Should I Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

If you can't work due to a medical condition, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. Before beginning the application process, here are some things to know first.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security disability insurance, or SSDI, is a financial safety net for workers who are unable to continue working due to a severe medical condition. It is a total disability insurance program for insured workers.

Are You Insured for Disability Benefits?

If you contributed to Social Security through the jobs you've had by paying an employment tax called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), you are insured for benefits. But, there's a catch.

Depending on your age, you also must have worked recently enough and accumulated enough quarters. For example, if you're 31 years old or older, the rule is that you must have worked a total of 20 quarters, or five years, within the last 10 years to qualify for disability benefits.

Check Your Earnings Statement

The best way for you to know if you're insured for disability benefits is to check your earnings statement. This statement used to be mailed to you annually about three months before your birthday. Now it's available online at the Social Security Administration web site.

It's a good idea to review your statement before applying for disability benefits. Not only will it tell you if you're insured, you can also find out how much your monthly cash benefit could be.

Understand that your benefits are figured out from your work history. So, if you're no longer working and paying FICA taxes, you can never get more in benefits, even if your condition gets worse.

Does Your Medical Condition Qualify?

Once you know if you're insured for benefits, the next hurdle is to prove that you're disabled.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines "disability" as a condition that is so severe it is preventing you from working at any job for a year, or could result in death.

SSA has identified a long list of medical impairments that meet this definition. You can find them in a publication commonly called SSA's "Blue Book."

If your condition is listed, more than likely you won't have a problem qualifying for disability benefits, especially if you have medical proof and the support of your doctors.

But, what if your condition isn't listed? Don't be discouraged. SSA understands that there are exceptions, and has devised a complex evaluation system to determine disability that takes into account your age, work skills, education, and medical history.

However, it could take months to get approved. Applying for disability is complicated, even online at the SSA Web site.

It may be best not to attempt an application on your own. Find a Social Security disability advocate to help you get your earned safety net of disability benefits.

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Rock Climbing And Abseiling – A Thrilling Adventure

Rock climbing and abseiling for one of your next adventure truly is a great day outdoors for a fun and thrilling adventure.

In a nutshell climbing a cliff-face or steep ascent is the climbing skill where as the way back down takes yet another skill known as abseiling.

Some tours may just be a rock climbing tour where you start the tour at the bottom of the cliff or object you’re wishing to climb and vice versa for abseiling only tours, starting at the top of the cliff.

The question is which adventure should I choose? A rock climb or abseil?

The simple answer would be both if possible. Both of these thrilling adventures take a certain skill or mindset to be carried out and for me personally I prefer to kill two birds with one stone.

Rock climbing will use your physical skills, strength and will test your mental strength too where as abseiling does require skill although the mental barrier here is letting yourself casually fall down the cliff face.

Some people may feel nervous around heights and might not be sure if this adventure is for them. Well not to worry I too get extremely anxious and nervous around open heights and I certainly had doubts when I visited Port Vila Vanuatu where I had organised an abseiling tour.

For this abseiling adventure in Vanuatu we climbed the mountainside to reach the top of a 50 metre waterfall. So not only was I exhausted from the steep hill to reach the top, I was anxious about being 50 metres high and I had to deal with abseiling while a tonne of water was rushing down on top of me.

And even though I had doubts that morning about whether or not I should actually try out this experience, I made it to the bottom safely and wanted to go again and again.

The experience of both rock climbing and abseiling sure is thrilling and an adventure that will live with me personally for my lifetime.

Even though I feel the nerves around heights I want to take up this adventure a few more times and try it out in different locations but more important using both rock climbing and abseiling within the climb.

I’m positive that it will be hard to find an abseiling tour that will top the Mele Cascades in Vanuatu however I do want to head out to some areas near my home town and try it out again. The Blue Mountains is one of the places that offers these climbing adventures as well as many others including caving experiences etc.

I hope that you too are able to take up the challenge – whether that is rock climbing, abseiling or both.

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Healthy Indian Food Recipes That Help Gain Weight Naturally

The whole world is obsessed about weight-loss and getting a sleek figure. Wherever you go, you find pills to lose weight and herbal teas that guarantee weight loss. Some companies have even gone to an extent of inventing gadgets like calorie reader spoons and electric powered waist belts that reduce belly fat. While a majority of us are obsessed about are weight and read diet tips for weight loss, there are a few who are actually trying to add some fat to their body. An athletic figure may surely seem appealing to many. But those who are thin, do feel disheartened at times, when they can’t find clothes or accessories that fit them.

