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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

How moving may impact SSD benefits

Missouri residents who receive Social Security Disability benefits will receive the same amount regardless of where they live. This means that they could move to state that has a lower cost of living without seeing a reduction in the benefits that they are entitled to. The amount that a person may receive is based on his or her earnings prior to applying for benefits as opposed to the cost of living in a given area.

However, it is possible to actually get less than the full benefit amount. This may happen because benefits are being garnished or because a person had work activity that negated a portion of the SSD earnings. Benefits are generally garnished to repay tax debts, child support owed or student loan arrearages. Those who lived in states that offered supplemental benefits may receive less when they move if their new home state doesn't offer extra resources.

GAO reveals hazards faced by meat processing workers

The meat processing industry is full of hazards, so anyone connected to the business in Missouri will want to know that the Government Accountability Office has released a report meat processing. After interviewing 72 workers across five states, the GAO found several common hazards and recurrent injuries.

Workers often suffered from repetitive motion injuries, amputations, and cuts from tools like saws and knives. Respiratory illnesses are also prevalent; their cause has been traced to an antimicrobial chemical called peracetic acid, which is sprayed on meat.

Avoiding truck accidents

Driving around large trucks can be intimidating for many Missouri drivers. There are over 2 million large semi-trucks on the road across the United States, and drivers who are sharing the road with semis can use driving strategies to make an accident less likely.

One important tip is to give trucks plenty of stopping space. A truck carrying 80,000 pounds can take 550 feet to come to a complete stop when travelling at 55 miles per hour. Smaller vehicles may be able to stop in less than 200 feet while travelling at the same speed.

3 symptoms of toxic exposure

Many people work in industries where they face potential exposure to toxic chemicals. It may not always be obvious if and when such exposure might have taken place, though. If such exposure goes undetected, it can cumulatively wreak havoc on your health and lead to serious injuries that require medical treatment. It is vital that you proactively monitor symptoms. 

According to Business Insider, professions such as radiologists, embalmers, nuclear medicine technologists and chemical plant workers are among some of the most likely to face exposure to toxins. If you are in any of these industries, you should watch out for the following symptoms of exposure and seek medical treatment if any of them appear.

How those who are depressed may get disability benefits

If an individual in Missouri or any other state is experiencing depression, it may be possible to apply for disability benefits. In many cases, a person may make a concurrent claim for Social Security disability (SSD) and SSI benefits. To have a claim for benefits based on depression approved, an individual will need to provide objective evidence of this claim. Evidence may be provided by the applicant or by the applicant's doctor.

The applicant may be able to describe how the depression impacts his or her ability to function. A medical professional may be able to confirm that an applicant has issues with mood, behavior or perception. The severity of a person's depression may be determined by looking at how it impacts that individual's ability to function and socialize with others. In other words, a person who can't do basic tasks such as pay bills or properly interact with friends or colleagues may be deemed to suffer from depression.

How the SSA handles benefit applications

Missouri residents may need to meet strict criteria to obtain social security disability benefits. First, that person must have a condition that will keep him or her out of work for at least a year. Additionally, that person must have a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from making a gainful living. Although those criteria may not appear strict, many initial applications are denied.

Assuming that a person does receive benefits on appeal, that process can take many months or years to complete. Part of the reason why the criteria for benefit eligibility are so strict is because it offers long-term protection that may not be available through any other means. It is possible that those who are seeking long-term benefits may have other alternatives to make ends meet in the near-term. Those alternatives may include short-term disability benefits for those experiencing a partial disability.

December 2017 now dedicated to impaired driving prevention

Impaired driving affects the lives of drivers, passengers, and bystanders; it is a problem spreading across Missouri and the rest of the United States. On average, alcohol-related accidents lead to one fatality every 50 minutes in this country. As a result, the White House released a proclamation designating December 2017 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The purpose of this is to raise awareness of impaired driving and to prompt individuals, together with their families, friends, schools, churches and community organizations, to do what they can to prevent others from getting behind the wheel drunk. Even one drink can affect driver performance, so everyone is encouraged to be responsible.

Truckers protest in response to new ELD mandate

On Dec. 18, a federal mandate designed to more accurately log and monitor truck drivers is scheduled to go into effect nationwide. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, new Electronic Logging Devices will help keep fatigued truckers off the roadway, potentially preventing hundreds of crashes each year. However, at least one trade organization official claims that the ELDs are a violation of privacy that could compromise driver safety in Missouri and across the country.

Arguing that it has little to do with safety, opponents say that the mandate is really the government's attempt to put small trucking companies out of business. Citing unfairness to the truckers, the president of the United Independent Truckers of America says that the devices will allow the federal government to track drivers 24 hours a day. Fear that the mandate will lead to a loss of income for independent truckers is also a major concern.

Conditions that increase risk of tractor-trailers jackknifing

Truck drivers in Missouri have to deal with changing road conditions all the time. They use their knowledge of their vehicle and proper driving strategies to mitigate situations that could send their big rigs out of control. Jackknife accidents are a common occurrence on highways, and they often result from wet and slick roads or empty trailer loads.

Truck drivers can watch for the first signs of a jackknife by monitoring their trailers in their mirrors. A trailer that swings out means that the tractor and trailer are out of sync. Drivers should check for this problem whenever they need to brake hard. The early stage of a jackknife could be reversed if a driver releases pressure on the brakes. By allowing tires to turn again, the tires have a chance to regain traction and resume a proper course.

Why many drivers make this one big mistake after a car accident

There are no "good" car accidents. In the best of cases, you are merely inconvenienced and not injured, with no damage to your car. In many situations, though, there is at least some damage to the car, and more importantly, to yourself.

However, many drivers make a big mistake after a car accident even if they feel pain: They fail to go to the doctor. Here is a look at why they do this and why it is a misstep.

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