BEST Help for SSA Benefit Applicants
Mesriani Law Group

Are you thinking about applying for a Social Security benefit lately? Do you want to have the best chances in having that application approved? Do you want to ensure your chances in receiving Social Security benefits when you apply? The Social Security Administration (SSA) is giving you tips to qualify for the various benefits it offers.

The “best” SSA tool for you

The SSA’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) will give you a list of benefits that you are eligible and tell you more information to ensure that you pass the qualifications. Answering the questions in this tool only takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes. While the tool will be asking some vital information about you, it does not access your personal SSA records.

How can you maximize BEST?

To be able to get accurate answers from the tool, you need to answer all of the questions. After doing so, BEST will be listing down the programs that you could qualify for. If you happen to be receiving benefits from the SSA already, the tool will not screen for the same benefits again but it will screen for other benefits.

Is BEST safe?

You should not worry with the tool itself. The SSA will not keep any record of your answers. If you want a copy of your answers for your records, you have to print a copy of it as you go through and answer the questions in the tool. If you don’t understand the questions, you can click on the question mark icon and instructions for that question will be provided to you. BEST can also be used with assistive technology, perfect for people with disabilities.

Where will the tool lead you?

After you answer all of the questions in the tool, you will then see the SSA programs that you are eligible of. If you want to apply to any of the benefits recommended by the tool, you must contact the SSA or visit any of their field offices near you.

The SSA wants every American to enjoy its services and benefits. That is why it keeps on developing solutions, like this tool, to help people know the SSA’s processes and file claims for the benefits. So enjoy BEST now and apply for that SSA benefit that you need now. Contact Los Angeles Social Security claim lawyers to help you file for your claim, too.

Secrets to Social Security Retirement Benefits Application
Mesriani Law Group
The Social Security is the greatest gift that the federal government has given to the people in the twilight of their lives. These people have worked themselves off for decades trying to earn a decent living for them and their families. Now that the time for them to retire has come, wouldn’t it be nice to know that there will be something that will help them take care of themselves?

Applying for Social Security benefits should be not taken too easily

Basically, retirement benefits are the greatest promise of Social Security to our elders as these will give them the financial assistance that they need. They only need to accomplish the necessary forms and submit the needed requirements and their benefit claims will be processed in no time.

However, most people don’t really give much care about their application, thinking that it will be approved anyway. One must remember that not all of the claims are approved just that. The Social Security Administration (SSA) needs an individual to prove their disability first before their claims are approved. So make sure that you have everything sorted out with your application to make sure that you won’t have to worry about this and enjoy what life has to offer for you.

Making sure that your application is approved

More than the forms needed, you have to make sure that the requirements for your claim is enough to prove your disability or that you should really retire. To do this, you have to undergo a thorough medical check with your trusted physician.

Make sure that all of the illnesses that you might be experiencing are well documented. Heart illnesses, rheumatism or other common sicknesses faced by older people must be mentioned in your records if you are suffering from it. These will help the SSA give you additional assistance for your medication and treatment. Ask for the help of a Social Security disability lawyer to improve your claims’ chances to be approved.

Given the few remaining years of your life left for you, worrying about your Social Security benefits should be the last of your worries. So invest on a good application and you’re sure to enjoy the perks of your Social Security benefits.

About Self-Employed Individuals’ Eligibility for Social Security Disability
Mesriani Law Group
A lot of people are not aware that self-employed individuals can apply for Social Security disability benefits. This stems from the notion that only employees are eligible to do so. Indeed, even the self-employed may be entitled to benefits as disabled employees whose claims are approved do.

What people should know about the eligibility of the self-employed is that unlike employees, the basis for their approval is on their income. For the Social Security Administration (SSA), the deciding factor for a self-employed individual’s eligibility to receive disability benefits is whether or not he or she reported his or her income.

As it is, both employees and self-employed individuals must have enough work credits to become eligible for disability benefits. On one hand, the employee’s chances of receiving benefits lies on his or her work history, as well as the taxes he or she has contributed during his or her working years.

