When your teenager starts to drive…

I have a 14 year old son and I realize that the time is coming for him to get a drivers license. I remember being SO READY to get my drivers license and have that freedom. As a parent, I simultaneously dread this rite of passage and rejoice that he can help with all of the driving around I have to do. Some of my friends children are turning 15 now and it has made me sit down and really look at what is involved in getting a Drivers License for your teenager. It also makes me aware of how many distracted and angry drivers are on the road- and I pray that they have patience with young drivers. It is a lot different now than when I was 15. I think I had to have my permit for two weeks and then I was on my own! Now, the young drivers do get more training and guidance. This is a great thing!

Now, the SC DMV website actually has an online practice test that you can take! There are also apps that you can download to take practice tests for your permit.

According to the SC DMV website:
You must be at least 15 to apply for a regular or motorcycle beginner’s permit. If you are under 18, you must bring an adult with you to sign your application.

Regular beginner’s permit (Class D) allows you to practice driving under the following restrictions:
From 6 a.m. to midnight with a licensed driver, who is at least 21 and has at least one year of experience, in the front seat of the vehicle.
From midnight to 6 a.m. with a licensed parent or legally appointed guardian in the front seat of the vehicle.

You must have this permit for 180 days. (If you got your permit on 2/12/18, you could not test for your restricted license until 6/12/18).

In addition, you must have the following before your test:
If you’re 15 or 16 and applying for your first driver’s license, you must complete the Certification of DL Under 18 (SCDMV Form PDLA) and all of the following must be true:

You have held your beginner’s permit for more than 180 days.
You completed a driver’s education course (eight hours in the classroom and six hours driving).
You are enrolled in school (not suspended or expelled), and you have satisfactory attendance.
You have practiced driving with your licensed parent or legal guardian for at least 40 hours, including ten hours of night driving.

Then, you can test for your First Driver’s License.

There are differences for a 15 year old driver and a driver that is 16 or older:

Conditional License for a 15-year-old Driver

“If you are at least 15 ½, but less than 16, and have met the above requirements, you are eligible for a Conditional license. You must pass the vision and road test to receive this license. If you pass the required tests for your Conditional license, you will earn full driving privileges once you’ve held your Conditional license for one year with no traffic offenses and not been at-fault in any collisions.”

If you are 16 or older:

Special Restricted License with a Waiver for a 16-year-old Driver

If you are 16 and have a Special Restricted or Conditional license, you may be eligible for a Special Restricted license with a waiver. The Special Restricted license with a waiver allows you to drive by yourself until midnight if you work or participate in certain extracurricular activities.

To get a Special Restricted license with a waiver, you must visit an SCDMV branch and do all of the following:

Complete the Application for a Driver’s License, Beginner’s Permit, or ID (SCDMV Form 447-NC)
Bring a letter, on letterhead, from your school, church, work, or extracurricular activity that says you need this waiver
Bring a letter from your parent that says your parent is allowing you to have the waiver and why you need this license
Pass a vision test
Pay $12.50

At 17 years old, you have full driving privileges.

Now, you ALSO need to remember to add them to your insurance. Teenagers are more likely to have a wreck. According to the CDC:
In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.1 That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.

In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.

As you add them to your insurance, it is a good time to review your coverage. With a teen driver you are probably going to want to make sure you have collision coverage. You also need to be certain you have an adequate amount of Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage. If your teen is lucky enough to get a new car- you will need Gap insurance in case a collision occurs and the car loan is more than the payoff.

Here is a great site with links about Teen Driver Safety.

While this is a lot of information to digest, the most important thing is that teen drivers stay safe. Talk to them frequently and often about good driving, defensive driving, and most importantly- be a good role model.

Social Security to increase in 2017

It will be a small increase, but it IS an increase!

According to a USA Today report, there will be a 0.2% increase in Social Security benefits in 2017.

The small increase in Social Security next year — which equals an extra $2 for someone getting a $1,000 monthly check — would come after retirees got no increase in Social Security benefits in 2016 for the third time in four decades.The final COLA figure is typically not determined until the fall.

While we wish we could see a larger number for those struggling to get by on their benefits, hopefully this is a step in the right direction.

Update for Pee Dee Area Disability Applicants

Historically, my Pee Dee area disability applicants have all been through the Columbia, SC ODAR office. This means that although you may have applied for Social Security disability in Florence, SC, the judges were actually headquartered in Columbia. We recently underwent a major change and were switched to the Charleston, SC ODAR office. It has meant there has been a delay in pending hearings but I am happy to report that hearings now appear to be moving along in scheduling.

