Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

In The Community Archives

Is Your VA Rating for Hypertension Based on Successful Control with Hypertension Medication?

Hypertension is described as high arterial blood pressure.  It is present if the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 90 or more and systolic pressure (top number) is 140 or more, or if both are present.  It has to be confirmed by readings taken two of more times on at least three different days. 

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act - June 2019 UPDATE

On June 12, 2019, Congress passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.  The bill now goes to the President to be signed into law.  The bill comes in large response to a major victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier this year.  This bill would extend presumptive benefits to "Blue Water" veterans who served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam.  The bill also covers veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971, as well as children born to veterans who served in Thailand between January 1962 and May 1975 who have spina bifida. 

Asbestos Exposure, Mesothelioma, and the Effect on Veterans

Veterans who served in any branch of the US military between the 1930s and 1990s are at risk of having been exposed to asbestos during their period of service and could be entitled to disability benefits from VA. Veterans who were exposed to asbestos in-service and have since developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, pulmonary fibrosis, or other respiratory illnesses may apply for disability benefits from VA for these conditions. Most Americans have heard of asbestos or mesothelioma, but many of us do not know what the conditions are or who is affected by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with valuable traits such as fire resistance, fire proofing capabilities, and insulating qualities. These qualities made asbestos perfect for use in the construction of ships, tanks, trucks, aircraft, and even barracks and other military structures in use from the 1930s until the 1990s. All branches of the US military used asbestos widely from 1935-1975 and continued use of structures, vehicles, and vessels with asbestos into the 1990s. When asbestos breaks apart, they release fibers into the air that, when inhaled, can cause mesothelioma and other respiratory problems.

Can I be denied disability because I didn't do what my doctor said?

There is a lot that goes into filing for disability and it seems there are always new rules for denying claims. I want to discuss a new ruling regarding following prescribed treatment. SSR 18-3p went into effect October 29, 2018 and will apply to any decision after that date. This ruling state that someone can be denied benefits if he or she fails to follow prescribed treatment without good cause and that treatment would be expected to restore his or her ability to work.

Qualifications for Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a federal income supplement designed to help the aged, blind, and disabled who have little to no income. SSI is different from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in that SSDI benefits are paid to Claimants who have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI is not based on prior work. The medical standards for SSI and SSDI are the same. Disability for both SSDI and SSI is awarded when a person has a diagnosed physical or mental impairment that is severe and can be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death, and the person, because of the impairment, must not only be unable to do his/her previous work, but must also be unable to do any other type of substantial gainful activity.

Agent Orange Effects Seen in Grandchildren of Vietnam War Veterans

Grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans are being born with birth defects and heart problems that could be connected to exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a powerful poison sprayed by the military to wipe out vegetation, particularly in Vietnam during the war. The military sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to deny the enemy food sources and cover.

AVOIDING PITFALLS BEFORE A HEARING

I want to discuss some things people need to know before they get a Social Security hearing. I have worked in Social Security law for almost 19 years now and I can tell you there is a lot of information that is needed before having a hearing date and here are some things to remember.  

HOW DOES MY WORK IN THE PAST AFFECT MY DISABILITY CASE?

If you have filed or intend to file for disability then know that the work you have done can affect your disability care. When someone files for disability with Social Security, they are alleging that they are unable to work. The basis to Social Security disability is not just based on if you can do work you have done before, but also to consider if there is other work you can do.

Get Help with Your Power Bill

A lot of our disabled clients have difficulty paying all of their expenses every month.  Living is expensive and Supplemental Security Income benefits pay out a maximum of $771 per month for 2019.  It can be especially hard when power bills rise right along with the south Alabama heat in the summer.  But some good news is that Alabama Power offers some programs to help offset some of those costs.

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