Understanding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

Our current political climate has brought immigration and immigrant rights to the forefront of the national conversation. These conversations bring in a lot of technical legal terms that are often hard to understand for the average American. Being one of those Americans, I decided to research one of the most mentioned terms — DACA.

What is DACA

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is an immigration policy that allows certain undocumented individuals who were brought into the United States illegally as children to gain access to a two-year period free from deportation from the country. This two-year period is eligible for renewal. DACA recipients are also able to receive a work permit to continue working in the United States.

The DACA policy was announced by the Obama Administration in June 2012, and the administration began accepting DACA applications in August of that year.

Who is Eligible for DACA?

DACA is only available for those who meet the following requirements:

  • Under 31 years old as of June 15, 2012
  • Were under 16 years old when they came to the United States
  • Lived in the United States continuously from June 15, 2007 to the present
  • Were living in the United States as of June 15, 2012
  • Entered the United States before June 15, 2012
  • Currently in school, graduated from high school, earned a GED, or were honorably discharged from the military

Applicants also must not have been convicted of a felony or three or more misdemeanors.

Current Status of DACA

In September 2017, the Trump Administration announced that it would be ending the DACA program. This decision was met with a lot of opposition from immigrant rights activists and DACA recipients themselves. Several lawsuits were filed challenging the administration’s decision.

As of today, individuals can still renew their original DACA status to avoid being deported from the United States and to earn a work permit.

Renewing DACA

Renewing one’s DACA application is a long process requiring that individuals fill out certain forms. Those looking to renew their DACA application should download a copy of their previous application to give them something to go off of when they fill out their renewal application. Individuals should then download up to date forms from the United States Citizenships and Immigration Services webpage.

Next, the individual should take time to fill out the form accurately to ensure that their application is accepted. An immigration attorney, like the attorneys working at The Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, is the best person to speak to help you fill out the application. Attorneys are well-versed in the information required as well as the eligibility requirements needed to even apply in the first place.

I hope the information presented in this article helped you understanding one facet of the United States immigration system. While DACA is only one aspect of the system, it is one of the most discussed today. Use this information as a springboard for your own learning, and use it to educate others on the processes that may affect us or those we know.

The Truth About Carcinogens

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

Our knowledge of what does and does not cause illness is growing every day. Especially when it comes to cancer, there are a few obvious culprits. Most people know not to smoke cigarettes unless they are actively trying to contract lung cancer — or to slather on sunscreen lest they desire melanoma. A lot of people are even gradually coming around to the fact that red meat is almost definitely a lot worse for you than originally thought.

With people becoming more and more aware of these carcinogens and vessels for disease, it’s hard to imagine our trust being broken by a major corporation. The general population has a certain amount of faith in big business, and it is in the best interests of those businesses to be as transparent as possible. Yet, Monsanto has known about the cancerous side effects of their herbicide Roundup for years and done nothing to warn or help the general public.

Roundup, an aerosol herbicide, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. This means that plant nursery workers, farmers, and small-time gardeners have likely inhaled Roundup at some point in their farming career. Aside from the fact that it probably tastes disgusting, most of them just coughed for a minute or two and went on their way. They had no reason to think anything of it. After all, Monsanto is a major corporation, and they wouldn’t lie to the general public, would they?

As it turns out, they did. Roundup contains glyphosate, a chemical that has been associated with a number of cancers, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a number of other health issues have arisen, likely the result of exposure to glyphosate. Obesity, depression, and ADHD have all been linked to exposure to Roundup, and so have a large number of various illnesses. And despite Roundup being an aerosol, it has contaminated various water supplies and crops. This means that people who have never even heard of Roundup are having their lives ruined because of it.

Because of exposure to Roundup, cancer patients everywhere are questioning their whole lives. Some might even feel guilty if they had been the ones to purchase and use Roundup in their personal gardens. But it’s not their fault. The people who work for Monsanto have been working diligently for years to cover their tracks, and it has resulted in many tragic, untimely deaths, as well as many others becoming incredibly ill. Thankfully, there is a slight silver lining.

Class-action lawsuits have been taken against Monsanto as an attempt for them to right their wrongs. As a result, many survivors have received settlements in Roundup cancer lawsuits to help cover their medical bills and other expenses. Monsanto is slowly being held accountable for their actions, but the people affected will only ever receive true justice if everyone takes a stand. Don’t sit back and watch while countless people continue to be affected by exposure to glyphosate.

How serious are the side effects on drug commercials?

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

Anytime we see a commercial for prescription drugs on TV, the last couple of seconds are filled with a laundry list of potential side effects. For example, the prescription sleep aid Lunesta claims to help get a full night of sleep but then goes on to mention that the drug may increase thoughts of suicide or induce throat swelling that ends up being fatal. These seem like fairly intense side effects for what should be a simple sleep aid. So why do prescription drugs come with so many potential side effects? Are all them relevant to us? Let’s take a look at some of the major reasons that these side effects warning are in place.


Prescription Drug Companies Must Warn for All Potential Side Effects

Because of the way drug companies are regulated by the FDA, drug companies must inform potential users about all the possible side effects. When you go into the doctor’s office and discuss treatment options, your doctor will likely only bring up potential side effects that are relevant to you. Everyone reacts differently to medications depending on their age, sex, and current health condition. When an ad is played on TV, companies could be advertising to literally anybody. Because companies don’t know their target audience, they list all possible side effects in order to stay within FDA guidelines.


