A Compensation Benefits for Veterans and Family Member

What is VA Compensation?

Veterans compensation is a tax-free benefit paid monthly to a veteran and/or eligible family members because of the veteran’s service-connected disability.

 A service-connected disability includes an injury or disease incurred during active military service or a pre-existing injury or disease that is aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.

A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Medical and service records that document the condition as chronic or continuous will need to be provided.

The benefit amount is determined on a case-by-case basis and is graduated, on a scale of 10% to 100%, according to the degree of the veteran’s disability. The degrees of disability are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monthly benefit paid to a surviving spouse, child or parent of military service members who died in the line of duty or veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. Other eligibility requirements must also be met. DIC for parents is an income-based benefit for a biological, adoptive or foster parent who also meets certain other eligibility requirements.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For veterans, SMC is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.

 Other Benefits: The VA provides additional housing and insurance benefits to veterans with disabilities, including Adapted Housing Grants, Service-Disable Veterans’ Insurance and Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance.

Note: These compensation benefits are different from, and should not be confused with, VA pension benefits, which are for veterans over age 65, their spouses and disabled children.

 You can read more about VA compensation benefits, eligibility, documentation requirements, and how to apply on the VA’s website: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation.

 Call us if you want to schedule an appointment.  

Nalini S Mahadevan, Esq.  JD, MBA  Attorney at Law  314-932-7111 (O) nsm@mlolaw.us

Disclaimer:  This is information only.  No legal advice intended.

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Prince Died Without a Will, leaving a Mess!

Recent Superstar Death Brings Estate Planning to the Forefront of Discussion

The untimely death of superstar Prince has brought a surprising issue to American living rooms: estate planning. If current reports are correct that Prince died without a will, state law and the Court system will dictate who controls and inherits his sizeable estate. It is also likely that taxing entities will take a bigger bite out of his estate – costing his family millions, unnecessarily —  before anyone inherits anything.  All of this could have been avoided and there’s an important lesson here for you and your family.

Prince died on Thursday, April 21, at the age of 57, in Carver County, Minnesota. He had one half-sister, Tyka Nelson. He also had six half-siblings. Prince was predeceased by both of his parents and two of his half-siblings. He was divorced twice and had no living children.

Ms. Nelson recently filed documents with the Carver County probate court, asserting that she believed that her brother died without a will. She also asked that the court appoint a special administrator to handle Prince’s affairs until a personal administrator was appointed. A judge appointed a banking affiliate to serve in this role temporarily.

When a person passes away without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.” When this happens, state law directs the distribution of the person’s property, known as the “estate” through a process called probate. And, it’s up to the Court to decide who controls the estate.

If Prince indeed died without a will, these statutes will result in his siblings dividing his estate, including his half-siblings. This may or may not be what Prince would have wanted, had he made provisions himself.  And, his estate is likely to be overseen by a paid executor, instead of a family member or friend he would have chosen.

So, what does this mean for you?

Just like Prince, if you do not plan for your death, your family will get stuck in Court and could end up in conflict as well.  It’s an unnecessary expense to your family, causes additional heartache and grief, and is totally avoidable.

Let Prince’s death be an inspiration to you to leave your loved ones with a legacy of love, not a big mess to clean up. We can help.

Nalini S Mahadevan, Esq

P: 314.932.7111  nsm@mlolaw.us   www.mlolaw.us

Disclaimer: Please do not rely on this blog for legal advice.  Call me if you want to get advice and sign an engagement letter with my law firm.

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Was I chosen in the H1B lottery?

The only way to know for sure that the application was rejected is when the application is returned with the fee checks, or no receipt is received a week from May 2nd, 2016, when all the applications that were chosen were entered in the database.  Another indication of an application being chosen is of course the fees being debited from the attorney’s bank account.

There is no process for inquiring about rejected applications with USCIS.

So hang tight and wait for your receipt or returned application.

Nalini S Mahadevan, Esq. – nsm@mlolaw.us – 314.932.7111 – www.mlolaw.us

Of course you know this is not legal advice and you must consult your own attorney!

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The Best Gift You Can Leave to Your Loved Ones!

2013-06-02 17.21.59 HDR

Heather McManamy, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, was told her condition was terminal in 2014.  She began reflecting on what the future lives of her friends and family would be like, after she passed away, and gained national popularity as the dying mother who had written cards for many of her daughter’s future milestones.

She particularly wanted to communicate life lessons and advice to her daughter, Brianna, who was only a toddler. So McManamy decided to write greeting cards for big events in her daughter’s life, to be opened as each occasion took place.

The Wisconsin mom left over 40 different cards for events in her daughter’s life, including formal events such as birthdays and her wedding, as well as informal ones, such as advice for bad days and her first breakup.

McManamy also prepared a note for her husband to post on her Facebook page, which he did after her death in December. Her note showed her love of life and for her friends and family.

McManamy’s announcement of her death, like her greeting card notes to her daughter, left wise advice for its readers:

“From the bottom of my heart, I wish all my friends long, healthy lives and I hope you can experience the same appreciation for the gift of each day that I did. . . . Please do me a favor and take a few minutes each day to acknowledge the fragile adventure that is this crazy life. Don’t ever forget: every day matters.”

