The disabled veterans missing out on significant payouts

Many disabled veterans leave the military after serving their country, expecting to receive the appropriate benefits entitled to them. They leave their service suffering from injury or disease, caused directly by their job and yet they find they are not receiving the right compensation. This all comes down to how the VA determines disability rating, but also often a lack of guidance given. 

There are hundreds of different circumstances veterans can find themselves in after their service ends. From being suddenly homeless to living with life-changing conditions that require home adaptations, needing help with education and training to transition into a new work role in society, and many other scenarios that require specific support be put in place.

For spouses and dependents of veterans, too, there are also various situations that they find themselves in. Some of these are taken care of by long term care benefits that many do not even know about. So, what is the deal?

Complicated, lengthy and unknown

These three words are how many veterans and their loved ones would describe the VA disability benefits system. The problem with it is that the process of submitting evidence to support your claim for your condition is often laborious in itself, but then the rating system that makes up the other half of the claim is also often hard to get one’s head around.

The rating is a number from 0-100% increasing in increments of 10%, which is given to disabled veterans concerning measuring the severity of their condition. However, the complication with this process is that if the veteran has more than one illness, their ratings are not combined but yet it is referred to as a combined ratings table.

Many veterans are also rated incorrectly, and so, spend years surviving on fewer benefits than they should be entitled to. A decision to overturn the initial rating can take years sometimes and there is then the added complication of many veterans and their families not even knowing what they are entitled to.

On top of the benefits they do know about, veterans may be entitled to other grants that they are unaware of as the system is so tricky to understand, and these additional things set in place to help are not commonly spoken about. These could include clothing allowances for damage to garments by prosthetic and orthopedic devices, or grants for temporary accommodation or home adaptations.

The forgotten benefit: updated ratings

Then, there is the issue of the often unspoken or forgotten about benefit for veterans: the updated rating. What exactly does this mean? Well, many veterans simply apply for compensation as they leave the military, finally get the correct benefit they are entitled to, and then think no more about it.

However, they will be in the majority in unwittingly carrying on with worsening symptoms, despite being entitled to more compensation for their conditions over time. This is because, just as their condition will deteriorate over time, they will, in turn, be rightly entitled to more benefits to support this change in their wellbeing.

So, they should then be applying for an updated rating, however, many will be unaware of this – or, be deterred by the bureaucracy of the process in their already challenging situation. Nonetheless, they should be enlisting the help of a legal expert so that they can do all of the hard work on their behalf and fight for what they are entitled to.

There are so many deserving disabled veterans in the US who are suffering without the right financial support in place. This needs to change and only when the word is spread and veterans are empowered to incite change in their circumstances can this truly happen.

Steven Avery Legal Case – Back in the spotlight

If you have been following the story of Steven Avery, the man accused of the murder of Theresa Halbach, and the epicenter of the infamous docuseries on the Netflix, Making a Murderer, you may have seen his name making its way back into your feeds and into conversations at work across the company. The rise again into the limelight is due to new evidence. A prisoner currently serving time in Wisconsin wrote a letter confessing to the murder of Theresa. If true, that letter blows the whole case open, and Steven Avery claims that he has been wrongfully imprisoned will finally be believed. (If you or a loved one have been imprisoned wrongfully, head to the link for more information). 

If you are expecting massive movements to happen surrounding the case, you may want to relax, however. Kathleen Zellner, Steven Avery’s famous lead attorney, believes it is just a ploy for money and attention. This is the woman that has been tearing chunks out of the American legal system for years. If she believes it is a hoax, you are probably right to listen. 

If you are in the dark about the incarceration situation, let me condense it for you here. 

Steven Avery owned a salvage yard in Wisconsin. On the day she was killed, Halbach visited the Avery household, and she was there to take a photo of a vehicle for Auto Trader. Her remains were later found in a burning pit at the back of the yard. During the supposed murder, Steven’s 16-year-old nephew, Brendan, was with him at the time.

They were both convicted for murder. During the initial arrests, Brendan was coerced by the police to say he took part in the killing. He had mental problems and it was later found that the detectives used mind tricks to take advantage of him and forced him to admit his part in a crime he did not commit. They interviewed him without a lawyer, and during the interview, he was even heard asking if he would be late to school. He was obviously unsure of his actions.

Because of this, back in 2016, the case for Dasseys mistreatment went to the Seventh Circuit. In 2018 the supreme court simply refused to even look at the case.

