Blog posts of '2021' 'September'

Suspect nursing home abuse or neglect? Take these steps

Nursing homes are tasked with a big responsibility: caring for our elderly loved ones. Yet, despite this fact, and the reality that the nursing home industry is subjected to extensive regulations aimed at safety, nursing home abuse and neglect occurs all the time. If you’re worried about this happening to your loved one, then you need to be diligent in observing signs of abuse and neglect so that you can follow up accordingly and take legal action as needed.

Signs of nursing home abuse or neglect

There are a lot of signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you’re concerned that you’re loved one is being mistreated in his or her nursing home, then consider taking these steps to investigate the matter further:

  • Ask questions: If you see that you’re loved one has a new bruise, cut, or even a broken bone, start asking questions. How does your loved one respond? If he or she avoids the topic, then that’s a red flag. Ask nursing home staff what happened so that you can lock them into their story. Also, speak to other nursing home residents. They might have seen the incident or be able to provide valuable insight into the type of care usually provided at the facility.
  • Obtain medical records: If your loved one has been injured or lost weight, then he or she has probably received some sort of medical care. By looking at his or her medical records, you might gain a better sense of what caused the medical condition in question. The doctor who treated your loved one might even be able to give a medical opinion.
  • Document everything: Although no one hopes to end up in a lawsuit, you need to act as if one is inevitable if you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected. Take pictures, write notes, and retain all communications.

Do what you can to protect your loved one

Although nursing homes are supposed to be safe, far too often the burden is on residents and their families to ensure that safety measures are adequately adhered to on a consistent basis. Oftentimes the best way to hold a nursing home’s feet to the fire is to take legal action.

If you think that you and your loved one are at that point, then you might want to consider researching this area of the law further to determine your best course of action moving forward.

Calculating SSDI benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance may be a vital financial lifeline for a worker with a disability. Claimants must meet specific qualifications to receive SSDI benefits.


Eligibility depends on a worker’s record of covered earnings. The Social Security Administration calculates average monthly income over a person’s working life which is adjusted for historical wage increases. It then places that figure into a formula for determining the primary insurance amount or full retirement benefit.

This PIA formula is designed to give proportionally higher benefits to lower wage earners.

SSA uses a formula for SSDI claims that is different than determining retirement benefits because a worker may receive a disability before they reach retirement age. The number of years used to calculate benefits depends on the age that a worker became unable to work because of an injury or illness.

Calculating the amount of earnings history depends on complicated requirements governing elapsed or computation years. It generally works as follows:

  • SSA totals the number of years from the period that claimant turned 22 to the year before they received their disability.
  • SSA then takes out one and five years. There a more drop out years based upon the length a claimant worked.
  • This number is the how many of the claimant’s highest-earning years will be included into the PIA calculation.


Consider a claimant who worked continuously since they were 21 but could no longer work after suffering a disability when they reached 60. The SSA would use that worker’s 33 best income years, indexed for wage trends, to calculate their PIA.

If the disability began when the worker was 50, the PIA would be the 23 highest-earning years. It would be 15 years if the disability began at 40.

A worker will receive 100 percent of their PIA if their SSDI claim is approved. But that full benefit is usually lower for SSDI recipients than for retirees because a worker’s higher-earning years can increase their calculated benefits.

The average monthly retirement and SSDI benefits were approximately $1,558 and $1,280 in Aug. 2021.

Other considerations

SSDI benefits may be reduced if a worker collects public disability payments such as Florida disability benefits or workers’ compensation. Benefits are not reduced for private disability benefits.

SSDI benefits convert to a retirement benefit, usually the same amount, when a recipient reaches full retirement age.

The earnings-based benefit is not used for the other SSA program for people with disabilities, Supplemental Security Income. SSI eligibility is based on financial need and benefits do not depend upon work histories.

Attorneys can help workers who receive a disability pursue their legal rights. They can assist them with navigating the SSDI application process.