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Social Security Administration Announces Offices to Close Earlier Amidst Strained Budget

TimeMoney_07312014Starting Nov. 19, Social Security field offices throughout the country will close 30 minutes earlier each day, and starting Jan. 2, they will close at noon on Wednesdays.

In a press release, the agency said that "significantly reduced funding provided by Congress under the continuing resolution for the first six months of the fiscal year makes it impossible for the agency to provide the overtime needed to handle service to the public as it has done in the past."

While the offices are closed early to the public, employees will work on processing cases and clearing out backlogs. The move will help employees to avoid incurring overtime.

A spokesperson said that the Social Security Administration is operating on significantly less funding than it requested and than President Obama requested.

Numerous offices have already been consolidated over the past couple of years to try to cut the agency's budget. However, hundreds of thousands of people visit the agency's offices or call for assistance every day, and those numbers are only expected to rise as the Baby Boomer population continues to age.

The agency notes that most services provided by the Social Security Administration do not require a visit to an office, including applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits. Many services can be completed online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

North Carolina Social Security Lawyers

If you have been denied Social Security benefits or have questions about your legal rights, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation and to find out if one of our North Carolina Social Security lawyers may be able to help you.

What If I Was at Fault for an Injury I Sustained on the Job? Am I Still Eligible for Workers' Compensation Benefits?

HouseConstruction_07312014According to Attorney Barry Jennings, a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law, it does not matter if an injury you sustained while working on the job was your fault because, in North Carolina, workers' compensation claims do not consider negligence when determining benefits.

The workers' compensation system in North Carolina is considered "no fault," and you may still be entitled to workers' compensation benefits even if you contributed to the accident. The major exception to this rule is if you are intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Other factors could reduce the amount of workers' compensation you are awarded, such as willful disobeying of a safety rule.

No matter how you were injured on the job, it is important to notify your employer and to seek medical care immediately. Even if it was a minor injury, it is still a good idea to see a doctor to have your injuries evaluated. Some major injuries may not seem severe at first, and delaying treatment can make recovery more difficult.

It is also important to consult with a workers' compensation attorney if you have been injured on the job. Every case is different, and an experienced North Carolina workers' compensation attorney can advise you on your legal rights if you have been injured on the job and may be able to help you get the full benefits that you may deserve under the law.

If you have been injured on the job, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 right now for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

Recommended Routine Car Maintenance

It is important to make sure your car is always up-to-date on routine maintenance and is in good working condition every time you are on the road to reduce your risk of an accident. There are enough dangers on the road already -- you don't want to end up in an accident because you had a blowout because your tires were wearing thin. Making sure you are up-to-date on routine car maintenance can also help you to avoid costly auto repair by addressing small problems before they become big problems.

Traffic1_06062014Your own maintenance schedule will vary according to the type of car you drive and your driving habits (how often you drive, how far, etc.). However, here is a basic checklist of commonly recommended routine car maintenance needs:

Oil Change

This is the easiest one to remember as it's the most common that people actually do. You need to change your oil every 3 months or every 3,000 miles (whichever comes first). Some newer vehicles say it's OK to do it every 5 months, so check your manual to be sure.

Tires

Proper inflation and tread on your tires in important for ensuring safe handling on the road. Check the pressure on your tires whenever you change your oil, and schedule a tire rotation for every 5,000 miles. Regular rotation will ensure even wear on your tires to reduce the risk of a blowout.

Battery

Most people wait until the battery dies to replace it, but you should have the battery fluid checked about 4 times a year to make sure your battery is healthy. If you do, your battery could last you 10 years.

Power Steering

You don't ever want to be in a situation where your steering wheel locks up or where it is hard to turn the wheel in an emergency situation. Therefore, you should check your power steering fluid every 6 months. Your entire steering system should be checked annually for leaks and damage.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs can effect multiple systems in your car, so it's important to make them part of your routine car maintenance to avoid expensive auto repair later. Fortunately, you don't have to do it too often. Spark plugs should be checked and changed every 100,000 miles.

Belts

Belts are another important part of your routine car maintenance that, fortunately, doesn't have to be done too often. Belts have to be replaced about every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Belts that become worn or loose can present serious risks while you are driving, so it's important to include them in your maintenance schedule.