As there are very few resources available on weight-gain, I personally thought it would be appropriate to write an article on weight-gain through Indian foods. You may ask why Indian foods in particular? Well, Indian cuisine offers an assorted range of recipes that are high in nutrition and have a high content of healthy fats. Moreover, they are easy to modify as per individual requirements. So here it is. A complete Indian healthy food guide that helps in natural weight gain.

The key to develop muscle mass is to increase the consumption of healthy calories and proteins. It is by slowly increasing the quantity of their meals and with regular physical exercise that an individual gains weight. Vegetarian Indian recipes that include low fat dairy products like milk and cheese, almonds, walnuts, dried beans, soybeans and chickpeas aid in increasing body mass. Chapatis made of multi grain flour, with a starchy vegetable dish like potato, carrots, green peas, sweet potatoes, beetroot, etc. increase the calories while providing the right amount of nutrition to the body. Including more of colorful and leafy vegetables in your diet balances the nutrition and calorie level.

Many stereotype that Indian food recipes cater only to vegetarians. However this is not true. India has a rich cuisine that offers delicacies for meat lovers too. Adding a small serving of lean ground beef, steaks, chicken breast, pork, ham and lamb on a daily basis helps in steady weight gain. Any sea food that includes salmon, tuna, shrimps and cod should also be included in diet as they are highly nutritious and help build lean muscle. As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, 10 -35% of an adult’s daily calorie intake should be sourced from proteins. That is about 45-157.5 grams of protein per day. As whole eggs are rich in proteins and vitamins, you can also include them in your diet. However be mindful of what you eat, as eggs are high in cholesterol too.

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Unique Architecture and Building Regulations of Paros, Gem of the Cyclades, Greece

The best way to discover and admire the architecture of Paros is to walk among its narrow little streets, letting them choose your direction, exploring the shapes, shadows and colors of the lovely little villages. We invite you a virtual walk now, and hope that soon you will feel obliged to visit our gorgeous island!

In the traditional Cycladic architecture, functionality, protection, simplicity and aesthetics are mixed, forming a particularly interesting and beautiful picture.

Architecture in Paros is the typical, traditional Cycladic architecture but the diversity of elements coming from different civilizations adds a special touch.

This diversity is due to the fact that all the conquerors who ruled the island left an architectural trace behind as in the town of Naoussa where the Venetian port create a contrast with the traditional Cycladic architecture or in Parikia, where old two story Venetian houses (for example the building of the former Collage of Arts) show definite Italian influence.

The buildings on the island are mainly whitewashed cubic houses with flat roofs and colored, wooden windows, doors, balconies and pergolas. The houses are built amphitheatrically, one on the top of each other. The streets are stone paved and decorated with white lines, emphasizing the natural curves of the stones.

The narrow, labyrinth-like streets and steps are snaking around the houses and tiny white chapels, leading to the top of the villages where usually a blue domed church stands. White windmills and blue domed churches are typical of Cyclades (except for Mykonos where most of the chapels and churches are red domed).

The most famous church on Paros is Ekatontapiliani (Church of 100 doors) in Parikia. Legend has it that only 99 can be found and the 100th gate will only be found when Istanbul (Constantinople) becomes Greek again. (If you would like to read more about the church there is a fantastic web page )

Building Regulations on Paros Island

To protect the island’s unique local architecture the local administration has taken precautions and introduced very strict building regulations. All the new buildings constructed on the island have to follow the typical Cycladic architectural style in order to leave unharmed the beauty of the island. Some of the most important regulations are the following:

1. Houses cannot exceed 2 floors (ground and first) and the first floor area must be equal or less than 1/3 of the ground floor. Constructing a basement is only allowed outside the city plan.

2. If you build outside the city plan the minimum land area required to obtain building permission is 8000 m² if the title is new (recent subdivision). For titles related before 1993 the minimum area is 4000 m². The maximum livable surface area of the building is200 m² on 4000 m² of land and 280 m² on 8000 m² of land but one can add 25 m² of garage area.

3. Inside the city plan the maximum livable surface of the building can be much more than if you build outside the city plan. Inside the settlements houses are connected to each other or only have very little space in between them.

