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Protecting The Disabled And Injured Since 1974

Birmingham Legal Issues Blog

On disability? Watch what you post online

As an Alabama resident who currently receives disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration, you may already know that your ability to continue to receive benefits depends on whether your disability is likely to ever improve, among other factors. At the Law Offices of Clark, James, Hanlin & Hunt, LLC, we understand that the government is considering granting the SSA access to the social media accounts of those receiving disability benefits in an effort to help reduce the number of Americans making fraudulent disability claims.

Per U.S. News & World Report, about 10 million Americans currently receive disability benefits. Because the current administration believes some of the people receiving these benefits are doing so without just cause, the government is considering monitoring social media accounts in a manner similar to which a divorce attorney might do so.

Why so many disability applicants do not get benefits

An injury or illness can bring your life to a temporary halt while you recover. For many, a few days in bed or under medical supervision is enough to get them back on their feet. However, some illnesses or injuries can sideline you for a much longer time, indefinitely placing your plans on hold and your finances in jeopardy.

If you have a medical condition that will last longer than a year, or if doctors have told you that your illness would result in your death, you may be considering applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. Before you begin the process, you will want as much information as possible to avoid making a mistake that can result in the denial of your claim.

Financial abuse in nursing homes

On our blog, we recently explored sexual abuse that occurs within nursing homes. In this post, we will look into financial abuse, another problem in many nursing homes. Financial abuse is especially concerning for a variety of reasons and it is important to draw attention to this problem so that victims can understand their legal options and address wrongdoing. Unfortunately, many people have endured financial abuse without realizing it, while others have stayed silent because they were worried that trying to hold someone accountable for their mistreatment would be pointless.

Unlike physical abuse, which can leave bruises and scars, financial abuse can be very difficult to detect. Someone may be taken advantage of financially in different ways, and they may not realize that someone who is supposed to take care of them is actually manipulating their finances and stealing from them. Many nursing home residents have been taken advantage of from a financial standpoint, and people who are responsible for this behavior should never be allowed to get away with their actions. Sadly, this happens far too often.

Addressing sexual abuse in nursing homes

Nursing home abuse and neglect takes all sorts of forms, including abuse that may be given less attention (such as financial abuse). Unfortunately, some people living in these facilities are subjected to abuse that is sexual in nature. Sexual abuse in nursing homes can be especially challenging for various reasons. In some instances, victims feel ashamed about what took place even though they were not responsible for the abuse in any way. Sadly, these feelings can lead to silence and allow someone to get away with unthinkable acts. Our law firm believes that those who abuse residents in nursing homes must be held fully responsible.

Unlike physical abuse, which can leave visible marks, sexual abuse can be more difficult to detect. In some cases, the loved ones of those who are abused may suspect that something is not right. If your loved one lives in a nursing home and you are afraid that they are being sexually abused (or any other type of wrongdoing is taking place), it is imperative to examine their circumstances carefully and take action if necessary.

What are the risks involving hernia mesh?

Weird Al Yankovic’s parody song entitled “Living With a Hernia” describes hernia agonies in amusing detail. However, there is nothing funny about having a hernia, as you know. When you and other Alabama residents seek treatment for a hernia, repairing the breach with surgical mesh is a likely suggestion. It can help to understand the potential risks before undergoing surgery.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, surgical mesh is one of the most common treatments for hernias in the United States. The mesh is commonly used to reinforce the hole or weak spot in your muscle or connective tissue that compromises the nearby organs or intestines. You can think of the procedure as strengthening the weakness with an extra layer of material that holds everything together, rather than relying on stitches alone to repair the hernia. Medical professionals say that using surgical mesh in hernia repairs can minimize your recovery time and improve your overall outcome.

What do you need to prove disability for SSDI?

If you need to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will need to prove to the Social Security Administration that you are disabled. Your claim may be denied once or even twice if not handled correctly, and you might not be able to wait that long.

Is the nursing home chemically restraining your parent?

If you are one of the numerous Alabama residents who had to place your parent in a nursing home because of his or her deteriorating physical or mental condition, you likely spend a fair amount of time worrying that (s)he does not receive the care there that (s)he needs. Unfortunately, based on the results of a recent investigation by Human Rights Watch, you may well have valid concerns

HRW investigated 15,000 nursing homes across the country and discovered that many of them routinely give their patients antipsychotic drugs, including Haloperidol, Seroquel and Risperidone, even though the patients do not need them and have never received a diagnosis for an illness or condition that requires them. So why do the nursing homes do it? To control their patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other conditions that often make them combative and difficult to care for. Elder rights advocates term this practice chemical restraint.

Non-physical signs of neglect or abuse

Alabama residents expect their loved ones to be treated with kindness and respect when they leave them in the care of a facility. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect do happen at these institutions sometimes. What can a person do to look for some of the signs that might not be as obvious as a bruise?

Physical abuse is not the only type of harm that a resident may suffer from in a nursing home. FindLaw state that there is also mental, emotional, and even sexual abuse that may occur. Neglect can also be an issue, though this may possibly be unintentional due to a place taking on more residents than it should. Mental or emotional abuse can be difficult to pinpoint because it doesn't leave physical evidence in many cases. However, there are still telltale signs that can come from personality changes.

Recognize elder neglect

When you put a family member in an Alabama nursing home, you typically expect this person to receive the kind of care you cannot provide. In some situations, though, you may find that the nursing home staff is neglecting your loved one. At the Law Offices of Clark, James, Hanlin and Hunt, LLC., we understand that the neglect of a senior is a serious incident.

You may think that nursing home neglect is the kind of incident that never happens. Unfortunately, your elderly family member might not receive enough care if a nursing home is not well-run or does not have enough staff members. Sometimes your loved one might not be able to tell you if he or she is being neglected, or he or she may think the level of care is normal. In this situation, it is important for you to know what elder neglect looks like so you can keep your loved one safe.

How disability-friendly are Alabama’s major cities?

A recent report suggests that, compared to other large U.S. cities, Alabama’s major cities may be particularly challenging places to live for people with disabilities.

The WalletHub report ranked 182 large U.S. cities for how good of places they are for individuals with disabilities. Four Alabama cities, including Birmingham, were included in the rankings.

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Birmingham, AL 35203

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