Supplementary Security Income

Supplementary Security Income (SSI) is a program put in place by the government-run Social Security Administration. SSI provides extra income for people who are unable to work (due to age, visual impairment, or other disabilities). The supplemental income is intended to cover basic needs (food, clothes, living conditions, etc) for people who are not able to provide for themselves financially. According to the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, the process of applying for Supplementary Security Income can become extremely complicated. Many applicants are well-served by consulting a lawyer if they are serious about collecting money in a timely manner.

According to the website of the Social Security Administration, SSI financial benefits are financed by the United States Treasury, however, states that further supplement the federally provided benefits pay for benefits out of state funds. The state of Texas gives supplementary funds to people who stay in Medicaid facilities. Since extra-care facilities frequently become over-saturated in urban areas, people in need of financial help who live in high-volume cities like Dallas, Austin, San Antonio., and Houston are often greatly helped by the SSI program.

The Social Security Administration released a document at the end of 2012 that outlines the number of people in each United States County that received SSI benefits. In Bexar County, more than 55,000 people were eligible to receive supplementary income. Presumably a large portion of these were San Antonio residents. Of the San Antonio residents that received SSI in 2012, a little over 7,000 received income primarily due to advanced age. Most other SSI beneficiaries (over 48,000 people) received money because of a debilitating injury or illness. The other people, not clearly mentioned in the brochure are dependents, like the children of a disabled parent or guardian.

Defining Domestic Violence in California

Domestic violence has an ugly right to it and brings to mind images of women wearing dark sunglasses to hide a black eye, or long sleeves on warm days to hide bruises. But domestic violence, while largely referring to any “abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act” between a married or cohabiting couple can also include insulting, demeaning or unkind words. It can also include other members of the family such as children and parents.

In most cases, reports of domestic violence are valid, especially after the 1990s when it was considered acceptable to reveal to the public what happens behind closed doors. There have been truly horrific tales from battered wives and abused children about what they had endured living with a violent family member. Many end in severe physical, emotional and psychological problems; others end in death. But there have also been instances when actions are misconstrued, unwise words are spoken in the heat of the moment, and desire for revenge is be carried too far.

When couples argue, sometimes it can get physical; things are said that are regretted almost as soon as it leaves the mouth. There are also times when children have to be physically restrained to keep them from harming themselves, and what can be more frustrating than a rebellious teenager. In retaliation, allegations of domestic violence may be brought in. It is always to try to work it out, but not when formal charges are brought in.

The website of the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C. cautions that if you are charged with domestic violence, admit or explain nothing until you have consulted with a lawyer. The media hype that has surrounded domestic violence cases has made it a very sensitive subject, and innocent until proved guilty is not always the case. You need a lawyer to assess the seriousness of the situation and to plan out what should be done to avoid making a bad situation worse.

Tips for Making a Road Defects Claim

Road defects can be a real nuisance, and occasionally it can do some actual damage to your vehicle. Usually, you rant and rave about it for a while then you pay the repair bill because it really isn’t that big a deal anyway. But when road defects become the cause of serious accidents that lead to injury and death that is a different matter altogether. You may just need to get the party responsible to compensate you for your considerable losses.

The website of Ritter & Associates reports that road defects are often a product of negligence i.e. inadequate maintenance so you will most probably prove your case quite easily. Keep in mind, though, that when you have a lawsuit for road defects, you are taking on the government, which is not something you should do unadvisedly. Moreover, government agencies have sovereign immunity, which limits their liabilities to gross road defects i.e. lack of reasonable care and maintenance. You should consult with a road defects lawyer in your area before doing anything else so you know exactly what you are getting into.

The lawyer will tell you first of all the possible defendants for your particular case depending on the circumstances of the accident. These will include the when, where, what, why and how so that the lawyer can pinpoint the responsible agency. In California, the various agencies in charge of roadwork could be the California Department of Transportation if you were on one of the highways or bridges the crisscross the state. Or the blame could be on the county or city level, or even the contractors which are hired to do road maintenance.

Once you have the relevant information working for you, your next step is to file a notice of a potential injury lawsuit, which will give the agency the opportunity to respond to the claim. This is required in California. If you are lucky, the agency will find that your claim has merit and settled with you then and there. But it is more probable that it will reject your claim. In either case, don’t forget to course it through your lawyer.