4. Doors and windows must be made of wood and must conform to certain aesthetic standards.

5. Terraces can be added to the house without building permission and they to not count as livable surface.

6. Buildings need to be white washed in order to obtain residence permit that is a must for electricity (this is the law from 2006 onwards. Does not apply for building permits given before the year of 2006.)

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Was I Scammed by Day Trading Robot the Stock Picking Service?

Day Trading Robot is a stock picking service designed to deliver explosive stock picks to you so that all you've got to do is place the corresponding trades and count your profits. After hearing conflicting accounts of how effective this program is, I decided to try it for myself, here are my findings.

First for those who don't know anything about Day Trading Robot or have never heard of a stock picking service in general, here's how it's supposed to work. It's designed in cooperation with an expert programmer and an expert day trader and the system makes use of complex mathematical algorithms based on 23 winning techniques from the day trader. The program looks at breakout trends from the past and specifically the factors which led to those trends to form, then it works to detect similarities in today's up to the minute market data. Eventually when Day Trading Robot has identified what it deems to be a profitable trade, it notifies you so that you can trade accordingly.

What I found is that this stock picking service primarily deals with penny stocks which is generally a good thing because these are typically lower base priced stocks with much lower risk as they typically don't go anywhere but up. For example, so when I began with Day Trading Robot and received my first pick from it, it recommended a particular penny stock valued on Sunday at 15 cents a share.

I grabbed a thousand or so shares from my online trading account and logged out. I checked back 2 days later and it had jumped to my surprise to 31 cents a share. It continued to climb that day and eventually it leveled off at 48 cents before starting to drop at which point I got out. Ultimately I made about about $ 300, and my only regret is that I didn't invest more.

I've been using this stock picking service for several months since then. I want to establish that Day Trading Robot doesn't win EVERY recommended trade, but I've won approximately 85% of every trade which I've placed since starting with it which I'm more than satisfied with and consequently would recommend this program to anyone looking to make a buck in the stock market or has been struggling as of late. Again, all of the hard work is done for you, you've just got to follow orders and enact the recommended trades to take advantage of it.

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Paid to Study and Travel – 7 Underrated Tips for Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Application

Nobody will give you a tremendous amount of money to finance your study and travel with no string attached but luckily the European Commission does. Of course, there is a limit to the quantity of scholarships and they receive more applications each year that they cannot possible accept every single potential candidate no matter how good. Sadly you cannot change the CGPA that you got from your undergraduate study years ago but what can you do NOW to stand out from the rest?

1) Choose wisely. There are over 100 Master programs offered each year, some are as general as environmental management and some can be really specialised such as hydroinformatic. Chances are, many more people coming from various backgrounds will opt for the general courses. Unless you have a really impressive background directly related to the courses you are applying to, I suggest you select the more specific ones.

2) Publication. You will receive a significant point for having a research work published that it is worthwhile to go back to your undergraduate thesis (if you do not have any publication record… no, the complaint letter about your noisy neighbour in the local paper does not count) and try to get it published in a relevant journal publication.

3) CV. It is a no-brainer but somehow often neglected. The admission panels receive thousands of resumes and they are normal human beings with inevitable stress hormones so make their job easier and they may notice you. There are many online guides that can help you polish your CV but the bottom line is, make sure it is effortless to read at a first glance.

4) Recommendation letter. If you are working or have worked before, try to get a strong recommendation letter from your current / previous employer. Since most of the offered Master programs consist of one semester of internship, this will show you that you are not just a bookworm but also someone practical who can do their job well in the industry.

5) Motivation letter. Be precise with real life examples and let them know what you can offer them and how the program can benefit you professionally. There are also numerous online guides that you can refer to in writing an exceptional motivation letter so make use of that.

6) Foreign language. Pick up a foreign language of the home university that you are applying to and state it in your CV. We are all attracted to foreigners who are open to our language and culture.

7) Organisation. Arrange your application form and documents appropriately. Read their website carefully to make sure you have all documents that they request. If they ask for the hard copy, please make certain that your application package will reach them before the deadline. They do not have time to e-mail every applicant each time there is something missing.

While the tips above can improve your chances of admission based on my experience and interaction with other successful applicants, please note there are other factors taken into consideration in the admission process and these can differ from one program to another. All the best!

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What Is Surtax?