McManamy’s memoirs will be published in book form in April 2016, “Cards for Brianna: A Lifetime of Lessons and Love from a Dying Mother to Her Daughter.”

McManamy’s positive attitude and writings also serve as sage advice of something we too often forget. Preparing for and facing death openly and honestly is a gift to our loved ones because it allows us to leave behind what really matters, not just what we’ve accumulated financially, but our wisdom, our love and our leadership.

That’s why we build Family Wealth Legacy Interviews into our estate planning process, so we can ensure you leave behind what really matters. Give us a call today if you’d love to ensure you leave a legacy of love to the ones you care about most.

This article is a service of [name], Personal Family Lawyer®. One of the objectives of our law practice is to keep families out of court and out of conflict. Our lawyers can help you protect those you love using a Family Wealth Planning Session. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and identify the best strategies for you and your family.

Nalini S Mahadevan JD, MBA

nsm@mlolaw.us   314-932-7111 ( office)  314-374-8784 (mobile)

DISCLAIMER: The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information contained in this email are not legal advice and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Discover the Estate Planning Tool You Never Knew You Needed

You may be familiar with IRAs. You may also be familiar with Trusts, but have you heard of the ‘trusteed IRA’? The Trusteed IRA is an elegant financial planning tool that combines the best of the IRA world with that of the Estate document world. Learn more about the tool that many financial planners and estate planning attorneys are raving about.

No question that millions of Americans are using IRAs to save for their retirement. An estimated 48.9 million U.S. households, or 40.4%, owned IRAs as of 2012. However, current trends show that IRA withdrawals will increase significantly over the next decade, both in dollar amount and as a percentage of total retirement income, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

The problem, however, from an inheritance point of view that arises for the IRA creator is that when he or she dies, the beneficiary can withdraw part or all of the IRA funds at that time. That is probably not what the IRA creator intended long term.

What if there was a way, however, to control the ultimate beneficiaries, a way in which one could designate contingent beneficiaries that could not be altered by the primary beneficiary?

Enter the trusteed IRA or ‘individual retirement trust,’ an estate-planning device, which gives people considerable control and flexibility over their IRA funds.

Give us a call or email us to get to know more about this device.

Nalini Mahadevan, Esq

nsm@mlolaw.us

314-374-8784

This blog post is not intended as legal advice.

 

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Texas v. United States Reduces Work Eligibility!

3 Year EADs recalled for DACA recipients

The Court in Texas v. US stopped the ability of the federal government to issue work eligibility cards ( employment authorization document or EAD cards) beyond 2 years as allowed under current regulations for DACA eligible recipients.  About 2000 EADs had been issued with a 3 year expiration.  Any 3 year EAD issued after February 16, 2015 has to be returned to USCIS.  About 1200 EAD cards have been returned.  A second letter has also been issued to recipients of 3 year EAD cards.   The last date to return cards is July 17th, 2015.  The letter states that non return can affect deferred action and employment authorization.

3 Year EADs reduced to 2 years eligibility following Texas Court Order

In addition to other measures that are underway, the three-year DACA grants and EAD cards have been invalidated for all of these individuals and changed to two years; the SAVE database that states use to verify eligibility for driver’s licenses and other state benefits has been updated to reflect the two-year authorizations for all of these individuals; and USCIS has now sent two rounds of individualized letters demanding the return of the three-year EAD cards and warning recipients that a failure to return the card could affect their deferred action and employment authorization.

Applies only to DACA holders

This action applies only to DACA EAD cards issued for 3 years.  The 3 year authorization has been reduced to a 2 year eligibility to work.  The Court’s order applies to all 50 states even though it was issued in Texas.

 

 

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US Visas face overseas outage!

DOS alert that the Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with its overseas passport and visa systems. The issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category.

Visas are not being issued due to a server malfunction on June 9th  in the United States, resulting in delays in issuing visas at Posts overseas and issuance of US Passports at consulates and embassies abroad.  In addition, biometric data was not being processed to allow security checks at consulates to issue visas.

There are about 100 computer experts from all over the US working on the problem with the system.

The Takeaway

Travelers to the US are advised not book trips unless they have a valid visa stamp in their passport.  US citizens are advised to be patient because the system has not be fully restored to enable U.S. consulates and embassies to issue or renew passports.  Any action that requires security clearance or biometrics is likely to be delayed until further notice.  Persons awaiting immigrant visas stamps in their passports are likely to be delayed as well.

By Nalini Mahadevan, JD MBA

Attorney at Law

This blog is meant for informational purposes only.

Visit our page to learn about “ 6 Mistakes Immigrants Make that put them in Financial Peril and how to solve those problems.”  http://nsm538.wix.com/protectyourfamily

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Pressure Mounts to File Green Cards for H1B Workers

Ever since USCIS announced that as of May 25, 2015, it would allow spouses of H1B workers to file for EAD ( employment authorization) to work in the USA, the pressure has been mounting on employers to file green card applications for their workers on H1B visas.