Currently, both Steven and his nephew are still in prison. 

The man who has confessed is a man called Joseph Evans. He is currently in prison because he was convicted of the murder of his wife back in 2009. The suspect thing is that he has already approached a documentary maker who is creating a series called Convicting a Murderer. 

The man making this new series, Shawn Rech, says he has been corresponding with Evans for over a year and a half. And his morals meant that he had to pass the confession over to the authorities to check.

We aren’t quite sure what to make of this new update, but if, like us, you love Making a Murderer, I’m sure you can wait to see the new series.

Dealing with workplace hazards

Workplaces often harbor a surprising amount of potential hazards and risks that could leave an employee seriously injured, or make their day to day work much harder to complete than it should be.

No matter what type of environment it is, from an office, to a factory, to a construction site, it’s important that hazards are kept to a minimum and employees know they’re as safe as they can be during the day.

In order to raise employee awareness and guide employer provisions, we’ve put together some advice on dealing with workplace hazards.

Risk assessments

When considering what kinds of hazards there might be around the workplace, it’s important that thorough risk assessments are taken out. This information should also be included in your business’s health and safety policy. 

When pulling together a risk assessment, it’s important to be really observant about every element of your business and how it could affect people’s health, or increase their risk of accident or injury. There might already be a range of personal protective equipment available where you work, but is it enough? A detailed look at everything that gets done on a day to day basis around the business might help spot new opportunities for employee safety.

For example, this might help you realise that you work around fumes and chemicals a lot more than you initially realized. If you don’t have a protective facemask, you might be inhaling toxic vapours that could increase your risk of certain health issues such as lung cancer. In which case, the employer would be liable, and you might want to look for lung cancer lawsuit help to deal with the situation better.

Reduce and eliminate where possible

There are plenty of things that can create risks in a workplace. If it’s possible, try to find ways to completely eliminate a risk. If it isn’t, look for ways that you can change things up to make it a much less notable risk. Some of the things you might consider include:

  • Eliminating chemical inhalation risk by changing to non-toxic cleaning materials
  • Reducing strain risk by providing ergonomic office equipment
  • Reducing fire risk by ensuring all electrics and cables are well maintained, and documents have a secure, safe storage area

Employees and employers should come together and collaborate during this process, to make sure every risk or hazard is identified, and there’s a clear solution offered and implemented.

Continual development

Injuries in the workplace cost everyone involved. Employees are forced to miss work and lose out on wages, while employers may be open to lawsuits and injury claims.

To make sure accidents are as rare as possible, there should be training processes put in place, to make sure that everyone is perfectly clear on safe working procedures, safe ways to use equipment, and ways they can help reduce overall risk around the workplace. This will also help ensure new hires stay safe too, as they’ll have thorough reference material in place from day one.

Every business should ensure effective health and safety policies are in place in order to ensure that employees can work as safely and as productively as possible. Considering the steps above will help ensure that that’s the case long-term.

Retirement: The Dream vs The Reality

Throughout the course of a few years, I have noticed that many people have an interesting perception of what retirement is like. In fact, if I go back to when I was younger, I also had a certain expectation from my years in retirement. However, it is only when you enter the retirement lifestyle you realize just how different the reality can be from the dream of retirement.

  • The dream is that every single day, there will be an exciting adventure that you can embark upon. You can learn and experience new things that you would not have had the time for otherwise.

The reality is that initially, you can experience that sense of excitement. Everyday brings about possibilities for something new and exciting. However, after a few months pass by, you tend to get bored. We are used to living a fast paced life where we juggle various responsibilities all at once. Having so much spare time can be overwhelming since you tend to run out of activities to do –due to factors like age, finance, desire and lack of will.

  • The dream is that not having to wake up early in the morning to work will be a luxurious experience. The dread that you feel when the alarm clock ticks off at 7 o’clock in the morning will no longer be felt in the years of retirement.

The reality is that, as mentioned above, we are used to a fast paced, structured lifestyle. HSBC reported that almost 64 percent of retirees wished that they could have worked a job for a little while longer. There is something comforting about a routine to follow it gives you a sense of purpose.

  • The dream is that you will be able to pursue any activity you wish like. There will be no limiting factor, especially monetarily, because of all the preparations you have made for retirement before.

The reality is that the amount of finance at your disposal will be a major limiting factor when it comes to things you want to do. Even though we all have retirement pans when we are employed, it may not prove to be enough to maintain the same lifestyle as before. The loss of a steady income can force you to make tough decisions so that you can live comfortably.