On the other hand, a self-employed individual would earn work credits if he or she reported his or her income each and every year and has paid his or her taxes. If he or she does not do so, then he or she won’t be considered eligible. Another option, though, is that he or she can file for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Basically, a self-employed individual can earn up to at least four credits every year. For every $1,069.00 of net earnings reported, he or she is entitled to one work credit. As long as the reported income is accurate all throughout and that the work credits are enough, then he or she may be eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

As such, it is the responsibility of the self-employed individual to report his or her earnings diligently. Also, he or she should still remember that aside from the work credits, he or she must provide sufficient medical documentation that would support his or her disability claims being severe and likely to last for at least a year.

Accordingly, the self-employed individual may seek the expertise of any Los Angeles Social Security claim lawyers so that he or she can increase his or her chances of getting his or her claim approved.

Fraudulent Acts in the Eyes of the Social Security
Mesriani Law Group

When applying for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA), it is a must that you provide valuable information to support your claim. For you to be eligible for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you must present medical and financial evidence in accordance with either program’s guidelines.

Since you are dealing with a federal agency, it is imperative that you provide truthful statements and other relevant information with regard to your claim. Otherwise, you may likely face criminal charges for fraud. You may be charged of such grave offense if you knowingly did so.

Not only is fraud present in the disability application process. Even fraudulent actions could happen when you become either an SSDI or SSI beneficiary. Meanwhile, here are some of the actions that are considered fraudulent in the eyes of the Social Security:

•    Lying or misrepresenting on the “material facts” you disclose. Basically, “material facts” are those in which the SSA relies on to determine your eligibility for disability benefits. One example is when the SSI applicant does not mention a certain asset (for example, a vehicle) in his or her claim so that he or she could qualify for benefits.

•    Lying about your monthly earnings. When applying for either SSDI or SSI, disclosing your earnings is a must because these will help the SSA determine your eligibility for benefits. You’d be committing fraud if you failed to mention your earnings to the Social Security.

•    Failing to inform the SSA about certain changes that could affect your benefits. If you failed to or intentionally did not report anything that could affect your disability benefits, such as changes in your living arrangements (marriage, divorce, childbirth, etc.), then you have committed fraud.

Being convicted of Social Security fraud entails grave consequences. You may be fined $10,000.00 or may serve up to as much as 15 years in federal prison, or both. Of course, that would depend on the Social Security law you violated.

If you are being accused of fraud when you believe you did not, it is best that you seek a Los Angeles Social Security disability firm that can help you with your problem.

Your Doctor’s Role in Your Disability Claim
Mesriani Law Group

For the Social Security Administration (SSA), the only way for you to be qualified for Social Security Disability benefits is to back up your claim with supporting information. One of the pieces of evidence that you must include in your disability claim are your medical records. Apparently, these play a huge role in determining whether you are really eligible to draw benefits from the Administration.

Laboratory and clinical findings, as well as the diagnosis of your disabling condition and the medications you take are just few of the things that you must show in your claim. However, that alone does not fully strengthen your chances for disability benefits. For you to increase your chances of an approval, you must secure your doctor’s statement regarding your disability and include it in your claim.

Why the need to do so? Remember that the SSA requires you to present medical proof through documents and latest findings and results on your tests coming from your treating physicians. But then, the objective medical findings that you provide in your claim are only superficial. In other words, it is not enough that you have them in your claim.

Basically, your doctor’s statement regarding your disability are important in such a way that it would dig deeper and add new perspective on the seemingly superficial and objective information supplied in your medical documents.  As it is, your doctor’s statement will serve as the primary focal point of your claim that may result in its approval or denial.

Your doctor’s statement should not just state that you are disabled. It must show in detail the extent and the expected improvement of your disabling condition. Additionally, it would be beneficial if it has statements explaining the correlation of your disability and its effect on your ability to perform basic life and work activities. It would also help if your doctor would explain the response of your body to the medications prescribed to you.

The success or failure of your claim lies not only on your medical records, but also on the statements of your doctor. Moreover, having a Los Angeles disability lawyer wouldn’t be a bad idea if you want to increase your chances of getting your much-deserved Social Security Disability benefits.

About Discrimination on the Basis of One’s National Origin as Described by the EEOC
Mesriani Law Group
Employment Discrimination
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One of the many forms of discrimination in the workplace that is not allowed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is bias on the basis of national origin. This basically involves the unfair treatment of either applicants or employees because of their country of origin, as well as either their ethnicity or accent.

