Category: Supplemental Security Income

Karen

April 2020 Golden Apple Award

The final months of Karen Sprout’s teaching career have been nothing short of memorable.

With a global pandemic amongst us, our April 2020 Golden Apple Award winner continues to impact the day to day lives of her students. Although we aren’t able to present her award in person, the honor she deserves remains the same.

Mrs. Sprout has many wonderful ways of showing how much she cares for each student. One of those special activities happening in her classroom is the awarding of “Super Student Cards”. These cards are notes from Sprout to each student and their parents encouraging teamwork and acknowledging areas where the student has greatly improved or excelled.

“I just like that freshness and the excitement they have for school and I love instilling that love of learning in them. I want them to be life-long learners and I want them to love being at school,” Karen added.

With 15 years in the classroom, and 8 at Lubeck Elementary as a Pre-K teacher, Karen encourages parents to spend as much time with their children as they can – explaining how magical and special it can be to be the parent of a young child.

When asked what she will miss most about teaching when she is retired, she simply said, “everything”.

Sprout will officially be presented the Jan Dils Golden Apple Award and gift from Baker & Baker Jewelers in the coming weeks, once social distancing orders have been lifted.

Mental Health Awareness Month: What You Should Know

Mental Health Awareness Month: What You Should Know

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people through the media, local events and screenings.

At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we are more than lawyers, we are compassionate people. While we have been practicing social distancing, we are still very much engaged in helping our clients. With the COVID-19 virus, many people have a lot of questions and need their benefits now more than ever.

But we also want to reach out personally. If you are feeling particularly down or stressed, you are not alone. Of course, for Social Security benefits we are here for you 100%. But also, please understand that organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are here for you as well.

“We recognize that people affected by mental illness face additional challenges dealing with COVID-19,” states Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of NAMI. “Now, more than ever, it’s important to remember that there is no health without mental health. During these difficult times, we encourage you to take care of yourselves and check in on loved ones. You are not alone, and we will get through this together.

Mental Health as a Longer-Term Disability

Above and beyond, some people living with a mental health condition find that there are periods of time when working becomes too difficult, and they can no longer sustain employment. Fortunately, there are two national programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provide monthly income and health insurance for people unable to work. Here is some information on both programs:

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) 

To qualify for SSDI, you must have an impairment that prevents you from working for at least 12 months, and you must have worked and paid into the Social Security program (payroll taxes or FICA) for at least five of the last 10 years.

In 2014, the average SSDI monthly benefit was $1,165. In 2020, the amount is $1,260. However, the amount you receive is directly related to the amount of FICA taxes you have already paid into the FICA system over your working years.

Keep in Mind:

  • Your spouse and children in high school and younger can also receive the benefits of your SSDI account.
  • After 24 months on SSDI, you are eligible for Medicare benefits.
  • You may also be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 

SSI has two programs, one for adults and one for children (up to age 18).

Children: To quality for SSI benefits, children must have an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months and that causes “marked and severe functional limitations.” The child’s family must have very low income and resources. When the child turns 18, the SSA will make a determination regarding whether or not he or she is eligible for SSI adult benefits.

Adults: To qualify for SSI benefits, you must have an impairment that prevents you from working on a regular and sustained basis. In addition, you must have very low income, resources and assets; to be exact, you cannot have more than $2,000 in assets. Spousal rules are in place as well; if you are married, your spouse must also have very low income, resources and assets. A couple may not have more than $3,000 in assets.

In 2015, the federal payment was $733/month for an individual and $1,100/month for a couple. In 2020, the monthly maximum Federal amounts is $783/monthly for an individual and $1,175 for a couple. However, the amount depends on several factors, including your living arrangements and household income.

Keep in Mind:

  • For SSI purposes, assets do not include your primary residence, one car, wedding and engagement rings, certain types of financial support, burial savings up to $1,500 and additional exceptions.
  • Depending on which state you live in, you may also receive a monthly supplement from the state.
  • You are eligible for Medicaid coverage.
  • Any adult who has paid enough into the FICA system may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits at the same time.

