Social Security Disability
A worker may receive SSDI benefits if he or she becomes unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last or has lasted for 12 months, or is terminal. But being unable to work or having a doctor say that you are unable to work does not automatically entitle you to benefits. To receive benefits, you must contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for them. If you meet certain requirements, your application should be approved. However, less than half of all claims are approved upon application. This makes it critical to seek the aid of a skilled attorney who will help you present your application in the best possible way. At Stampone Law, our caring lawyers can help you build as strong a case as possible and can handle your appeal should your application be denied. It is important to understand that while most claims are denied at the initial level, the majority of those claims are later approved during the appeals process.
Social Security only pays for total, long-term disability. This is because the federal government assumes that you and your loved ones can rely on other sources of income, such as Workers’ Compensation, insurance, and savings, during periods of short-term disability. The Social Security Administration will only grant SSDI benefits to those workers who are unable to do the work that they did before and cannot perform other tasks due to their medical conditions. To receive benefits, you must also have worked in the recent past (typically, five out of the last 10 years). This is because the SSDI program is funded by taxes on workers’ earnings.
To determine whether your physical or mental impairment is severe enough to interfere with basic work-related activities, the SSA will look to its list of medical conditions that are automatically considered disabling. If your condition is on the list, you will most likely be considered disabled. If it is not on the list, the SSA will decide whether it is of equal severity to one that is. If it is, you will most likely be considered disabled. If your condition is not equally severe, your claim can still be approved if the SSA decides that you cannot perform the work you did previously and are unable to adjust to other work. To make its decision, the SSA will examine your medical condition, your age, your education, your past work experience and other factors.
Some examples of conditions that may be considered disabling are Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Depression, Cancer and Congestive Heart Failure.
The skilled attorneys of Stampone Law provide legal services in a wide range of employment matters including disability, wrongful termination; racial, age, religious and other discrimination; sexual harassment; disabilities and accommodations; retaliation; contract disputes; unemployment compensation; and hearings before regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
We know that our clients and their families depend on their jobs, salaries and benefits. When employers engage in unlawful employment practices, the lawyers of Stampone Law can help. Our law firm provides vigorous representation in employment cases in state and federal courts and in alternative dispute resolution forums, including mediation and arbitration.
If you or a loved one requires assistance with an employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. We are always here to address your questions and concerns.Our caring attorneys will work hard to help you. At Stampone Law, you are our first priority, every step of the way.
Wills, Trusts & Estates
Estate Planning often takes a back seat to concerns that seem more immediate and pressing, but regardless of your age or the size of your estate, it is important to set out your wishes and make sure that your loved ones will be provided for in your absence. With the help of an experienced attorney at Stampone Law, proper planning can identify to whom you wish to transfer your assets and can minimize the taxes that your estate will incur. Proper estate planning can also relieve your loved ones of making funeral arrangements and can indicate what kinds of medical care you wish to receive in the event of mental or physical incapacity. Individuals with children should also name a guardian for their children in the event of their untimely passing.
Why You Should Have a Will
Stampone Law attorneys can help you to draft the main estate-planning document – A Will. It is our job to ensure that your will is written within the legal guidelines and that it properly addresses all of your needs and desires. We will help you describe your estate and list how you want to transfer your property. You can also use a will to specify who will care for your children in the event that something happens to you and their other parent, and to name an individual to serve as your personal representative after you pass.Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not have valid wills which means that their estate is divided and handled the way the state sees fit – not necessarily the way you would have wanted. In the event that a person dies without a will (intestate), a “probate” court will divide up the person’s estate for him or her, based on the Laws on Intestacy. “Probate” is the process by which property is transferred from someone who has died to someone who is living. So when someone dies without a will, probate can become particularly complicated and expensive. In addition, your state’s rules for distribution may differ greatly from your wishes. Dying without a will may also impose a substantial tax burden on an estate’s assets. For these reasons, it is much better to execute a valid, thoughtfully drafted will to make your wishes known and preserve your property for your loved ones.
Trusts, Life Insurance and Other Estate Planning Tools
In addition to a will, the many available estate-planning tools include trusts, powers of attorney, life insurance, and gifts that you make during your lifetime. The attorneys at Stampone Law are skilled in the use of these tools. For example, establishing a trust allows you to designate one person – the trustee – to hold legal title to property for another person, called a beneficiary. A trust can be used to help avoid probate and decrease estate taxes.
You may also wish to name a trusted individual to handle your finances for you should you become unable to do so. Such an arrangement is known as a durable power of attorney. However, the individual you select (called an “attorney-in-fact”) does not have to be an attorney.
Many spouses and parents of young children also choose to purchase life insurance policies. Life insurance permits death benefits to pass directly to its named beneficiaries without detouring through probate. The amount of life insurance you may wish to purchase will vary depending on factors such as your age, the needs of your survivors and your other resources.
Health Care Decisions: Planning for Incapacity
In addition to creating a will and deciding upon other methods of property transfer, you may want to plan for the possibility of mental or physical incapacity. Our attorneys can help you to establish advance health care directives, which allow you to instruct others about the types of medical care you wish to receive and under what circumstances. You can also specify another person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Health care directives (also called “Living Wills”) can help your family avoid painful disagreements about medical treatment and will help ensure that your wishes are respected.
Estates and the Business Owner
If you own your own business, you will also need to think about whether the business will continue after you pass. If you want your business to carry on, you will need to decide in advance how that will happen. This is known as succession planning. Similarly, individuals who have business partners may want to decide on buyout or other arrangements that will allow their businesses to continue. This may help to avoid headaches for the remaining partners and ensure the business’ survival.
As you can see, enlisting the help of an experienced, skilled attorney to aid with estate planning is a must. The attorneys of Stampone Law through our association with trained estate planners will help you make your wishes known, minimize the taxes that will be imposed upon your estate and develop the best strategy to provide for your loved ones after your passing. Only a qualified attorney will be able to help you navigate the murky waters of the many laws related to estate taxes, property transfer, wills, trusts and probate to achieve your desired results.Further, if you are named the executor or administrator of a loved one’s estate, we can help you with the responsibilities of negotiating the often complicated probate process which includes notifying lawful heirs about your loved one’s passing, determining valid claims against the estate, filing tax and inheritance returns, and submitting an accounting of the estate to the probate court, among other tasks.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. At Stampone Law, our goal is to make your life easier, every step of the way.