While everyone is caught up in the 'wear a mask' or 'don't wear a mask' dilemma....the chatter over businesses looking for workers, and the question of whether or not government assistance is encouraging folks to just stay at home...the fact remains that the COVID-19 crisis dealt a huge blow to middle income America.
An article from Pew Research found that globally, the number of qualified 'poor' has risen 131 million MORE during the crisis. (story here) The vast majority of those additional 131 million fell from the ranks of 'middle income'.
Last week we mentioned that the average 'working' wage in Tennessee is around $1,000 per week. Here's a bit more information about income disparity depending upon your job (stats here). Nationally, the average weekly wage for management and professional occupations is near $1,300. The average weekly wage for service and laborer occupations is closer to $650 a week (even less here in Tennessee/$550 here). We can all agree that the majority of West Tennessee workers fall into the service and laborer category. Those were also the first jobs impacted by the crisis.
Despite recent tax and benefits packages announced by the White House, there is no doubt that any relief is temporary and just enough to keep families from starving.
Many of those middle income, or formerly middle income families have found themselves in a paperwork and red tape nightmare as they try to survive their financial problems.
We may have the solutions you need, either in addition to whatever government assistance you're receiving, or if you don't qualify for that assistance. At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we have helped thousands of families overcome financial difficulties through debt restructuring, negotiations with creditors, budget adjustments, and if required, bankruptcy. There are several remedies available, including legal options if needed.
Call our office and schedule a free consultation. As the statistics have proven, you and your family are not alone in this struggle. Call us today and let's start charting a path to relief. Our number is (731) 423-1888.
If there are so many jobs available, why does Tennessee's 'new' unemployment claims keep going up? This past week there were over 13,000 new claims...the highest since January. 'Continued' unemployment claims in Tennessee also rose to just above 46,000. On the national 'unemployment recovery' list, Tennessee ranks 45th.
The easy and often repeated answer is, "Well I wouldn't work either if the government kept paying me to sit at home." But is that really the case?
While there may be a certain percentage who are 'working the system'...for the majority, living on unemployment is not exactly the lap of luxury.
In Tennessee, for those in the workforce, the average 'working' wage is $1,027 per week. Unemployment benefits, by comparison, even with additional federal help, average just $528 per week in Tennessee...about HALF the average working wage in the state.
Of course the recent stimulus check helped many families...but even that eventually runs out.
At it's peak, during last year's Coronavirus surge, there were over 500,000 unemployed in Tennessee. Tens of thousands of those had never filed unemployment before, and had previously never had to rely on government assistance of any kind. They had to learn the procedures, how to file, when to file, and what to expect. In the aftermath of it all, many learned how to work the system....and many more are faced with completely changing careers, learning new skill sets, striking out on their own, or reassessing what is important to them now.
The business world is going through paradigm shift changes like we've never seen. Employers are struggling to find workers, especially in lower hourly wage areas...but literally across the board, as potential workers are still hanging back due to concerns about COVID, childcare, family obligations, or holding out for better opportunities. A new study found that 58% employees who have been working from home say they'll look for another job if required to come to an office.
If, however, your family is legitimately struggling because maybe you didn't qualify for unemployment, and these stimulus checks are a drop in the bucket compared what you need to stay afloat....call us at the law office of T. Verner Smith.
Through either financial restructuring, debt resolution, or legal options including but not limited to bankruptcy, there are ways to relieve the pressure and chart a path to a better future. Don't be embarrassed, don't be hesitant, you are not alone, and taking action now is the smart approach.
Call us at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
If it seemed your grocery bill went up over the last few weeks, you're right. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported prices for meat, poultry and fish increased by more than 5% since February. Dairy products also increased by about 2%.
The culprit? Fuel prices...which rose by almost 12% in March. Those costs, of course, are all passed on to the consumer. (story here)
Those hardest hit, as always, are families already struggling with financial problems. Cutting back on food budgets is one of the first things people do when the bank account dwindles. But when grocery prices continue to climb, cutting back has little impact.