Disability Claims Process

Most Social Security applications are processed through a local SSA office. An attorney with disability claims experience can help you prepare your application and file it for you. Payment for disability representation is limited by law – no more than 25% of any retroactive SSI or SSDI payments you receive when you are awarded disability, but no more than $6,000 – whichever is the lesser amount. If your claim is won following an appeal to the Appeals Council or Federal Court, attorney fees will be up to 25% with no cap. At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, a consultation is always free, and we are only paid if you win your case.

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law – Serving Disability Claims for More Than 25 Years.

Please note that we are in no way implying that the emotional impacts of COVID-19 are criteria for a claim. But we do represent clients that meet the above criteria for a variety of mental disorders. If you believe you are eligible, please do not hesitate to contact us. And if you are among the masses having a difficult time dealing with the emotional impact of COVID-19, please reach out to the  National Alliance on Mental Illness. Your overall wellness is our first concern.

KG Revisions

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law Response to COVID-19 Precautions

According to Opinio Juris (the world’s first blog dedicated to informed discussion of international law by and among academics, practitioners and legal experts) a great deal of attention has been focused on how federal and state decisions regarding COVID-19 are affecting us from a human rights perspective.

Many states have been criticized for the insufficient seriousness with which they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, states have been criticized for being overreactive and too restrictive. While our state and federal governments have an obligation to protect its people and their health, we must ensure that any emergency measures are legal, proportionate, necessary and nondiscriminatory. These measures must have a specific focus and duration and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health. The absolute best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.

Protecting public health is a legitimate and a supremely important objective of our government. “We are all in this together” is a familiar phrase we have heard throughout this pandemic and we embrace this for the health and safety of our clients, potential clients, as well as our employees. For this reason, in order to protect them, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law has followed the Center of Disease Control (CDC) protection protocol. We have made the decision to social distance while keeping our office up and running and continuing to maintain our client centered focus. Afterall, our clients and potential clients need benefits and financial help now more than ever. We are here for you. We are all in this together!

Visit Coronavirus.wv.gov to View the Most Up to Date COVID-19 Testing Numbers

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation for our clients. We have been practicing the guidelines implemented by the CDC (social distancing) but are still seamlessly serving both new and existing Personal Injury clients. Consultations are always free. Please contact us at 877.526.3457 or jandils.com. Stay Safe!

Local Business

Supporting Local Business Amidst a Pandemic

“Support your local business.”

Nothing new. The trend was popularized years ago. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to support your community has only grown.

Rather than fighting the over-crowded corporate supermarkets like Walmart, Kroger and Target, many have relied on their local grocery stores to shop for the essentials. Oftentimes, the small stores have shown to be well-stocked in comparison to their brand named competitors – and with less headache.

With states beginning the process of opening back up, I thought it would be nice to share some of the local businesses in our community that may have seen a decrease in traffic due to the shutdown.

Downtown Parkersburg is full of great local restaurants that have remained open for take-out throughout the lockdown. Now as government restrictions are starting to lift, some locations are beginning to emerge with outdoor dining and will soon be open for dine-in seating in the coming weeks.

Downtown Parkersburg Restaurants:

  • Blennerhassett Hotel
  • Parkersburg Brewing Company
  • Cham’s Lebanese Restaurant
  • Mango Latin Bistro
  • TCB – The Cocktail Bar
  • Unity Cafe
  • Gyro King – Authentic Mediterranean Cuisine

When it comes to shopping, Parkersburg and the surrounding communities offer many great options to choose from

  • 19th Street Meat Market
    • Great location for quality meats with no preservatives or add-ons (according to their website)
  • Mulberry Lane Country Store
    • From gifts and home decor to specialty food products made right here in West Virginia.
  • Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier
    • Hand-crafted Swiss chocolates and fresh roasted coffees
  • Scot’s Local Marketplace
    • Lawn and Garden to specialty foods and gifts (Also featuring HAND DIPPED ICE CREAM)

As you start to venture out of your homes over the next few weeks, take the opportunity to visit one of the wonderful locations Parkersburg has to offer.

