The Dangers of Weight Loss

The weight loss industry is huge, raking in $61.6 billion in 2012 in the US where 2 out of 3 adults are overweight. The holy grail of these weight loss seekers, and therefore the manufacturers, is the magic pill that will result in weight loss without the need for food restrictions or exercise. Many food supplement makers claim to have made the breakthrough, but unfortunately it is not true. And what makes it worse is that some of these “miracle” products not only fail to cause weight loss but contain ingredients that are downright dangerous.

Herbal products and food supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so long as they make no therapeutic claims. By and large, these companies can pretty much throw anything they want into the mix if it is generally recognized as safe for human consumption. Typically, weight loss product manufacturers merely engage in misleading the public by making thinly-veiled claims of instant weight loss with the use of the products, but the products themselves are relatively harmless, though ineffective. But there are some products that have been found to contain substances that have been previously pulled out of the market by the FDA because they posed significant health risks to the public.

Two of these dangerous ingredients are sibutramine and phenolphthalein, found in several weight-loss products separately or in combination. Sibutramine was a diet drug that had been banned from the US in 2010 when it was found to cause damage to the heart. Phenolphthalein is a laxative that is believed to cause cancer. The FDA has published warnings to the public regarding consumption of products containing these substances.

Consumers who may have succumbed to the lure of easy weight loss may be well served to check out the list of ingredients in the slimming products they are using. The inclusion of either sibutramine or phenolphthalein or both should set the alarm bells clanging. If you or a close family member has already suffered injury or death from the use of these and similar products, a personal injury claim may be in the cards. Consult with a product liability lawyer to get an assessment of the case.

Equal Opportunity to a High-paying Job – One Reason to End Permanent Alimony

Marriage is supposed to be a life-long union and expression of commitment between two people and this is what many who enter into marriage believe. These are the very factors that give sense to the phrase, “til death do you part.”

Sadly, not all marriages turn out to be beds of roses as some couples eventually lose the affection or end up having interests that slowly carry them farther and farther away from their spouse and family. To be able to move forward and pursue the happiness they seek, some file for divorce, completely ending their union, but definitely not the concept of the “til death do you part” phrase. How?

Many of those who marry, more commonly women, give up their profession or career to be able to take full care of family matters. Thus, in the event of divorce, those who have sacrificed education or professional growth usually find it hard to keep up to the present business trend or even find an employment that will allow them to enjoy the standard of living which they enjoyed prior to divorce. Thus, the court awards these individuals permanent alimony, which the financially-capable spouse will have to pay to them on a basis (monthly or lump sum) so decided by the court –  so long as both are alive or until a major change in the circumstances of each (such as loss of job of payor or re-marriage of payee).

In 2012, however, some states have begun to reconsider their laws on permanent alimony. This is due to the fact that there are many who have been required by the court to make such payments (there are some who have been making the payment for decades) despite a very short marriages. Some alimony recipients even live with a new partner, but never remarry in order to enjoy continually receiving support.

Other reasons for the reconsideration include the harm which payment of permanent alimony has made on the financial situation of some of the payees, the equal opportunity the payee has to education, training and chance to find a high-paying job, and the opportunity of the payee to earn even more than the payor.

Factors Influencing Owner Financing

Owner financing is not a familiar concept for most people. Property owners who are not in the business of selling property may think that taking on the financing for a real estate purchase is risky, and would not want to consider it. Buyers who may qualify for a bank mortgage may prefer to stick with conventional lending options. But because of recent trends, Easy Road Home has observed the idea of owner financing has become more attractive for a variety of reasons.

The first factor that may influence the decision to use owner financing is speed. Buyers don’t have to go through the rigmarole of getting bank approval, and sellers can flip property faster and at attractive prices. Even for property owners who are just selling the one item, the uncertainty of the market favors selling as quickly as possible before the market takes another downward turn. Moreover, maintenance and home repairs are more quickly passed along to buyers, saving money for the seller. For buyers who will probably not qualify for a conventional mortgage, owner financing spares them the pain of rejection.

The second factor that can affect the decision to use owner financing is tax issues. Because a seller agrees to accept payment on installment over a period of years, there are tax advantages to spreading out the money rather than getting it all at one time.

Another factor that comes into play is the potential for making more money in the long term. Lending at an interest negates any profit loss from cost of money, and the seller may even come out ahead even accounting for cost of money over several years. This potential is limited by state law which sets a cap on interest rates, but it all works out in the end even in the event of foreclosure. Most owner financing agreements would have a provision that in case the buyer fails to abide by the payment terms, the property reverts back to the seller.

Overall however, the attractiveness of owner financing depends on how the real estate market is performing. A buyer’s market makes it a viable option, while in a seller’s market there is very little incentive for sellers or owners to provide the accommodation.

Addressing Special Disability Needs for Tennessee Veterans

Tennessee has historically been a good place to find soldiers. It was the state that provided the most soldiers for the Confederate Army. Back in the day, there was no compensation for soldiers who became disabled while on active duty. Fortunately, times have changed.

Tennessee routes all applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) to the Disability Determination Services (DDS), a section of the Division of Rehabilitation Services of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. The DDS processes SSD claims in the state as mandated by the agreement between the state government and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The DDS has 30 branch offices that services Tennessee’s disabled both civilian and military.

But the DDS is no pushover by any means. On average, only 25% of original disability claims are approved, and when appealed, less than 9% are approved after a request for reconsideration is filed and assessed. The rest go on to the disability hearing phase, where nearly 63% are approved in part or in full once a hearing date is set, which takes more than a year. An SSD lawyer in Tennessee can expedite this process by ensuring that all the required documents are prepared and the right forms properly filled.

But those disabled while on military active duty or training have another option for disability benefits: the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA disability compensation operates under a different set of rules than the SSD, and the process is comparatively speedy. More importantly, approval for VA disability does not disqualify a claimant for SSD benefits, although there may be cases where reductions are made to the total benefits received.

An additional benefit under VA disability is the Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). It is awarded to veterans to address the costs of special needs for a particular disability, such as veterans who become paralyzed and would need the attention and aid of another person for daily living. The SMC is a tax-free allowance that is automatically awarded if the disability qualifies with the completion and submission of VA Form 21-2680.

Next Entries »