A new study last month found that 1 out of every 8 Americans will experience 'food insecurity' this year. The definition of 'food insecurity' is 'being without reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food'. 1 of every 6 children, according to the study, will be faced with food insecurity this year. (study here)
The fact is, however, that many of these situations can be avoided if a legal remedy is at least considered. Many of these families with financial difficulties (especially those caused by out of control debt) can find a way out of their challenges with the remedies offered by our office.
Through debt reconstruction, debtor negotiation, budget planning, or in some circumstances filing for bankruptcy, many struggling families can legally prevent most of the problems they face today. Call our office at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we have helped thousands of families in Tennessee and are eager to see how we can assist yours as well.
Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would cut unemployment benefits down from 26 weeks to just 12 weeks.
The state already has the fourth lowest payout in the nation, at just $275 per week, and if this bill is passed, it will make Tennessee's benefits program among the worst in the nation. Only Florida and North Carolina use the 12 week system.
Those supporting the bill (HB1039) say that Tennessee is struggling to keep money in the 'unemployment trust fund'. Businesses pay into the fund to keep it afloat...and reducing the number of weeks helps relieve that burden.
Those opposing it, however, contend that losing those 14 weeks of unemployment pay would put tens of thousands of families in financial jeopardy. If enacted, the bill would begin in July of 2023.
While this bill may not have an immediate effect (with a 2023 potential date) it serves to underscore how quickly legislators can rip a huge hole in the safety net that struggling Tennessee families rely on in tough times.
Anyone, at any station in life, may find themselves jobless at any point. Are you prepared to survive such a circumstance for weeks or months on end? Many say there are jobs to be had...and yes there may be. But most families are (in all honesty) living paycheck to paycheck. If you compound that with losing a good paying job and are then forced to take a lower paying job...suddenly minor problems quickly become major ones.
At the law office of T. Verner Smith, we can help you navigate your way through the rough waters of financial difficulties. Through either financial restructuring, debt resolution, or legal options including but not limited to bankruptcy, there are ways to relieve the pressure and chart a path to a better future. Don't be embarrassed, don't be hesitant, you are not alone, and taking action now is the smart approach.
Call us at (731) 423-1888 and schedule a free consultation.
Flooding earlier this week across West and Middle Tennessee left thousands adversely affected, hundreds with property damage, and at least 7 who lost their lives.
In most cases, storms and flooding either fall into the category of an 'act of God'...or landlords, government entities, and insurance companies claim that's the case....but that's not always true.
Of course, each case is unique, but in some cases someone simply was negligent in performing their job or planning for scenarios that resulted in innocent parties affected; dealing with property damage, illness, or even death. In those cases, legal representation is almost always necessary in order to get to the truth.
Flooding and sewage backup:
If your home, apartment, or business suffered flood damage, and in your estimation the flooding stems from poor civil engineering, poorly maintained drainage issues, or other potentially liable actions, you are within your rights to pursue legal action for your losses. Sewage backup problems, a serious threat to health, may also be actionable.
If you have a homeowner's storm damage claim that has been denied, that doesn't mean you're wrong. Legal recourse may be available. Oftentimes in instances involving tree damage, the dispute occurs over whose property the tree was on...for example, if your neighbor's tree falls into your yard; typically that falls under your policy, even though it's not your tree. However, legal action may be considered if you had asked your neighbor multiple times to trim back an obviously dangerous tree overhang.
Ultimately, it is a good rule of thumb to be aware that when insurance companies, government entities, and landlords try to pass the buck as an 'act of God'...before you reach into your pocket, make doubly sure they're telling the truth.
At the law offices of T. Verner Smith, we represent clients who have suffered personal injury due to the negligence of another. These types of lawsuits not only provide necessary compensation for those who were wrongfully hurt, but also creates an environment of caution leading to higher safety standards for all.
Call us for a free consultation at (731) 423-1888.
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Call us at (731) 423-1888