Believe me, they’ve missed you as much as you’ve missed them.

As you’ve done so well throughout this entire process, keep following the guidelines and be aware of the steps each location is taking to keep you safe. Remember, we’re all in this together. Stay Safe. Stay Healthy.

Information Regarding Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and SSI Beneficiaries with Representative Payees, and People Living in U.S. Territories

Economic Impact Payment for Beneficiaries with Representative Payees and People Living in U.S. TerritoriesThe Social Security Administration issued an update today about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to certain groups of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. Beneficiaries who have their regular monthly payments managed for them by another person, called a representative payee, will begin receiving their EIPs from the IRS in late May.

Special rules apply to beneficiaries living in the U.S. territories: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In general, the tax authority in each territory, not the IRS, will pay the EIP to eligible residents based on information the IRS will provide to the territories. It is anticipated that beneficiaries in the territories could begin receiving their EIP in early June.

“The Social Security Administration has been working with the IRS to provide the necessary information about Social Security and SSI beneficiaries in order to automate and expedite their Economic Impact Payments,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “While millions of our beneficiaries have already received their EIPs from the IRS, we continue to work hard for those beneficiaries who are awaiting their payment from the IRS.”

For additional information about payments to beneficiaries with representative payees, please refer to www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/#reppayee.

For the territories, people should contact their local tax authority with questions about these payments. Please note their website may use the term “Economic Impact Payment” or “stimulus payment.”

The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found here: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center. In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.

Social Security will continue to update the agency’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ with additional information.

E-Bikes

E-Bikes

What Every Generation Needs to Know About E-Bikes and Scooters

We have provided a lot of communication about bicycle accidents. Of course, the world is changing rapidly. E-bikes and electric scooters are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, but the powered bikes carry a higher risk of severe injuries than traditional bicycles and a different pattern of injury risks compared with scooters.

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the numbers of e-bike injuries have increased by 72.9%.

As you might expect, when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist who is most likely to be injured.

It is important to note that powered scooter accidents are nearly three times more likely to result in concussions than e-bike injuries, and more likely to result in fractures. But 17% of e-bike accident victims suffered internal injuries compared to about 7.5% for both powered scooters and pedal bikes. Studies indicate that the increased speed of the motorized bikes/scooters plays a primary factor.

It’s also interesting to know that people injured by e-bikes were older, averaging 31.9 years old compared with 29.4 years with powered scooters and 25.2 years with traditional bikes.

First and foremost, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, encourages you to ride with caution. However, if you are injured, please take the right steps. If conscious, exchange information with the driver and call the police. Take pictures. But go to the ER for an examination. This will play an important role in your health and case. Lastly, do not settle with insurance. Contact the Personal Injury experts at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. All consultations are free. An experienced lawyer is your best chance to receive a fair settlement and pay your medical expenses. Contact us at 877.526.3457 or jandils.com.

Lawyer

Do you need a lawyer?

If you are considering filing a Social Security disability claim, you may be wondering if you should contact a lawyer. In many cases, the answer is yes. Read on to learn how a legal representative can assist you.

First, it’s important to understand that the process of filing a claim can be quite difficult and time consuming.  Dealing with the Social Security Administration can be confusing, and applicants may be unfamiliar with the terminology they use. But this is what an attorney specializing in Social Security Disability does every day. Your legal representative will have a detailed understanding of the process, and they will know how to present your case in a way that improves your chances of being approved for disability benefits. They know what to look for in terms of medical records, and they understand how to describe your health situation accurately.

While it is possible to file a claim on your own, statistics demonstrate that those who hire a legal representative are much more likely to be approved. Many cases are initially denied due to the applicant’s inability to present the necessary medical evidence, but an attorney can help you avoid that risk. In addition, the earlier in the filing process you contact an attorney, the better, as they can help you get on the right track from the start.

In addition, if your case is denied, your attorney will represent you throughout the appeals process. They will know how to look for key evidence, like additional or updated medical records, that will strengthen your case. Many cases are initially denied, but that is not the end of the process, and your legal representative will be well equipped to appeal your case.