Here is data about all of the South Carolina offices:

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As you can see- the average HEARING wait time is 15 months. That does not include the time from the time you apply, get denied, ask for reconsideration, get denied. It is from the time you ask for a hearing after your second denial. This is a long and difficult process!

We look forward to this change and working with the Charleston judges even more than we were before. If you have any questions about applying for disability in any area of South Carolina please call Rangeley at 843-667-0400 or (843) 900-6LAW or email rbaileyATjebailylaw.com at any time. Thank you!

handicap key

Pass 62 at Florence School District One

I thought this was good information for Florence disability clients as well as those older than 62:

The PASS 62 allows senior citizens, 62 years of age and over, as well as totally disabled persons, to attend district athletic, choral, and drama events (except the Football Jamboree, post-season play, and fundraisers) free of charge. It also provides the cardholder the opportunity to eat lunch at the elementary school in cardholder’s attendance zone for the current adult lunch price. The PASS 62 is non-transferable, and does not expire.

More information here.

Disability for Migraine Sufferers

As a person that suffers from chronic migraines, I understand all too well how disabling this can be. However, it is not easy to get disability based on migraines alone. Frequently claimants have chronic headaches, which is not the same as migraines. If you are able to take over the counter medicine and have a headache resolve, it is unlikely it reaches the severity of an actual migraine.

There is not a listing for migraines in the SSA rules. The ALJ would have to look at your residual functional capacity, your medical records, and consider your testimony in making a decision. Further, a Q and A by Social Security states “Under our general policy, you cannot establish the existence of any MDI (Medically Determinable Impairment) based solely on a diagnosis in the evidence or on a claimant’s reported symptoms. There must be clinical signs or laboratory findings to support the finding. A diagnosis of migraine headaches requires a detailed description from a physician of a typical headache event (intense headache with more than moderate pain and with associated migraine characteristics and phenomena) that includes a description of all associated phenomena; for example, premonitory symptoms, aura, duration, intensity, accompanying symptoms, and effects of treatment.”

Certain things the ALJ will be looking for:

— Emergency room or urgent care visits for migraines that won’t respond to recovery medicines (generally triptan medicines)
— CT Scans or EEG
— preventative meds such as topomax, elavil, depakote, etc.
— headache journal documenting the days you would be unable to work from symptoms or occurences, as well as the time you would be considered “Off task”
— a pattern of headache events

Listing 11.03 for non-convulsive epilepsy is somewhat instructive in how the ALJ will review your migraines. In this Listing it states: 1) Documented by detailed description of a typical headache event pattern 2) Including all associated phenomena (ie: permonitroy symptoms, aura, duration, intensity, accompanying symptoms, treatment. 3) occurring more than once weekly and 4) with alteration of awareness and 5) significant interference with activity during the day (ie: need for darkened room, lying down without moving, sleep disturbance that impacts daily activities)

I see many claimants that claim that a pain medication that is for their back or other body part is also being used for their headaches. Narcotics are generally not the first line of defense for migraines, a whole other class of drugs are used. Should you wish to hire me as your attorney, I will review your treatment and medical history to see if it accurately depicts migraines.

Hearing Wait Times

Here is a link to the average wait time for a Social Security Hearing. Keep in mind these times are calculated from the day you ask for a hearing- not the day you first apply for benefits. Requesting a hearing happens after you apply the first time, wait, then if denied you request reconsideration, wait, THEN if denied you request a hearing. Columbia, SC has a wait time of 16 months currently. Charleston, SC is 14 months. Greenville is 16 months.

Resources when you are applying for Disability

Many of our clients in Florence and the surrounding areas struggle while they wait for a disability hearing. I talked about this in a prior post titled “SC needs more free and reduced medical clinics.” As a follow up, Dillon, SC now HAS a free medical clinic that has greatly benefited our clients!

Hope Health and Mercy Medicine continue to serve Florence and CareSouth is another great resource in the surrounding areas.

Listing of providers:
Hopehealth, Inc. (many locations in the Pee Dee)
Location: Florence, SC – 29506-2851
Contact Phone: 843-667-9414

Mercy Medicine Clinic
Location: Florence, SC – 29501
Contact Phone: 843-667-9947

Dillon County Free Clinic
310 East Washington Street, Dillon, SC 29536
(843) 774-4243

Care South (Many locations in the Pee Dee)

Also don’t forget these resources:

SC Commission for the blind
SC Autism Society
Florence County Disabilities and Special Needs
Pee Dee Speech and Hearing
SC Office on Aging
SC Brain Injury Association

(I will continue to update this post!)