Denied the right to work

H4 visa holders, spouses of H1B workers have long been denied the right to work.  They have had to choose between working back in their home country or abandoning their careers to follow their ‘better’ half to the USA and to stay home, so that they can have a life together.

Wait times are 10+ years

H4s wait patiently, some at least 12-15 years if their H1B spouse is a Master’s degree holder and others even more if less qualified.  Blame the lack of visas for these talented workers.

Now the wait is over. 

File the application on May 26th, 2015.

Contact us at nsm@mlolaw.us or at (314) 374 8784.

Nalini S Mahadevan, Esq

The information is strictly for educational purposes only.

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US Companies Lose the Immigration Game!

Employer seeks quality candidate; employer finds their match.  But problem!  Candidate is not a US citizen and hence needs a visa.  There is only a 36% chance that the employer will be able to employ the chosen candidate and there is a 100% chance that the employee will be unable to start until October 1, unless the employer is a nonprofit institution!

This year USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) received 233,000 visa applications for 85,000 spots! So there was a 1 in 3 chance that a Bachelor’s degree holder would be able to obtain a slot in the visa Lottery.

US companies open offices overseas because that is where the sales are.  Factories, back offices, retail, affiliates, branches, subsidiaries.  But product is researched, developed and nurtured in the US.  The customers are overseas, but the development is here.  Which is why US companies are demanding more visas for employees.  Companies need more technical talent here, so that they can sell more overseas and enrich the bottom line for US stakeholders.  Legal employees contribute to taxes, consumer spending, real estate, banking, insurance and social security!

US Industry loses

US universities spend roughly $250,000 per student in a PhD program (stipend, tuition, grants and other benefits).  When a US Masters or PhD applicant cannot obtain a visa, he or she either returns to their own country or finds greener pastures in Canada, UK and other European countries and Australia, who are not shy about accepting them.

The ‘cap’ of 65000 for Bachelor degree H1B visas is artificial.  Industry is self-regulating.  If there is no demand for H1B jobs, there will be fewer visas issued.  For example, in 2008 and 2009, the cap was filled in the first week.  But in 2011 and 2012, the cap was reached only in December, and January of the following year.  In 2013, the US economy was in recovery and the cap was reached in the first week.  The average pay of H1B workers is $70,000 (according to USCIS H1B Handbook for 2011, 2012 available at http://1.usa.gov/Q8qXAp).  In general, these are not workers who are short changed or paid lower wages.  Employers also have to factor in cost of ‘onboarding’ these employees in addition to wages and other benefits paid to US workers.

The public are focused on just computer programmers and other IT employees.  But the truth is that there are other professions that also use the H1B program such as occupations in Architecture, Engineering and Surveying, Administrative Specializations, Education, Medicine and Health, Managers, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Other Professional, Technical, and Managerial Occupations, Social Sciences, Art, Law and Jurisprudence, Writing, Entertainment and Recreation, Sales, and Museum, Library, and Archival Sciences, which are 40% of the cap based applications.

Companies such as Microsoft have started opening offices over the border in Canada, which has a ‘friendlier’ immigration system which accommodates guest workers easily without fuss.

The solution

Expand the number of visas for US Master degree holders.  This would boost the US University ‘industry’ and reverse brain drain of US trained foreign students leaving with their US gained knowledge to enrich ‘home’ countries, that increases competition for US companies!

Expand and create an H1B visa quota for entrepreneurs, because these start-ups will eventually employ local US workers.  Tie these visas to local incubators who can become sponsors for talent.  This will encourage industry in economically depressed areas, much like the Conrad program does for rural health and EB 5 visas does for ‘Targeted Employment Areas’.  Today the capital threshold required for a startup has dramatically shifted from the millions to a few thousand dollars, which means that it is easier to start a company.  The financial requirements to not become a’ public charge’ and the ‘ability to pay employees’ can be kept the same.

The takeaway

Our economy needs jobs that pay a living wage.  Our population is aging.  The majority of H1B applicants were in the 25 to 39 age range, workers with long employable lives who can pay into our economy.

 

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EAD – Renew Early

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  is reminding recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that their current period of DACA and employment authorization could expire if they wait too long to request renewal.

Please apply for a renewal at least 150 to 120 days before your current period of DACA and employment authorization will expire. Timely filing will help ensure USCIS has sufficient time to consider your request.  On March 27, 2015, USCIS began mailing renewal reminder notices to DACA recipients 180 days prior to the expiration date of their current period of DACA. Previously, these reminder notices were mailed 100 days in advance.

USCIS is accepting initial and renewal requests for two-year grants of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012. A federal district court order issued on February 16, 2015, enjoining USCIS from implementing the expanded DACA guidelines did not impact USCIS’ ability to continue processing DACA requests under the 2012 guidelines.

Applicants can request renewal of DACA if the initial DACA guidelines are met and the applicant:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after August 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Has continuously resided in the United States since submitting the most recent, approved DACA request, up to the present time; and
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Call or email Mahadevan Law Office at 314 74 8784 or nsm@mlolaw.us

Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

Attorney at Law.

Not meant as legal advice!

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