This is a type of tax whose charge is based on the amount of another tax being paid. In Canada, there are four types of surtax: federal income, provincial/territorial income, Ontario’s wealth and the non-resident.

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Income Surtax

The federal government and most provinces/territories use a staggered tax system with individuals and joint filers paying tax based on income thresholds. Some of these government agencies, including the federal government, charge surtaxes on top of these rates.

The amount of the surtax is determined by the amount of basic income tax paid. For example, someone with $40,000 of taxable income will pay 15% of this, $6,000, to the federal government. They will also pay an additional surtax of 15% on that $6,000, or $900. The marginal tax rate, the total paid to taxes, is $6,900, or 17.25% of the filer’s income.

Deductions apply to the basic income tax, but since this decreases the amount of income tax paid, it also decreases the amount that needs to be paid for the surtax. If the person in the previous example was able to deduct $6,000 of their taxable income for child support, they would then be taxed on $34,000. That works out to $5,100 in income tax and only $765 for the surtax. That works out to a marginal rate of $5,865, or about 14.6% of the filer’s full income.

Non-Resident Surtax

While there are some exceptions, a “non-resident” is defined as someone who was in Canada for less than 183 days that tax year and didn’t emigrate to Canada or immigrate to another country. Since people in this situation don’t have an established province or territory of residency, they pay a 48% federal surtax to the Canada Revenue Agency in place of province/territory taxes. All federal taxes for non-residents only account income earned in Canada or from the sale of taxable property in Canada.

Usually, people moving into or out of the country must pay this surtax up front, then claim a refund after their emigration paperwork goes through.

Ontario’s Wealth Surtax

Starting July 1, 2012, a new tax came into effect for individuals and joint filers in Ontario earning over $500,000. Originally planned to help defer a planned reduction in heating oil tax, it finally passed as part of a plan to balance the budget; politicians promise this tax will be repealed once the budget is balanced sometime during the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Although widely referred to as a “surtax,” it is merely a new tax bracket. Before, the highest tax bracket topped out at a rate of 11.6% for Ontario residents, but those who earn enough to fall into the new bracket, set at $509,000 and above for the 2013 tax year, must pay 13.6% in income tax.

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Tracking Your Wellness Aflac Insurance Benefits With Microsoft Excel

Do you have Aflac insurance? Are you aware of Aflac wellness benefits? Most people are fully aware that Aflac insurance offers plenty of insurance benefits to care for you when you sick. Their benefits kicks in yearly after you have been using their medical insurance.

These benefits range from $15 to over $75 per year per policy. Some policies will pay you multiple benefits provided you submit the proper paperwork to get this benefit payment. In this economy, it is essential to get every penny that is owed to you!

To find out your wellness benefit, open you policy booklet and go to the benefits section. Find the applicable benefit section and see what is required to get this yearly medical payment. Typically Aflac may require you to submit a date of a doctor’s visit or receipt of treatment to collect this payment.

Another great thing about this benefit is that is retroactive! This means they will pay you for past yearly benefits if you did not collect them! They will even pay wellness benefits on policies that you have canceled but had previously for a year or longer.

So collect your Aflac policies and document your policy numbers, effective dates, and wellness amounts. Using Excel, you can create or utilize spreadsheets to track your wellness benefits so you can always know the amount of monies due back to you. Once you have documented what is required, you can sit back and get your payments that are due to you!

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Learn Ninjjutsu – How to Get the Ninjutsu Training You Want When You Don't Live Close to a School

Are you looking for training in authentic, Japanese Ninja training? Do you want to find a legitimate teacher under whom you can learn Ninjutsu?

This article discusses what to do if you can't find ninjutsu training where you live. After your read every word of this lesson, you will be better armed to find what you are looking for, and be able to take the necessary steps to take your training to the next level.

One of the most common questions that I get from students who contact me from around the world is, "Do you have any schools or training groups in my area? ' Or, "I don't have any Ninjutsu teachers or dojo near me, what can I do?"

Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be to want to study this art, but not be able to find a legitimate teacher nearby. When I first started training in the ninja's martial arts, it was 1980, and I could count on 3 fingers how many teachers were available in the entire United States!

To make matters worse, I was graduating from high school and going off to the Army!