According to the EEOC Charge Statistics, for the fiscal year 2011, cases of national origin discrimination accounted for almost 12 percent of all cases filed during the said year. In all, there were 11,833 cases filed, which is 529 more than the previous year (11,304, 11.3 percent for fiscal year 2010).

National origin discrimination may not always involve singling out an employee because of where he or she came from, his or her ethnicity, or his or her accent. Such form of workplace bias may also be as a result of him or her being married to a person of a certain national origin. He or she may also be connected with an ethnic group or organization.

The EEOC enforces the prohibition of discrimination based on national origin via the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is also the same federal law that does not allow covered employers to discriminate against employees and/or applicants on the basis of race, color, sex, and religion.

Covered employers are not allowed to inflict such form of bias in various aspects of employment, from hiring down to termination, as well as in any other terms and conditions of employment.

Moreover, discrimination on the basis of national origin often involves the harasser making derogatory and/or offensive remarks towards the employee. It is also illegal to harass an employee in such a way that it would create a hostile work environment.

Incidentally, if you are an employee in California and you believe you are being targeted by your employer or immediate superior by blurting out sensitive comments regarding your national origin, it would be beneficial for you to file a charge through the EEOC. Alternatively, you may also file a private lawsuit with the help of any Los Angeles employment lawyers.

About the California FEHA and the Basics of Filing a Complaint
Mesriani Law Group
The State of California is one of the many states that have some of the wide-ranging civil rights laws. If you are an employee in Los Angeles or anywhere within the state, consider yourself lucky as employment and labor laws there strongly discourages discrimination, harassment, and other related issues among employers.

Within California, a lot of agencies enforce these laws through formal investigations. The purpose of these activities is to track down any alleged violations within companies whose employee has aired a complaint of discrimination or harassment in all aspects of employment. One of these agencies is the state Department of Fair Labor and Housing (DFEH).

This agency is responsible for enforcing the California Fair Labor and Housing Act (FEHA). Basically, this law provides protection from harassment or discrimination in employment because of the following:

•    Age, particularly if you are 40 years or older;
•    Ancestry;
•    Color;
•    Religious beliefs;
•    Disability, either mental or physical;
•    Marital Status;
•    Any medical condition;
•    Genetic information;
•    National origin;
•    Race;
•    Sex, including pregnancy and childbirth;
•    Gender, including both identity and expression; and
•    Sexual orientation.

If you are a California employee and you have been discriminated against or sexually harassed by your employer, you may immediately file a complaint with the DFEH. You must remember, though, that you must do so within a year from the date of the alleged discriminatory act.

In filing a complaint, you can make an appointment online anytime daily for an interview at the nearest district office of the DFEH near you. You can also do so via telephone, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You may visit this link for more details on the contact details of the DFEH.

Meanwhile, aside from filing a complaint with the DFEH, you can also file a private lawsuit with the help of a Los Angeles employment lawyer. However, if you have already filed a complaint with the DFEH but decided to sue your erring employer, it must be known that the state agency won’t handle your complaint anymore. You’ll be given a Notice of Right to Sue in this juncture.

The Aspects of Los Angeles Employment that Need the Expertise of a Lawyer
Mesriani Law Group
There are a lot of reasons for an employee to hire a reputable Los Angeles employment lawyer. Being an expert in law-related employment issues, such as discrimination, harassment, and unfair dealings within the workplace, an employee can greatly benefit from someone who can help him or her address such problems while on the job.

Basically, employment issues in Los Angeles often happen before, during, and after the employee’s time with a company or workplace. As it is, there are such instances that may need the help from a legal expert, and these are the following:

•    The hiring process. The employment lawyer can help the employee in negotiating a compensation package, as well as in reviewing legal documents that needs his or her signature. Such legal employment documents include an employment contract. It also helps him or her to obtain a legal representative in case there is discrimination involved during the application, selection, and hiring process.

•    The employment proper. Upon doing the specific tasks related to the job, there are times when the employee may encounter certain issues in which his or her legal rights are violated.

Good thing, though, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Labor Code provide countless provisions that protect workers from discrimination, harassment, unfair compensation, and other concerns such as medical leave and worker safety. Having an employment lawyer in Los Angeles would help in this regard, especially if the employer doesn’t address any of these issues immediately.