Understanding Mortgage Modification

Mortgage modification is defined as any change affecting the original terms of a secured loan. In general, a mortgage modification is requested by the mortgagee (the borrower) because of financial difficulties that affect the mortgagee’s ability to make the monthly payments on time. The mortgager (lender) is under no obligation to agree to a mortgage modification, but most lenders would be agreeable to reduce their potential income to avoid having accounts in default.

Housing mortgages in the US are typically long-term, so it is entirely possible that a monthly payment that was perfectly reasonable at the start of the mortgage may become too much three or four years down the road as the financial situation changes. The recent economic downturn in the US is a perfect example of outside forces seriously affecting the disposable income of Americans, causing mortgage payments to take a back seat to more basic needs. Currently, about 250,000 properties go into foreclosure and more than a third complete the process every month.

In an attempt to halt this trend, the federal government launched the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) in early 2009, which focuses on assisting at-risk mortgagees avoid foreclosure by coordinating with lenders in modifying existing mortgage agreements (started prior to 2009) that would make payments more affordable.

The program raised the hopes of distressed homeowners, but unfortunately it has proven to be less than effective. To date, only about 700,000 homeowners have benefited from HAMP, a far cry from the 4 million targeted at the start of the program. The failure is due mostly to the fact that lenders are not compelled to participate in HAMP, and in most cases, homeowners just waste their time and efforts in trying to get more favorable terms for their mortgages. In the meantime, late fees and other penalties pile up as efforts at mortgage modification progress at a snail’s pace, if at all.

The website of the Bradford Law Offices, PLLC, shows that it is perfectly possible to negotiate for mortgage modification if it is carefully planned, but most homeowners are clueless about the process. It may be advisable to get help from a reputable mortgage modification lawyer who has the knowledge and experience in this field to actually make a difference. At the very least, the lender will not be able to give the lawyer the run-around, and will most probably take the request under more serious consideration.

Small Plane Crashes Have More Fatalities than Commercial Flights

A popular point made to those who have a fear of flying that statistically there is a greater chance of dying in a car than it is when on a plane. In 2010, there were 32,885 road fatalities against 450 for air travel fatalities. This comparison may be true, but it is also true that the comfortable statistics for commercial flights do not apply for commuter or small plane crashes.

The odds of a commercial flight crashing is one in 700,000 even when flying with an airline with the worst safety record, and of dying in a plane crash is 1 in 66,000, so death by plane crash is less likely than by drowning or due to a hurricane. But when it comes to small plane crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board places a higher risk of death. In 2008, there were 63 small plane crashes, 19 of which were fatal for a total of 66 deaths. In contrast for the same year, there were 28 commercial plane accidents of which 2 were fatal, resulting in 3 deaths. Clearly, there is a higher risk of injury and death in small planes.

The most common cause of small plane crashes is pilot error, including failure to check weather reports, overloading, or miscalculations during flight resulting in loss of lift or collisions with another plane or with stationary objects such as a mountain. Other causes identified were poor visibility, fuel exhaustion and instrument or mechanical failure.

There are fewer regulations pertaining to private planes, but the duty of care remains the same. Information on the website of Williams Kherkher indicates that legal action may be appropriate in plane crashes resulting from pilot errors or other negligent actions. Consult with a wrongful death attorney in your area if someone close to you dies due to negligence in a small plane crash.

Awarding Child Custody in Texas in Same-Sex Couples

According to the website of Holmes, Diggs & Eames, PLLC, Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages but does allow same-sex couples to adopt. This can both simplify and complicate matters when it comes to a question of awarding same-sex child custody when the couple separates.

The legal standing of same-sex couples when it comes to child custody can be complex, depending on the circumstances. One scenario is when one partner is the biological parent of the child. Another one is when neither parent is the biological parent but only one partner has legal standing as the adoptive parent. And then there is the scenario when both partners have legal standing as adoptive parents.

Just like in a heterosexual marriage, same-sex child custody can be a bitter struggle if the partners are contentious and unwilling to come to a mutually agreeable arrangement. In the first and second scenario, the biological or adoptive parent will be the default conservator of the child. But the non-biological or non-adoptive parent who has been the long-time primary caregiver may be able to gain some standing in a child custody hearing.