Finally, an attorney can assist with the review and/or completion of any required paper work throughout your claim.  Again, much of this paperwork can be lengthy and confusing, and a legal representative has the knowledge and experience to ensure the paperwork is completed entirely and accurately in the best interest of your claim.  An attorney can communicate with SSA as needed to obtain the status of your claim and assist with obtaining information that may cause delays.

If you have additional questions about Social Security benefits, or if you’d like to learn more about filing a Social Security disability claim, feel free to contact us anytime at 1-877-526-3457. We have an experienced team of West Virginia Social Security Disability attorneys, and one of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions. Or if you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out this form and we will respond to you shortly.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can range from very minor to extremely severe. And if your burns are extensive, medical bills can quickly pile up. If you were burned in a situation you feel someone else may be liable for, do you have the grounds for a personal injury case?

If you were burned during a car accident, at work, or on someone else’s property for example, your first step will be to seek medical treatment, and then you will most likely want to seek legal advice.

If you contact an attorney, they will ask you questions to determine the following.

Duty of care

First, your legal representative will want to figure out if the other party had a duty of care to avoid causing you harm. Duty of care is a term that means the other party had a legal obligation to avoid behaviors or omissions of behaviors that could reasonably be expected to cause harm to others.

Breach of duty

Once it’s established that the other party did, in fact, have a duty of care not to harm you, it must next be determined that they actually breached that duty – that they either did something that could reasonably be foreseen to cause you harm or failed to do something that could have been expected to prevent harm.

Causal link

The next step is determining that there is a causal link between the other party’s behavior and your injuries. That is, you must be able to show that your injuries are the result of the other person’s actions or negligent inaction.

Measurable damages

Finally, your attorney will seek to demonstrate that you suffered measurable damages – meaning the injuries or other negative consequences you suffered as a result of the burn can be quantified in terms of a dollar amount you are owed.

If you would like to learn whether you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, feel free to contact our team of West Virginia personal injury attorneys anytime at 1-877-526-3457. Or if you’d prefer to contact us online, please fill out this form and we will respond right away.

Staying Motivated While Working from home

7 Tips for Staying Motivated During a Pandemic

If you’re like me, the thought of being isolated from society and forced to work from home was rather… exciting.

In a way it was scary and almost uncertain, but I was nearly jumping for joy at the thought of never being forced to leave my house.

No longer having to get up early and fight traffic on my way to work. Standing in long checkout lines. Having that awkward standoff in the parking lot trying to figure out which one of you is going to allow the other person to cross first.

What a time to be alive for an introvert, right? … WRONG!

Turns out, I’m not nearly as introverted as I thought. I’m human. Humans NEED social interaction. It’s a scientific fact. Some more than others.

With that being said, I’ve started to truly struggle with being isolated for over a month.

I’m fortunate enough to work for an organization that has ultimately made their employees and clients’ safety a priority. We’ve remained open and fully staffed, but things are different.

And I’m not alone. Working from home has become the new norm for a lot of us fortunate enough to stay employed.

In in effort to motivate myself and potentially others, I thought I’d write about some tips I’ve been learning to shake things up a bit and keep me motivated throughout the week.

 

7 Tips to Stay Motivated While Working From Home

 

Find your schedule –

Probably the MOST important tip. Whether that’s sticking to the normal 9-5 daily routine, or altering it to make it work for you. It’s all about personal preference, but find what is going to get the most out of you.

MAXIMIZE YOUR PEAK HOURS – For me, I tend to work more efficiently before noon. Then the curve tends to flatten after lunch (COVID-19 pun intended).

Pre-Corona, I was getting up at 5 am to go to the gym before work. So why not get back to that routine and take advantage of those peak hours before my child wakes up and demands my attention. Wake up at 5, shower, and GET DRESSED. On the computer by 5:30 plugging away at my tasks. This ultimately gives me 6 – 6.5 hours of optimal productivity. Take an hour lunch. From 1-3, finish out the rest of my day, taking care of the rest of my duties and I’ve got the rest of my afternoon to spend with my daughter and other hobbies around the house.

