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January 2012 Archives

Man struck by car in Knoxville dies after 6-week battle

Funeral services were held on Saturday, Jan. 28 for a man who was struck while crossing Kingston Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee, in early December. The 53-year-old man lived for another six weeks after the car accident, before losing his battle and passing away on Jan. 18. Services for the Rule High School graduate took place at the Jarnigan and Son Mortuary chapel; the burial was at Mount Olive Cemetery.

The Payroll Tax Cut and Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability beneficiaries should not be worried about continued benefits just because of the continued payroll tax cut. Before 2011, employees and employers each paid 6.2% of taxable payroll. However, the payroll tax cut passed in December 2010 provided that the employees would pay only 4.2% in 2011. The employers' rate remained at 6.2%. The current cut is scheduled to expire on February 29, 2012. This payroll tax cut has put extra dollars into each workers' paychecks thus enabling them to spend more and, hopefully, stimulate the economy along the way.

Workplace safety reform demanded in Tennessee

Several Tennessee-based advocates of workplace safety have rallied together in an effort to reform the standards involved in work-related safety. Within six months in Tennessee, three workers tragically died on bridge projects. Two of those deaths took place in Knoxville and one in Memphis. Now, advocates from East Tennessee are standing up to say that something must be done to prevent workplace accidents.

Changes could be coming for workers' compensation

In 2011, The House Republican Small Business Task Force met on workers' compensation issues and prepared a study that state officials, business groups, labor leaders and legal experts are eager to review. The task force has some issues that they want addressed, but it may not be until 2013 before any legislative changes take place.

Tennessee considers tightening laws for elderly drivers

Driving is a symbol of freedom and independence for many people, young and old. Cars can allow us to live our lives, helping us to accomplish the things we need to do from day to day. Yet as drivers begin to age, the risk they pose to themselves and other drivers is likely to increase. The fear is that elderly drivers may serve as a catalyst for dangerous car accidents, which is why Tennessee lawmakers are thinking about adding regulations for drivers over a certain age.

Social Security Disability and SSI Claimants Deserve Responsible Representation

Social Security Disability and SSI claimants beware who you entrust your valuable disability claim to! Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran an article based on interviews with former "Binder and Binder" employees revealing potentially fraudulent behavior and misrepresentations to the government. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has asked for an official inquiry into the action of this "firm." Potentially fraudulent actions are bad enough, but claimants need to worry more about how these large "firms" handle and care about the claimants' particular cases. I put the word firm in parentheses because many of these groups are not even law firms or, even if they are, they utilize "non-attorney" representatives because they can be paid less. Often these groups are used by long-term disability insurance companies to "help" claimants win their Social Security Disability claims because it would lessen the benefits owed under the long-term disability plan. These groups often have names meant to confuse claimants and present an image of expertise in the area of Social Security Disability. A large number of claimants represented does not equal quality or, sadly, even competent legal representation.

Childhood SSI Benefits for ADHD

Many parents often wonder if their child qualifies for Childhood SSI disability benefits due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Childhood SSI claims are evaluated differently than adult claims for Social Security Disability or SSI. The requirements are actually more stringent. If the child is not working and has "severe" impairments, the Social Security Administration determines whether the claimant has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the criteria of a listing, or that functionally equals the listings. If the claimant has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets, medically equals or functionally equals the listings, and it has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, he is presumed to be disabled. If not, the claimant is not disabled. There is no further question of vocational steps as with an adult disability claim.

A Tennessee police officer injured while directing traffic

Traffic laws exist to help protect motorists across the state. When people fail to follow the law, accidents can occur. Car accidents are very scary and can be life-threatening. As a victim of a car accident, you may face injuries that could severely affect your life or the life of a loved one.

Changes to Rules of Conduct for Reps of Social Security Disability and SSI Claimants

Social Security Disability and SSI claimants are usually represented by Appointed Representative.  The Social Security Administration recently issued final regulations revising the Rules of Conduct and Standards of Responsibility for Representatives that become effective on January 23, 2012. See 76 Fed. Reg. 80241 (Dec. 23, 2011) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-23/pdf/2011-32923.pdf. The final rules revise the "prohibited actions" in the Rules of Conduct, 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1740(c) and 416.940(c), to include the following:

Fire at Young Zinc Mine injures 1, traps 3 underground

Being injured on the job can be a frightening experience. Employees in Knoxville and throughout the state of Tennessee expect that their employers will maintain a reasonably safe work environment. However, sometimes things go wrong.

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Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

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Knoxville, TN 37909

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