This was the situation in a recent same sex child custody case in Texas. While gaining the right to petition for custody does not guarantee success, it does indicate that having no actual legal standing is not a bar to child custody.

This is because Texas family emphasizes the best interests of the child over the legal right of the parents when it comes to child custody, and this principle applies equally to heterosexual and same-sex relationships. The best thing for same-sex partners to do is to come to an agreement for conservatorship that would minimize the stress on the child, and an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) lawyer will know how to broker such an agreement. If mediation is not possible, then the lawyer would be invaluable in establishing why one parent should be awarded custody of the child to serve the child’s best interests.

Preventing Debt Over the Summer

The summer is, for many Americans, a stressful period of time. Visiting with relatives and in-laws, dealing with heavy traffic congestion, and trying to make sure the kids are taken care of while they’re not in school can all be overwhelming for some people. This list of problems can, furthermore, create its own problems: during the summer, many Americans are forced to take on excessive debt burdens to send their kids to camp or go on vacation.

Personal debt is a serious problem in the United States, and millions of Americans struggle with this issue on an almost daily basis. When debt loads pile up too high, the ramifications can be overwhelming, and may take years to recover from. That’s why it’s important to be conscious of this issue and to work to make sure that you don’t take on too much debt. If planned correctly, this can help you relax and enjoy yourself without having to worry about what will happen once the winter spending spree rolls around.

There are a number of different strategies that you can pursue to help prevent accumulating too much debt. The following are some of the best tips for what you can do to prevent debt:

  • Set a budget – limit yourself to spending only a certain amount. Setting a budget usually requires you to get creative with your vacation ideas, which may end up making for more nearby travel destinations or money-saving “staycations.”
  • Talk to a credit counselor – before planning your budget, you may want to talk to a credit counselor about strategies you can pursue to help minimize your debt buildup. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers free advice to those looking for help with their finances.
  • Make a list – plan out what you want to go do beforehand; that way, you’ll know whether or not your ideas will fit within your budget before you ever leave. Plus, having a list to rely on can help keep you on task.
  • Shop online – whether or not you buy online, shopping online can help you compare prices and make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

These are just some of the strategies that those looking to reduce the debt burdens they take on. If your debt problems are more serious, you may need to consider consulting with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about your financial options and what the right debt strategy for you may be.

The Dangers of Your NuvaRing Birth Control that You May Not Know about

For most American women, their health is one of the top priorities. While this encompasses many issues, birth control is a significant factor for many when it comes to protecting and maintaining their health. Whether a woman takes birth control to regulate her health or to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, having a form of birth control that works is extremely important for many women.

In order to meet the varying needs and lifestyles of women, a variety of birth control options have been made available, from a daily pill to hormone shots, each of which varies slightly. While some women choose to take a daily pill that administers the hormones they need to regulate their health and not become pregnant, this can be difficult for some women to manage. Thus, when the NuvaRing birth control method was made available in the U.S. in 2002, it became incredibly popular with many women.

Because the NuvaRing only requires a woman to insert the birth control once a month, it is much easier and convenient for many women. As such, the NuvaRing was hailed early on as an effective and valued method of birth control. However, several studies have concluded that NuvaRing may not be as safe as it has been marketed to be, causing many women who have been harmed as a result of using it to seek legal action against its manufacturer.

Sadly for many women who trusted the producers of NuvaRing to give them a birth control method that worked and wouldn’t put their health unduly at risk, this trust has been violated. For certain users of NuvaRing, dangerous repercussions have emerged, causing serious physical consequences for those affected. While not every woman who uses NuvaRing will suffer from these side effects, certain women may find themselves the victims of a number of health problems, including stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms, and blood clots.

Although using any medication or drug comes with certain inherent dangers, these serious health problems are more severe than many women were made aware of and more prevalent than originally stated. When using birth control, women have the right to be informed of any known dangers so they can make informed choices regarding their health, and, unfortunately, many women were not given this opportunity when it came to NuvaRing.

Common Mistakes after Divorce among Men

Even though over 50% of marriages now end in divorce, making it extremely common in the United States, this is still unfamiliar territory for a person who has never gone through a divorce before. Divorce and its associated processes and litigation can be confusing and draining, and if a person does not know how to cope with it, then he or she could be more likely to make unwise life choices. There are a number of unfortunately common mistakes that have been seen among men who have recently gone through a divorce, but fortunately, most of these mistakes can be avoided with the right help.