Even today, with the art being as well-known as it is, it is still very difficult for many to find this training within a comfortable distance from their home. Unlike Tae kwon do, and many of the more conventional martial arts, there isn't a Ninjutsu dojo or training group in virtually every town.

When I began training in the art, I had 2 choices …

Move to Dayton, Ohio, or Atlanta, Georgia, or …

Travel for seminars and special training events.

And, as I said, since I was entering military service, moving was not an option.

Today, it's a bit easier to find the training than that. And, for those who have a Ninjutsu club, dojo, or teacher near to where you live – you should consider yourselves very lucky!

But, what if you can't move to where I am, or near another training group? There are still several options available to get this training, including:

1) Travel in to see a teacher for private lessons. Although, admittedly the most expensive option, this allows you to get the training based on your schedule. But, if you have the means and the financial ability, this may be the best option for you.

2) Travel for seminars or Ninja Camps. Many groups, like my own dojo, host many training events throughout the year for students who want, or need, to travel in for special training. Of course, seminar training also allows the student who is already training to get more specialized lessons, as well as train with other instructors to get a broader perspective on the art.

3) Home study programs and materials. While it is extremely difficult to learn ninjutsu through books and videos, this may be the best option for the student with limited funds, and no means of traveling to get training elsewhere. Of course, it is possible to learn many of the physical techniques through these media, but this form of training is lacking in 2 very important areas – student accountability (no one to make sure that you are actually training and practicing), and direct feedback from a teacher.

4) Online ninjutsu training programs. With the advances in internet technology, there is now a way to get the pieces lacking from the typical "home study program." A select few instructors now have actual online ninja training programs which combine the use of books, videos, and audio lessons, with webinars (web-based seminars), video-based skill reviews, and teleconferencing, to get you the information and training you need. Some, like my long distance student program, also include lessons for setting up and running your own training group, and how to teach the new students and training partners that you get.

My suggestion is that you should combine several of these training methods, based on what you can afford in the way of time, money, and scheduling. Doing so, will fill in the gaps that each inherently has. So, where traveling for seminars and camps will give you lots of material to work on over time, an online ninja training course will give you access to a teacher on a regular – usually weekly basis to get the feedback you need to keep you on track .

Regardless of how limited your time and finances are, there are very few who cannot do something to get the training that they need. Remember, warriors are people of action and decision-making. Where others make excuses and find reasons "why not …"

The true Ninja overcomes any and all obstacles, and asks the question, "How can I get this done?"

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Healthy Food Recipe For a Quick Meal

With the heat of the summer and the fact that we have longer days, many times we would like to eat something light as well as later in the evening. Ideally speaking, a quick easy dinner as well as an easy healthy dinner. Here is a healthy food recipe for a quick meal.

Based upon one of my favorite marinades, this healthy food recipe is a quick easy dinner that can be made for 1 or more people (if you are entertaining). What I did earlier this week was prepare halibut over brown and wild rice mixed with dates and served green beans on the side. This easy healthy dinner took no time at all to make.

The ingredients to use for this quick meal are:

1 portion of halibut

Brown rice

Wild Rice


Green Beans

To start this quick easy dinner, marinate the halibut in a bowl of equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons each) and a clove or two of garlic. Coat the halibut and place the fish in the refrigerator for about two hours.

In the meantime, follow the cooking instructions on the back of the packages for the wild rice and the brown rice and cook both types of rice separately. When I made this healthy food recipe, I used 1/4 cup of wild rice and 1 cup of brown rice.

Once both sets of rice are cooked, mix them together and add chopped dates. Be sure you check the dates for nuts. Allow the heat of both sets of rice to warm up the chopped dates. Set the rice aside.

Once the halibut is marinated, cook the fish in the oven until tender and flaky but not raw in the middle. To make this a really quick dinner, purchase freshly frozen green beans and heat them up over the stove while you are cooking the halibut.

If the rice has cooled, you may want to pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat it. Set the rice on your dinner plate, then place the cooked halibut on top and then the cooked green beans to the side, and there you have a quick easy dinner using a healthy food recipe.

I like to save even more time cooking dinner in the summer and often will prepare my combination rice serving ahead of time and refrigerate it. I make a couple of servings and then take it out for this dish or another quick meal that I may cook during the week.

I hope you find this healthy food recipe for a quick easy dinner enjoyable. What is so great about this easy healthy dinner is that it takes no time to make and is easy to clean up. Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

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