Wills

If you don’t have a will, you risk leaving your property to the state or leaving your family a mess to clean-up. A will allows you to determine how your property is distributed, instead of the probate code. A will allows you to disinherit individuals that might take otherwise. A will allows you to do away with the requirements of posting a bond and having an accounting–both expensive propositions. Therefore, save your family a lot of hassle and expense, and put your property in the hands of those you choose. Have a will drafted ASAP.

US Supreme Court Says 7 Minutes Unreasonable Wait for Dog Sniff

Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates Constitution even if it’s only seven or eight minutes. A traffic stop becomes unlawful if it is prolonged beyond the time reasonably required to complete the mission of issuing the ticket. This could include checking driver licenses, inspecting the registration and insurance, and checking for outstanding warrants. See Rodriguez v. U.S., U.S. Supreme Court, Docket 13-9972, 4/21/15.

US Supreme Court Bolsters Pregnancy Discrimination Act

In a case involving a pregnant UPS delivery driver with 20 pound lifting restriction, the U.S. Supreme Court found that UPS must treat pregnant workers like it treats other workers with similar disabilities.  UPS had successfully argued at the Fourth Circuit that pregnant workers were different from non-pregnant workers even though UPS gave accommodations to injured workers with similar limitations. See Young v. UPS, Docket 12-1226, 3/25/15.

Social Security Disability

Social Security has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to identify and pay individuals quickly who suffer with certain conditions. To see which conditions meet the Compassionate Allowance criteria, follow this link http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm.

Social Security Disability

If you are 50 or older and limited to sedentary or light duty work, it becomes much easier to prove you are disabled and entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Even if you are a high school graduate with skilled work experience, you may be disabled if your skills are not transferable to other jobs. See Code of Federal Regulations, Appendix 2 to Subpart P of Part 404–Medical-Vocational Guidelines.

Social Security Disability

Some Wounded Warriors and Veterans Who Have a Compensation Rating of 100% P&T are unaware that Social Security may expedite the processing of their disability claims. Veterans are eligible to receive disability insurance and SSI depending on whether they meet the definition of disability, the number of earned credits they have and whether they are engaged in substantial gainful employment. Go to http://ssa.gov/people/veterans/#a0=3 to apply for benefits and learn more.

Social Security Benefits

In order to be eligible for Social Security Retirement, Disability and Survivors Benefits, there must be a minimum number of credits reported. Credits are based on earned income reported by your employer (W2) or you if you are self-employed. It’s important to check you earnings record once a year to make sure Social Security is getting the correct information. You can check your record at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/. You can correct your record, but not after three years, three months and 15 days from the end of the taxable year in which wages were paid. I have seen huge gaps in reported earnings of my clients. So check your earnings record to insure that you get the benefits you deserve.

Parental Rights

The Alabama Supreme Court recently clarified a previous decision regarding the termination of parental rights. A mother moved the juvenile court to terminate the father’s parental rights due to his abandonment. She did not allege that the child was dependent, delinquent, or in need of supervision which is clearly stated in the code to invoke the court’s jurisdiction. The Supremes reasoned that it was the intent of the legislature to give the juvenile court exclusive jurisdiction over all terminations of parental rights when the present code was merged with a former code. Therefore, any party seeking to terminate parental rights for any reason should look to the juvenile court. See, Supreme Court of Alabama, October Term, 2014-2015, 1130250, In re: A.H. v. B.C., Limestone Juvenile Court, JU-13-25.01; Court of Civil Appeals, 2120877.

Homeland Security

A U.S. air marshal alerted the press of a decision by TSA to cut marshals from flights known to be at risk for hijacking. The TSA fired him for “disclosing sensitive information”–a TSA regulation. He appealed based on the fact that he hadn’t broken any law and he had a right to alert the public of safety issues under a U.S. whistleblower law. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. However, this doesn’t mean that we will be alerted in the future, because Congress or even the President by executive order could make such revelations illegal. See, Dept. Homeland Security v. MacLean, No. 13–894. Argued November 4, 2014—Decided January 21, 2015.