Divorce is hard enough without making a mistake that could extend your difficulties, and men and women are both at risk of making serious mistakes in the wake of a divorce. By first educating yourself about the common mistakes that men make after divorce, and guarding against making them yourself, you are more likely to avoid these key mistakes in the future and find yourself better able to move on with your life after your marriage ends.

5 Post-Divorce Mistakes

Divorce can be traumatic, even if you do not feel that it is immediately so. Many men make several common errors after they get divorced, often as a way to cope with the difficulties that can accompany the divorce process. Five common and avoidable mistakes that men often make post-divorce involve:

  1. Imposing isolation on themselves
  2. Neglecting parental duties
  3. Trying to seriously date too soon after divorce
  4. Becoming angry / openly showing anger
  5. Introducing kids to a new partner too soon

Each one of these mistakes can end up causing lasting damage to an individual and any children they may have. However, these reactions are very common and affect thousands of men all over the United States.

Rather than facing a difficult divorce on one’s own, however, there is support out there for men who are considering or going through a divorce. A consultation with a divorce lawyer, for instance, might provide a man going through a divorce with the advice and tools that he needs to make appropriate and healthy decisions during and after a divorce, and might help him also avoid some of the most common mistakes that men make after a divorce.

The History of Wine in Napa Valley

It might seem obvious today to state that Napa Valley has a long tradition of growing grapes and producing internationally renowned wine.  However, it is probably less well known that this industry, which arguably began when Charles Krug established the first commercial winery in the 1860’s, did not always flourish.  In fact, it nearly ceased to exist because of the two separate, unrelated, and quite unpredictable incidents of biological catastrophe and political machinations.  The remarkable part about these setbacks, which nearly resulted in the dissolution of the wineries, is that they are most likely what gave the current vintners the respect for and dedication to their craft that they have today.

Following Krug’s (or John Patchett’s, depending on where you look) winery, people began to take notice of Napa Valley’s idyllic natural environment for growing wine grapes.  A lot of people, in fact, as the number of wineries expanded to nearly one hundred and forty by 1890.  Now that Napa’s Mediterranean climate and rich soil were a known factor, it would follow that the industry continued to evolve towards the present day.  Despite the fact that vintners were thriving, they were incredibly unprepared for the catastrophic events of the 20th century.

In the early to mid 20th century the vintners of Napa Valley suffered two major blows to their livelihood, the first of which was the Prohibition Act in 1920.  Some of the vintners were able to make do by shipping grapes to home winemakers and by producing sacramental wine for religious purposes, but Prohibition certainly contributed to the fact that very few of the wineries established in the late 19th century managed to survive, including Charles Krug Winery, Chateau Montelena, and Beringer.  Surprisingly, being forced to transform into grape sellers was not the most harmful thing that could have occurred.  Many vineyards were still in place, and when Prohibition was repealed in 1933, they could begin manufacturing wine again.  Robert Mondavi established the first new large scale commercial winery after Prohibition in 1965, after splitting from his family’s Charles Krug estate.  The worst, yet strangely fortuitous, blow would come in the 1980’s.

Phylloxera, already responsible for wreaking havoc among France’s vineyards, was already present in California in the early 1900s.  Many vintners believed themselves protected from the pest by grafting resistant roots to their vines.  Unfortunately, they were either very wrong or simply not resistant to the type of phylloxera in California.  Conservative guesses estimate that nearly two thirds of the wine crops were destroyed and had to be replanted in the mid-1980’s.  While potentially billions of dollars worth in losses seems like irrecoverable disaster, the winemakers and planters responded enthusiastically to the challenge of rebuilding.    Not only did they capitalize on the available research concerning resistant strains, they were also able to match wines to their most favorable regions.  In one stroke they re-cultivated their vineyards to offer distinct aromas, flavors, and textures across a host of unique grape varieties.

The general public was most likely made aware of Napa Valley’s quality a few years earlier, during the 1976 Paris Tasting, in which two California wines beat European equivalents in a blind tasting.  However, Napa Valley wines have held continued international prominence because of the adversity that the industry has overcome, instilling in these vintners a spirit of collaborative dedication to their art.