 

Set Daily Goals –

Goals. Yes, goals.

Don’t overthink it. Your daily goals should be small and attainable. Your weekly goals should be built upon from your daily goals. And your monthly goals are built from your weekly goals and so on. You see where this is going. It’s that simple.

Set aside 30 minutes to plan your days. Write down those tasks you need to accomplish this week and then break down those days in order to achieve them.

If you’re not already doing this, this will change your life. You’re welcome!

 

Prioritize Your Mental Health –

Is the sight of your kitchen and/or living room starting to get really repetitive? Because SAME!

Take some time each day to unwind. We may not be able to go out and do the fun things we normally do, but we can still go outside and enjoy some fresh air.

Take a walk. Exercise. Do yoga. FIND A HOBBY.

Find something you enjoy to give yourself that peace of mind at the end of the day. Maybe even break up your work days to get your mind right.

 

Take Turns With Your Kids –

 This may or may not apply to you. But many families have been faced with the reality of having both parents at home with the kids, and zero childcare options.

It’s a joy to be home and spend more time with your family, but when you have to work, you have to work. Many of us are having a hard time trying to balance the work from play, and kids don’t fully understand those kinds of boundaries.

In addition to maximizing your productive hours, take turns with your kids. While one of you buckles down and gets things down, let the other spend time with the kids to keep them at ease. Then switch off.

 

Gratitude –

This one has been a tough one for me. I’m usually not the best with self-reflection. But now is as important as ever to take a step back, and look at the world around you.

Put down the phone, turn off the TV, close your eyes and simply think.

Think of all the good things that are going right for you and (this is crucial) recognize them out loud to yourself.

I’m grateful that I still have a job, and I get to stay home and stay safe while I do it. I have my daughter. And we have a new home. In the grand scheme of things, everything is going pretty well. I just have to hunker down and wait it out for a bit.

And that’s okay. I know I’m not alone. We’re all in this together.

 

Virtual Hang Outs –

We’re social distancing right now. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop being social.

Zoom calls with your friends. I’ve used Zoom for many years with work. We utilize it every single day here to stay in touch. But now, it’s become the best way to release stress and socialize with my friends at the end of the day, while I can’t meet up with them in the real world.

Happy Hours, Game Nights, Birthday Celebrations, etc. I was invited to a Zoom call the other night where we played Fibbage. I’ve played Fibbage many times with my friends, but never via video conference. It was just as hilarious as it was in person and I can’t wait to do it again. Corona or not, I highly recommend Jackbox Games with your friends.

BTW, Zoom is completely free for personal use and Jackbox has some great discounts right now. But ask your friends, they might already have it. 😉

 

Lastly, Give Yourself Some Grace –

Working from home has become the new normal for a lot of employees. Dogs are barking in the background of conference calls, kids need help with school work, babies are crying.

We’re still trying to manage our homes while working…or simply stay positive while being so isolated. Be patient with yourself. Know that we’re all in this together and that everyone understands things are a bit chaotic and uncertain.

Try your best and take a deep, calming breath. You’ve got this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Athlete

Student Athlete

Here at Jan Dils, we’re thrilled to connect with our local community and support local residents achieving impressive things. With that in mind, we want to take this opportunity to highlight our Student Athletes of the Week.

Each week, we recognize a local high school athlete who has excelled athletically and/or academically.

For example, during the week of March 10, we recognized Eli Inman, a senior at Williamstown High School. He’s a member of the golf and basketball teams, as well as a member of the National Honors Society with a 4.1 grade point average.

And during the week of February 25, we put the spotlight on Braxton Amos, a senior at Parkersburg South High School. Braxton is a wrestler who is one of the top in his sport at the state level. He’s also on his school’s Honor Roll.

Tune in to WTAP or take a look at their website to learn about the new Student Athlete of the Week.

We’re proud of the young members of our community and happy to have the opportunity to bring attention to their accomplishments.

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