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Cleveland Tennessee Legal Blog

Chances for a successful Social Security Disability appeal

When a Tennessee resident is suffering from a medical condition, injury or illness that leaves them unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance can be critical. It is problematic in myriad ways if the claim is denied. However, there are options to appeal the decision.

When appealing a denied claim, it is wise to know the odds of having the denial overturned and for the claim to be approved. The first two levels of appeal after a denied claim for Social Security disability benefits are reconsideration and a disability hearing. With reconsideration, the same criteria are used as for the initial application. This makes it difficult to have the decision changed during reconsideration unless new, compelling evidence is presented.

Driving tips for an accident-free winter

Winter roads are typically icy and snowy, and this can pose a problem for many drivers in Tennessee. Tires lose their traction on such roads, and cars are more apt to go out of control, but most accidents in winter are due to driver negligence. It will benefit drivers, then, to consider the following safety tips.

Slowing down is the first essential step because traction is lost the faster one goes. The second step is to avoid tailgating, rather leaving a space of at least five to six seconds between one's self and the vehicle in front. This is, in fact, a good distance to maintain in every season.

Distracted driving causes crashes, injuries and deaths

When you're traveling, you should know to pay attention to the road. If you're in heavy traffic, you need to slow down. You need to abide by the speed limit and stay focused.

Sadly, around 27% of car crashes are linked to cellphone use. A 2015 report from the National Safety Council estimates that texting-related crashes have increased from 5% to 6%, and people using cellphones to talk while driving has remained steady at 21%.

How SGA impacts a disability application

Tennessee residents who are applying for federal disability benefits are advised to keep track of the substantial gainful activity, or SGA, threshold. In 2019, those who are making more than $1,200 a month are not entitled to receive a monthly Social Security disability payment. The application will not be reviewed by an examiner, which means there is no chance that it will be approved.

However, if an individual's income drops below the SGA limit, he or she may be able to apply for benefits at that point. Those who are currently receiving a check from the government could have those payments suspended if their income rises above the SGA amount. Individuals may be entitled to a disability payment if they have a physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible to work. In some cases, applications may be approved because a person has multiple conditions that make it impossible to maintain gainful employment.

Daylight saving time can increase crash risk for drivers

With the end daylight saving time on Nov. 3, people in Tennessee and across the U.S. turned back their clocks. While this annual tradition provides an extra hour of sleep, it may also increase the risk of traffic accidents, according to AAA.

Daylight saving time can change a driver's sleep patterns and disturb their circadian rhythm, making it more likely they could get in a crash. In fact, a study by the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia found that the number of late afternoon collisions went up during the first two weeks following the autumn time change. This is because sleep disruption can affect a driver's alertness, concentration levels and reaction times. To avoid these issues, traffic safety experts recommend that people try to go to bed at the same time and get plenty of sleep.

How to proceed after a disability application is denied

There is a chance that Tennessee residents will have their applications for disability benefits denied. In some cases, an application may be denied more than once. The steps a person takes after having a claim denied depends on where they are in the claim process. If an individual filed another initial application, he or she would want to appeal the decision. However, if an applicant had a first appeal denied, the case would then be appealed to a judge.

Medical evidence will play a large role in determining whether an application is approved at some point. Ideally, the evidence will establish the date at which an individual became permanently disabled. Applicants will also need to provide recent medical records to establish that they are truly incapable of working or earning a gainful living. To qualify as recent, medical information must be no more than 90 days old at the time an application for benefits is submitted.

More than 47,000 drivers cited during safety blitz

Police officers around the country cited almost 47,000 passenger and commercial vehicle drivers and issued more than 85,000 warnings during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's most recent Operation Safe Driver Week. The annual road safety blitz began on July 14 and ended on July 20. The CVSA asked law enforcement to concentrate on speeding violations during Operation Safe Driver Week, and 17,556 of the 46,752 citations issued were handed to drivers who either exceeded posted speed limits or drove too fast for prevailing traffic conditions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, excessive speed is a factor in one in four fatal motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee and across the U.S.

While the goal of Operation Safe Driver Week is to reduce truck accident injuries and deaths, the vast majority of the drivers ticketed during the safety initiative were behind the wheel of passenger vehicles. Government crash data reveals that most deadly tractor-trailer crashes are caused by a reckless car, SUV or pickup truck driver.

Age and education may be considered in SSD cases

Age and level of education can each play roles in the evaluation of Social Security Disability claims in Tennessee. Age may come into play when the person is 50 years old or older, and there is another important age point at 55. Level of education may be important to both the SSI disability and Social Security Disability programs. Generally speaking, the effect of education on the evaluation process is less than might be expected. There are many cases in which the person's level of education plays no role at all.

When cases are approved because the applicant has met the requirements in the Social Security disability list of impairments, also known as the blue book, that means the applicant has provided sufficient medical records to prove up their claim. This is true for meeting any specific listing, including bipolar disorder, lupus or degenerative disc disease. However, most of the cases that eventually receive approval do not involve a listing that has been met.

Work history important to disability benefits applications

Work history is an important part of the application process for Tennessee residents who are seeking Social Security Disability benefits. While providing a medical record is one important part of backing up an application, a work history record is equally important and must be submitted along with a disability benefits application. The Social Security Administration uses this history to determine whether an applicant can return to previous employment, must pursue a new occupation or is too disabled to work.

There is no public record of past employment, so the Social Security Administration relies on the information provided by the applicants. Most people think that their medical records and doctors' reports are the most important part of their claim, but these work records form a critical part of the decision-making process. In order to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits, applicants must show that they have a severe impairment that will persist for at least a full year. It must prevent the applicant from working and earning a gainful income.

Protecting yourself from drivers who don't carry proper insurance

Tennessee is a state known for its Christian, conservative values. Usually, those values include personal responsibility and a strong work ethic. Unfortunately, not everyone adheres to the same standards. There are people who, due either to temperament or perceived necessity, violate certain laws that are also important social rules.

The state of Tennessee requires that all individuals who drive vehicles on public roads carry both a license to drive and a liability insurance policy on the vehicle. Still, many people find the expensive monthly payments for insurance prohibitive.

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Logan-Thompson, P.C., Attorneys at Law
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Cleveland, TN 37311

Phone: 423-716-6261
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