Brakes

Squealing and grinding are good signs your brakes need to be replaced. You also need to ensure that your brake fluid is at adequate levels and is healthy. Check the brake fluid whenever you get an oil change, and have it replaced every 2 years or every 24,000 miles, whichever comes first.

It is important to check on all your fluids and engine components to be sure that everything is in good working order to reduce your risks on the road. These are some of the most common things to check in your routine car maintenance schedule, but you should check your car manual for specific recommendations for your car.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Filing for Bankruptcy

The decision to file bankruptcy is a deeply personal one that can have a big impact on your life. If it's the right decision for you, it could give you the relief you need to get a fresh financial start and to start taking back your life from the stress and anxiety that overwhelming debt has caused you.

There are many reasons why you might consider filing for bankruptcy, depending on your personal circumstances, including your total debts and your income.

Here are 5 of the top reasons why you might consider filing for bankruptcy:

Confused3_07312014You Have Excessive Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt compounds over time, with high interest rates making it difficult for you to pay down the principal and get out from under the debt. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can discharge all your credit card debt. If you have high credit card debts, bankruptcy can offer you a great deal of relief.

You Have Excessive Medical Bills

If you are injured or become seriously ill, your medical bills can add up fast. Similar to credit card debt, medical bills are almost always unsecured debts. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can eliminate these debts and get relief.

You are Behind on Your Mortgage

If you lose your job or become mired in debt, you may fall behind on your mortgage. Bankruptcy may be able to save your house and help you to catch up on missed payments. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can reorganize your debts and offer you a payment plan, allowing you to include past due mortgage payments. Of course, you will have to pay on the past due amount while also paying your current mortgage payment.

You are Being Harassed by Creditors

When you start to get in over your head in debt, it can feel like you are being hounded by creditors. You may start to dread answering the phone or opening your mail. When you file for bankruptcy, your creditors are prohibited from contacting you about your debts. All the letters and phone calls must stop. If they continue to contact you after you file, you may be able to file legal action against them.

You Have Exhausted Your Options

Bankruptcy is often a measure of last resort for many people. Many try to work out a repayment plan with their credit card companies and mortgage companies but either have no success or don't find enough relief to catch up on their debts. If you have already tried to work out payment arrangements yourself and are still struggling to pay your debts each month -- or maybe are accumulating even more debt in the process -- then bankruptcy may be right for you.

North Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyer

A North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Consumer and Business Bankruptcy Law at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is ready to help. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Find out how you may be able to get the debt relief you need and get back on the road to financial recovery!

*Certain debts may be considered non-dischargeable if the creditor takes action in your case. Those debts include debts obtained by fraud, embezzlement, and willful and malicious conduct. These situations are very rare and are dependant upon your specific facts and circumstances. Your bankruptcy attorney will discuss whether this may apply in your case with you at your free consultation.

Top 5 Auto Insurance Myths

The rules governing your auto insurance policy can be complicated, and most consumers don't take the time to thoroughly review their policies and ask questions to clarify their coverage. As a result, many drivers make certain assumptions about their insurance coverage. These assumptions are perpetuated as auto insurance myths.

Here are the top 5 auto insurance myths we hear when talking to clients:

I Have Comprehensive Coverage, so My Car is Covered for All Types of Damages

Despite what its name suggests, comprehensive coverage only covers certain types of damages to your vehicle, including things like fire, hail storms, theft and vandalism. You must purchase additional insurance to cover other types of damages, such as collision coverage for damages caused in an accident or uninsured motorist coverage for damages caused in an accident with an uninsured driver.

Car Theft_06132014Many drivers refer to "full coverage," as well as comprehensive coverage, in claiming to be covered against all damages. However, there is no one type of insurance coverage that protects against all damages. It is very important to have a copy of your insurance declaration page when talking with a personal injury attorney about your coverage after you've been in an accident.

If Someone Else is Driving My Car and an Accident Happens, I'm Not Liable

Unfortunately, you could be responsible for any damages caused by your vehicle, even if you are not driving at the time. The car insurance you carry for your vehicle could be considered the primary insurance, which would be used to cover damages in the event of an accident. However, if the damages exceed your coverage limits, the insurance policy held by the person driving may then be used to cover the remaining costs.