•    Resigning from the job position or getting terminated. It is also imperative for the employee to hire an employment lawyer in this type of situation. Regardless if he or she resigns from his or her position or he or she was terminated by the employer, he or she may still have to sign certain documents such as a severance agreement. More often than not, such deal often favors the employer, and having it reviewed by the lawyer is vital so that the employee can get an equal deal out of it.

Having the lawyer is also important, especially if he or she was terminated wrongfully or that he or she was denied unemployment compensation.

California’s Wage and Hour Laws: The Basics
Mesriani Law Group
The regulation of minimum wage and overtime pay, breaks and vacations, commissions, and hours worked for a qualified minor are just the basic facets of wage and hour laws. Every state has its own laws, but federally, such facets often make up the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA and all other related laws.

Basically, U.S. employers are required to follow both the federal and state wage and hour laws. State laws usually supplement the federal counterpart. While employers can be either generous or strict when it comes to implementing both of them, they cannot absolutely disregard either one.

In the State of California, there are certain laws in the realm of wage and hour which are implemented through the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE. The laws implemented by the state agency are different from the provisions of the federal wage and hour laws, particularly the FLSA.

Meanwhile, here are California’s wage and hour laws:

•    Minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage for nonexempt workers stands at $7.25 per hours worked, California law dictates that the minimum wage should be $8.00.

•    Overtime pay. In California, a nonexempt employee is entitled 1 ½ times the regular rate of pay per hour if he or she works more than 8 hours a day (or more than 40 hours a week). However, overtime is mandatory in California, and refusing to undergo overtime at work may result in a disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, suspension or termination.

•    Breaks and meals period. For every four hours worked, they are entitled to undergo a 10-minute paid break. Working fewer than 3 ½ hours won’t entitle them a break; however, working for more than 5 hours a day calls for a 30-minute meal period. Two meal periods are provided if an employee works for more than 10 hours a day.

If a California employee has an issue with his or her employer in terms of wages, he or she must consult a Los Angeles employment lawyer who can help him or her establish a claim. He or she may otherwise file a complaint with the state’s DLSE to start an investigation on the employer in question.

Discrimination Being Faced by Muslim Workers 11 Years after 9/11 Attacks
Mesriani Law Group

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Exactly eleven years ago, the United States took the hardest beating in its modern history. The horrific incident left all Americans, as well as many other around the world, in shock and awe – nobody was prepared for a disaster of such epic scale.

The September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City left a staggering 2,996 people dead – the most number of individuals killed in a terrorist attack.

The tragic event exposed many glitches, errors, and loopholes in the country’s national defense and security. It likewise resulted in uproars for justice – either through just and unjust means. Simply put, the 9/11 attacks shook and changed the greatest nation in the world.

The 9/11 attacks affected all Americans so much that some of them resorted to hostility against Muslims. Hate was answered by hate. Some Americans think that hating innocent Muslims would give country justice and would change the track of history. But if Martin Luther King, Jr. would be asked, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Months after the 9/11 attacks, some American citizens began to draw bias against Muslims in the country, and workers are no exception. Workplace discrimination and harassment against Muslim workers have become common in the American employment sector. Admittedly, raw emotions stemming from the attacks have curtailed the logical and just thinking of certain Americans, which is why many innocent Muslim workers have to endure discrimination and harassment.

Consequently, the most devastating terrorist attack in U.S. soil challenged the implementation of anti-discrimination laws in the U.S., especially Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this federal law, employers are prohibited to discriminate against and harass employees and applicants based on their national origin and religious beliefs. However, despite the implementation of this law, many employers still fail to ensure Muslim workers are given just and non-hostile work environment.

According to Los Angeles discrimination attorneys, in the State of California, aside from Title VII, there is a state law that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s national origin and religion—the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Pursuant to this state law, California-based employers with five or more employees are not allowed to discriminate against and harass employees and applicants because of their religious affiliation and/or national origin.

Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1964, a state law that prohibits employers to require Muslim and Sikh workers to work out of public sight. The law also prohibits California employers to discriminate against and harass Muslim and Sikh employees based on their wearing of religious dresses like turbans, hijabs, and/or beards.


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