  • The dream is that expenses in retirement will reduce dramatically. The expectation is that there will be little to spend on because things like mortgages will be paid off and transport costs will reduce.

The reality is that once you have retired, the costs seem to add up. This is especially true because you also do not receive a monthly salary through which you can just replenish your finances. You will be spending much more than you are generating. In addition to this, since more than 45 percent of retirees financially support their immediate family, this is another financial burden which may impinge upon your “dream” retirement.

Why I Refuse To Give Cash As Birthday Presents For The Grandchildren

There are many out there who believe that giving cash as a birthday present to their grandchildren is the best solution as they can buy exactly what they want. They argue that cash is something that every child can use, thus eliminating the idea of buying them the “wrong” present .

Even though there are merits to this argument, I feel that giving grandchildren an actual present is much more thoughtful than merely giving them cash. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be true and why I completely refuse to give my grandchildren cash for their birthday.

One of the main reasons why I opt for giving a present is because of the sentiment of picking something personal. Giving someone a gift entails that they put in thought into getting the perfect item for you. It displays a sense of affection and appreciation since the child will feel like they, and their personality, are valued. There is nothing better than the smile they give you when you give them something they really appreciate.

Presents are also a way through which you can encourage learning. Especially for younger children, you can give them presents that enhance their intellectual capabilities. You can even help them hone their interests and expertise through specific gifts. For instance, lots of toys for younger children come with learning benefits.

Moreover giving a present means you have taken the time to consider what the person who is receiving the gift actually wants. It does not have to be the most extravagant item or even the trendiest, it just has to be something that the grandchild will appreciate, like and use as much as possible.

Lastly, when you give cash to your grandchild, you are encouraging an unhealthy habit. They may start to always expect cash as presents, and even worse, start to expect a certain amount of money each time its their birthday. It also really does not help them appreciate the value of money if it is just given to them everytime its their birthday or at Christmas. Far better for them to earn money, by doing odd jobs round the house such as washing the car for example.

5 Ways to Save Money Once You Retire

Retiring seems like the time when all of our work pays off. I certainly looked forward to a time of pure relaxation after giving it all in the prime years of my life. We spend most of our active years working away in our respective fields. We put in the blood, sweat and effort required to make a living for ourselves and our children. Retirement should be a time when we are pampered; a time when we should worry about nothing else but our wellbeing.
The reality of it is that you will experience a loss of a steady income –something you relied on heavily before. With no money coming in, you have to figure out a way to save money so that you can maintain your lifestyle and pursue any activity you wish. While this process can seem hard, I have compiled a list of ways you can save money once you retire.

  1. Prioritize
    The one thing that will massively benefit you is the concept of prioritization. Evaluate what your needs are and adjust your spending accordingly. More often than not, you will find that it will lead you to managing to save more money for the things that matter in life.
    For instance, something as trivial as an internet connection can be the most important expense as it allows you to remain connected with your family, listen to music, read books as well as watching films and TV via streaming. Its multifaceted nature is what makes it a worthy investment.
  2. Sell Stuff Online
    As well as saving money you also have the option to generate additional income. This could be done in a multitude of ways, the most common being getting a part time job. However, that is something most people are not inclined to do since they want a break from working. So instead, why not try and create some extra cash by selling unwanted items on sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree?
  3. Relocate / downsize
    It is natural for us to want to retire in a house we have lived in for most of our lives as its the place where most of memorable moments occurred. However, you may not need the same amount of space you once did, but still be paying the same amount out each month you were when you had the whole family living at home. If this is the case you could decide to downsize to reduce your monthly outgoings as well as taking some of the equity out of your property at the same time.
  4. Use one car
    If you have a partner or spouse and you both drive, you will likely both have your own car. Whilst this may provide you both with a level of independence, it doesn’t always make financial sense. So if you can afford to from a practical and logistical point of view, sell one car and just share a car between you. This will save paying for insurance, tax and petrol twice.
  5. Invest
    Once you retire, don’t cash out all of the investments you made. It will be highly beneficial if you maintain the investment long term. So if you have shares or savings, try and keep the money invested. If you need to drawdown some funds, do it gradually rather than taking a big lump sum at the start of your retirement. However, if you do need to take a large sum out, use it for something else that can generate an income (such as a buy to let property), rather than spend it on luxury high ticket items that have no investment potential (such as holidays)