Drug Companies Want to Avoid Liability

If you experience harmful side effects from a prescription drug and were not properly warned about the possibility of these side effects, you may have the option to sue the drug company. This is another reason that drug companies make a point to list out all potential side effects. Let’s revisit the Lunesta example. Lunesta may know that only women under the age of 20 that also take two other specific medications have the potential to experience throat swelling on Lunesta. That’s a very specific group that isn’t likely to be taking a sleep aid. However, if companies don’t warn, then just one person getting injured could cost them several million dollars in a single settlement.


The Seriousness of Side Effects Should be Discussed with Your Doctor

Because of the reasons mentioned above, it is not likely that you will experience every side effected listed on the commercial for a prescription drug. However, depending on your health status, lifestyle, and other drugs you’re currently taking, some serious side effects may be relevant. Your doctor knows your personal situation best. Consult with a physician before taking new prescription drugs, and discuss what treatment options are right for you.


Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

While researching for this blog, I read some helpful information on a website for the Law Offices of William J. Luse. The Law Offices of William J. Luse take on cases of medical malpractice in the Myrtle Beach area. Medical malpractice is a wide area of law that can look very different case by case. However, this area does include situations where drug companies were negligent or fraudulent in informing patients or doctors of a drug’s side effects.


How dental implants can improve your smile

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

Your self-confidence impacts the way you interact with others in public, at work, and in social settings. Having confidence in your smile is important. Damaged or missing teeth can drastically reduce your self-confidence. You may feel like there are no reliable options for fixing your smile. Thankfully, dental issues are much easier to deal with today than they were in the past. For people with damaged or missing teeth, dental implants may be the right option. The success rate for dental implants is high (around 98%), and the number of people getting implants annually is about half a million. Implants can give you a brand new smile that you can be confident in. I recently started researching dental implants to learn more about how they work, how effective the procedure is, and how many people actually have had this procedure performed. I wanted to learn more about this procedure and how the final results look when the procedure is completed. Ultimately, I researched the two types of implants and when they are used, which I’ve described below. 

There are two primary kinds of implants that are used today. Depending on the scope of work that is needed and the patient involved, different dentists will use one of the following kinds of implants to achieve their goal. One common type of implant is the endosteal implant. Endosteal implants are planted directly into the jawbone via a surgical procedure. The procedure is performed in a two-fold process. Once the first step is done, some time is taken off to allow the gum to heal and let the post connect with the implant, and the second step is when the tooth or teeth are added. The second method is a little different but aims to achieve the same ends. Sub-periosteal Implants involve fitting a metal frame on to the jawbone with a particular process. After the frame is affixed, time is allowed for the gums to heal and secure the frame to the jaw. The posts which the artificial teeth will be attached to stick through the gums from the metal frame underneath. The result is very similar, allowing the patient to live a healthy life with new teeth.

These procedures might sound complicated, but they’re not. There are only a few very key things that a patient should take care to do to maximize their chances for success. So long as you avoid smoking in general, do not have diabetes or leukemia, or have not taken any bone-loss drugs, your chances of making to the procedures are high, and your gums’ ability to heal should be great. No time has been better than now to get dental procedures done. There’s no need to be self-conscious about your appearance or suffer discomfort with lost or damaged teeth. By consulting an experienced dentist, you may be able to have dental implant procedures done to improve your smile and regain your confidence.

We Must Get Used to the Image of Nursing Homes: They’re our future

By on 7-23-2016 in Insurance

When you hear the word “nursing home,” what image immediately comes to mind? For me, I imagine the nursing home in Cloud Atlas from which the character Timothy Cavendish must escape. In the book, Timothy Cavendish is tricked into signing himself into a nursing home called Aurora House from which he cannot leave. The title of the chapter, The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish, says it all.    

While most nursing homes are not so horrible, the story does serve as a reminder that you do not want to end up in a situation, not of your own making. The elderly often are sent to a nursing home after they are unable to take care of themselves, and many spend their final days in a nursing home because they were unable to afford long-term home care. It’s never too early to start thinking about where you will end up as you get older. Peck Ritchey, LLC, suggests discussing nursing home concerns while estate planning so those family members are not struggling to pay for nursing home expenses.

One way to pay for a nursing home is through Medicaid, a federal-funded and state-run joint program to assist both low-income families and individuals with long-term medical and custodial care costs. Before you can qualify for Medicaid, you may have to “spend down” your assets, according to lawyer Bonnie Kraham. Kraham explains that you cannot make gifts to children or other people in the five years before applying for Medicaid without a “penalty period.” This penalty period means you would have to pay for your long-term care out-of-pocket for a specific amount of time-based on the size of the gift.

Kraham lists a number of ways to legally spend down your assets so that you can apply for Medicaid, including paying off a mortgage or home equity loan, a car loan, credit card bills, medical bills and any taxes you owe and making repairs and renovations to your house. It takes some time and planning to spend down your assets without paying the penalty fee.

While the law does protect the spouse of the person who needs a nursing home, the spouse who first needs the nursing home or an unmarried person needs to plan ahead. Kraham suggests having long-term care insurance to cover long-term care costs. If you do not have or cannot afford long-term care insurance, Kraham advises creating a Medicaid asset protection trust (MAPT), which protects assets from nursing-home costs.

According to the Ettinger Law Firm, MAPT is known as an “income only” trust, meaning that the MAPT “names someone other than you or your spouse as trustee and limits you to the income.” MAPT has a five-year look-back period, meaning all the assets in the trust are protected if you need nursing home care after five years. If you need care before five years, you will only pay the remaining time. For example, if you need nursing home care after three years, then you would only have to pay for two years that are left.