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What to know about the Social Security waiting period

Individuals in Missouri and throughout the country may be subject to a waiting period when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. The waiting period starts the month after the established disability onset date. There are no exceptions to the rule, but it may be possible to obtain back pay for up to 12 months prior to filing for benefits. Applicants who have been disabled for at least 17 months prior to filing may not necessarily be impacted by the waiting period.

It is important to note that applicants must be able to prove that they became disabled 17 months before they requested benefits. This will be done through medical records and other forms of evidence sent to a case examiner or reviewed by an administrative law judge. Those who are apply for Supplemental Security Insurance are not subject to a waiting period. However, they are also not entitled to any type of back pay after their applications are approved.

Study reveals how worryingly common distracted driving is

Most Missouri drivers know that typing out a text message or checking social media feeds while behind the wheel can be extremely dangerous, but they may not be aware that hands-free devices and sophisticated automobile infotainment systems can be just as distracting. Anything that takes a driver's attention away from the road ahead has the potential to cause an accident, and this includes using voice commands to control communications, entertainment and information technology. According to a researcher from Liberty Mutual Insurance, features that allow multitasking behind the wheel can be especially dangerous because they encourage drivers to overestimate their abilities.

The researcher came to this conclusion after helping the insurer conduct a study of driving habits in the US and Western Europe, the results of which make for sobering reading. Almost 9 out of 10 of the millennials surveyed said that they use their cell phones while driving, and they were also more likely than other demographic groups to admit using the devices to perform highly distracting tasks like watching videos, reading and writing text messages and checking social media websites.

Workers' comp for repetitive stress injuries

Injuries on the job are quite common, and the types of injuries vary. While most people think of accident injuries, certain injuries can develop over time.

Thankfully, just like other workplace injuries, employees can seek compensation for their repetitive stress injuries. There are a few important things to understand about this process.

Police reports don't collect enough accident data

Police reports in Missouri and around the country fail to capture adequate amounts of data following auto accidents, according to a recent report by the National Safety Council. This lack of data makes it harder for traffic safety experts to understand the true causes of accidents and develop effective solutions.

U.S. traffic deaths have hit or exceeded 40,000 for the last three years. To determine what data states are collecting on auto accidents, NSC researchers analyzed police reports from around the country They discovered that no jurisdiction does a thorough job of collecting relevant crash data. For example, all 50 states fail to capture information on a driver's fatigue level at the time of an accident. Meanwhile, 32 states fail to report drivers' hands-free cellphone use, the same number fail to provide specific drug information after drivers test positive for drug use, and 26 states fail to capture whether a driver was texting before a crash. In addition, all 50 states fail to collect data on drivers' use of advanced driver assistance technologies, 35 states fail to list teen driver restrictions and 47 states don't collect drivers' use of on-board infotainment systems.

Stay safe on the road by avoiding distractions

Every year, distracted driving crashes result in thousands of fatalities in Missouri and across the United States. In 2017 alone, there were 3,166 such fatalities reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To stay safe, drivers will want to reevaluate how they act behind the wheel and recognize all the things that distract them.

First, there is the issue of smartphone use. Even hands-free devices can steal a driver's attention from important signals, so it is always wise to put the phone on Do Not Disturb. Unfortunately, drivers can be disturbed by conversations with passengers, too, so some drivers may need to limit the number of passengers they take with them.

Length of Social Security disability hearings may vary

People who are attempting to claim Social Security disability benefits in Missouri are generally required to attend a hearing as part of the process. In many cases, hearings are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. These are cases in which the judge has already decided in favor of the claimant, so there is little need for discussion. In the simplest hearings, the judge may simply verify some of the information before entering a decision.

The administrative law judges who preside over Social Security disability cases have access to the entire file of the claimant prior to the hearing. The file is likely to include medical records and any supporting evidence the claimant's lawyer has put together in support of the claim. If the file looks sufficient to the judge to support the claim, he or she may already have decided the case even before the hearing begins.

How companies can provide better data to OSHA

Companies in Missouri and throughout the country reported 4,185 workplace fatalities to OSHA between January 2015 and April 2017. Another 23,282 severe injuries were reported to OSHA during this same period of time. However, it is thought that the actual number of severe injuries is twice as high as what was reported. Companies may not report a severe injury because they are worried about fines or other negative consequences.

It is also thought that some businesses aren't aware of the reporting requirements or erroneously believe that they are in compliance with them. Of course, it can be in an organization's best interest to accurately report all serious injuries and workplace fatalities. Furthermore, it is worthwhile to investigate the causes of these accidents and how they can be prevented in the future. From there, organizations should put corrective measures in place and verify that they have been implemented.

Summer hazards to watch out for in construction

The summers in Missouri can be brutal for both indoor and outdoor workers with those in the construction industry put at the highest risk. The following are just five safety hazards that construction workers face in the summer and what their employers can do about them.

Heat-related fatigue, the first one, can impair workers both physically and mentally. It can be averted with hydrating fluids and frequent breaks in a shady area. Second, there is the danger of heat-related illness. Workers should be trained on how to identify its symptoms. If possible, employers can have employees work in the early morning or late in the evening when it is cooler. Canopies and umbrellas on the job site can come in handy.

Safest compact cars of 2019

Owning a small car comes with many benefits, including better gas mileage and easier parking. However, some smaller vehicles can make you more susceptible to injuries in an accident. But that is not the case for every small car. 

If you want to drive a small car that keeps you safe, a good place to start looking is the Top Safety Pick list from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Here are some 2019 compact vehicles with the best collision-prevention technologies and crash test ratings.

Trump administration may roll back trucking regulations

Missouri drivers may be even more concerned about risks on the roadway after reports that the Trump administration is planning to roll back safety regulations in the trucking industry. Truck drivers' hours on the job are limited by hours of service regulations. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent truck driver fatigue, a documented contributor to many serious crashes. Truck accidents are a particular danger to others on the road, because the size and weight of large trucks mean that the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles are much more likely to suffer serious injuries and even fatalities.

Despite the danger of truck crashes, the Department of Transportation is reportedly aiming to change these regulations. Under current law, truckers can only drive 11 hours as part of a 14-hour shift. They must wait 10 hours before driving again or risk being out of service and unable to work until the limitations pass. Industry groups say they want the laws to be more flexible, but safety advocates warn that this may be code for deregulation that put lives at risk on the highway. They say that large truck crashes are already on the rise. In 2017 alone, there were 4,657 fatal accidents involving semi-trucks, a 10% increase over the previous year.

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