I am Automatically Covered for a Rental Vehicle Under My Personal Insurance Policy

While your personal auto insurance policy may cover some damages when you are driving another vehicle, you should not count on it providing coverage for a rental vehicle. There is a lot of fine print regarding what is covered when you are behind the wheel of another vehicle and under what circumstances. It's always best to purchase a policy that covers your rental car specifically when you pick it up.

Insurance Claims Will be Paid Fully and Promptly

If this were always the case, we wouldn't be in business. Unfortunately, we have seen that insurance companies will try to dispute coverage and deny claims. That's why it's always a good idea to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer after you've been in an accident. A qualified personal injury lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and try to ensure that you get the benefits to which you are entitled under the law.

My Insurance Company is Loyal to Me

Again, this is something that we've seen is not always true, unfortunately. Even your own insurance company can wrongfully deny your claim for coverage. It is important to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you fight for your rights and try to get the compensation that you may deserve for your injuries.

Make sure that you aren't counting on unfounded insurance myths if you are in an accident. Protect yourself by reviewing your insurance policy thoroughly and asking questions about anything that is unclear. Consult with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights under the law if you have been injured in an accident. The North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you if you have been injured in an accident. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

N.C. Court of Appeals Upholds Worker’s Right to Attorney Fees

A recent N.C. Court of Appeals ruling upheld a finding by the N.C. Industrial Commission to award attorney fees to a permanently disabled worker who contracted asbestosis and silicosis as a result of his employment.

The N.C. Industrial Commission ruled on the case involving FMC Corporation and an employee. In October 2011, the N.C. Industrial Commission found that the man had been "permanently and totally disabled as a result of his asbestosis" as of June 18, 2006.

Paperwork5_07312014The commission awarded the man permanent total disability benefits at a rate of $730 per week for the remainder of his life. The man was also awarded "a reasonable attorney's fee of $12,000, not to be deducted from the sums due to Plaintiff."

The defendant, FMC Corporation, appealed the decision to award attorney's fees, citing N.C. General Statute 97-88.1, which states that if the Industrial Commission finds that a case "has been brought, prosecuted, or defended without reasonable ground, it may assess the whole cost of the proceedings including reasonable fees for defendant's attorney or plaintiff's attorney." FMC Corporation contended that the case was defended on reasonable grounds, and therefore, it should not have to pay attorney fees.

The N.C. Court of Appeals reviewed testimony presented about the man's injuries and concluded that "the expert medical testimony in this case demonstrates that there was no genuine basis for Defendant's denial or defense of Plaintiff's claim."

What is the appeals process if my Social Security claim is denied?

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, there is a strong chance that your claim will be denied. In fact, according to the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR), only about 40 percent of Social Security disability claims are approved at the initial level.

Frustrated4_06042014What should you do if your Social Security disability claim is denied to try to make sure you get the compensation you need to make up for lost work?

You should appeal the decision. The first level of appeal is known as reconsideration. A new disability examiner and group of physicians will then review your claim again and reconsider its merits. While your claim may be viewed more favorably by a new disability examiner, the chances are good that it will be denied again as it is being reviewed by the same agency using the same guidelines.

If your claim is denied at the reconsideration level, you can request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. It is important to file your appeal immediately as you only have 60 days from the date of your denial notice to file. Even if that seems like plenty of time to file, consider that the longer you wait to file, the longer it will take to receive a judgment and the longer it will take to receive your any benefits and back pay you may be awarded.

A larger number of cases is are typically approved at the hearing level. However, if your case is again denied by the Administrative Law Judge, you can appeal again to the Appeals Council. If your case is denied at the Appeals Council level, you then have the option to file a civil action in a United States District Court. If you do not have success at the District Court level, you may appeal to a Circuit Court of Appeals, and then finally to the U.S. Supreme Court.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

The appeals process for Social Security disability benefits can be complex, and an experienced North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer can help guide you through the process. A lawyer may be able to prepare you for hearing and find ways to strengthen your case to improve the chances of having your claim approved.

Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our experienced North Carolina Social Security disability lawyers may be able to help you. Our attorneys are admitted to the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Middle District of North Carolina. In addition, the attorney who heads our Social Security department, Rick Fleming, is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law and is admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

144 Woodridge Court
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078