Many people get IVC Filters to help avoid clotting in their veins. This could be compared to a different form of blood thinner for those who may not be able to use more traditional treatments. These filters help prevent blood clots from moving through the veins and into the lungs or heart area.

Two types of patients at risk are those with venous thromboembolic (VTE) disease, more specifically pulmonary embolism, also known as PE. Many of the victims of VTE are hospitalized patients who are prone and still for most of their days. Blood can begin to clot and potentially travel through the veins. With PE, clots can cause chest pain and potential death if they get in the way of blood flow to the lungs. The highest period of risk to develop VTE is after a major surgery or injury, or after cancer, a heart attack or heart failure.

The procedure to insert the IVC Filter is not invasive, meaning there is just a small insertion point that does not need stitching up afterwards. The filters can go in through the neck or through the groin and be placed using a catheter. If inserted through the neck, it is said you should be fine within a day of the operation. If inserted through the groin, it is recommended that you avoid driving, climbing stairs, and lifting heavy objects for up to two days.

Over the last ten years, there have been countless Personal Injury lawsuits due to the ineffectiveness of these filters and their possible outcomes. They are known for puncturing veins, flipping or tilting, being irremovable, fracturing or failing, and can potentially cause internal bleeding, clotting, stroke or death. Though these filters may have their benefits, they have more of a chance to injure clients than help them.

If you have had an IVC Filter implanted and have suffered an injury caused by it, you may have a potential Personal Injury case on your hands. We have helped many clients with these cases. If you want to know more about this subject, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 877-526-3457. If you would prefer to correspond with us electronically, you can also fill out the form below and we will contact you during our business hours.

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