RSSAll Entries in the "Ask the Expert" Category


RLA Motorcycle Safety Rhode Show

With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Rob Levine joined Brendan Kirby on The Rhode Show on yesterday’s segment. They also talked with Inspector Peter Leclerc and Inspector Robert Santagata about motorcycle safety and what they recommend when riding on the roads.

Motorcycle Safety Explained:

Rob went into detail on how drivers need to be more aware of their surrounds because most accidents involving a motorcycle happen when another driver doesn’t know they are there. It’s best to assume, as a motorcyclist, that no one is aware of your presence so that you can be ready for almost anything.

The more educated drivers and motorcycle drivers the safer everyone will be on the roads this summer.

Watch the segment here.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Rob Levine & Associates to be your trusted motorcycle accident attorneys!

Cesspool & Septic Upgrades

Failed system replacement

We have been talking to local realtors gathering important feedback for you to use and/or share with your friends and family about the new legislation on cesspools/septic systems. Knowledge is power and so often spending a little time, money & energy learning about your system (and options) could save you thousands $$$ by putting you in the driver’s seat!

Understanding your options can help you make the decision to either be proactive and upgrade your system prior to listing your property or put you in a much better position to negotiate with a buyer…

If you or someone you know is thinking about selling…please feel free to share our information with them.

Did You Know… (we’re going to keep reminding you) that replacing a cesspool is considered a repair by DEM. DEM will agree to adjustments (within reason) that are necessary to upgrade a substandard system. There is definitely a misconception out there that the only new system allowed these days is a (the Rolls Royce) denitrification system. More often than not a more conventional system will work.

“…one real concern is when a property has a cesspool vs. a septic and each town/city is taking a different approach to citing owners/new owners.” Marie Theriault, Broker Associate & Realtor Re/Max Flagship

“It is important for homeowners contemplating a sale to be educated on the options that are available for replacement and the potential costs. The costs can vary greatly and be devastating to owners that are up against negative equity” Allen Gammons, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Gammons Realty

“Proactivity regarding septic systems will be important to sellers and I believe listing agents will be suggesting it. If the system is a cesspool, action is required regardless if it works properly or not.” Mark Oltedale – Home Smart Professionals Real Estate

Am I Disabled? Social Security’s Definition of Disability…

young man in a wheelchair writing a letter

young man in a wheelchair writing a letter

Part 2 in a 4 Part Series on Social Security Disability

Unlike other programs, Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial or short-term disability. Social Security only considers you disabled if: you cannot perform the work you did before; you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

The Social Security regulations require that you have a medically determinable impairment in order to be approved for Social Security benefits. If pain is preventing you from working, then you must have an underlying physical impairment which could reasonably be expected to produce the severe pain you allege. Objective testing (such as x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s) can help to identify the severity of pain-producing abnormalities. The type of pain medications prescribed by your doctor and their dosages are also indicative of the severity of your pain.

Psychiatric impairments can be disabling. Social Security recognizes that mental disorders can produce severe symptoms which markedly interfere with the ability to work. But treatment is essential. If you assert that you cannot work due to mental illness, then you are expected to pursue treatment that could help you get back to work. This typically includes psychiatric medications and therapy.

Regular treatment with a physician is needed to substantiate all disabling impairments. This is because Social Security will send your file to a state agency doctor for an assessment of your ability to work. Typically these doctors determine that you are capable of working. You need your own doctor to refute these medical opinions.

As you age, it becomes easier to establish disability. According to the Social Security regulations, people under the age of 50 are “younger” individuals, between age 50 and 55 you are “closely approaching advanced age,” 55 to 60 is “advanced age,” and 60 to retirement is “closely approaching retirement age.” Younger individuals are expected to work in any capacity, even minimum-wage, unskilled work. At age 50, however, the rules start to change. Your prior work and the skills you acquired in the performance of your jobs become critical factors in determining whether you satisfy the requirements for disability.

Social Security defines disability as the total inability to engage in work activity by reason of any medically determinable impairment (physical or mental) which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous 12 months or more.

SSA uses a 5 step sequential evaluation to determine disability:


  1. Does the impairment (or combo of impairments) keep you from being able to perform full-time work? If cmt is working, then he/she will be found not disabled at this step, regardless of the seriousness of the diagnosis.


  1. Is the impairment severe? And is it expected to remain severe for at least 12 months, or result in death? This is the step knocks out cmts with short-term diagnoses (i.e., a surgery where the recovery is not expected to take a year).


  1. Does the impairment meet or equal one of Social Security’s Listings? (In order to make sure claims are adjudicated similarly around the country, SSA has developed criteria, called Listings, for various diagnoses.) If a claimant made. The Listing requirements are VERY high, and a claimant can still win their case even if they don’t meet Listing-level severity.


  1. Does the impairment prevent you from performing any job that you performed in the last 15 years? Here, the burden is on us to show that our client is not able to do any of the jobs he/she did in the last 15 yrs.


  1. Does the impairment prevent you from being able to perform any other work? At this step, the burden shifts to SSA to identify other work that is available in significant numbers that the cmt can perform in spite of limitations determined by the ALJ. Disability Determination Services and Administrative Law Judges use vocational experts familiar with job requirements to assess whether jobs exist which can be be performed.

About Rob Levine & Associates

Rob Levine & Associates specializes in Personal Injury throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability throughout the country. As “The Heavy Hitter” Rob Levine not only works hard on your case, but also believes in making a positive impact in the communities he serves. Through internal resources, education and volunteerism, Rob Levine & Associates strives to help prevent accidents, as well as raise awareness around the needs of our elderly and returning veterans. For more information visit , call 401.529.1222 or toll free at 800.529.1222.



Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) Boston Chapter to hold Rhode Island/SE Mass Breakfast program; “Manage Yourself Out of Your Business”

SMITHFIELD, RI – Exit Planning Exchange Boston Chapter (XPX) will host a Breakfast Panel Meeting on October 7th on the topic, “Manage Yourself Out of Your Business” at the Bello Center, Bryant University, 1150 Douglas Turnpike, Smithfield, Rhode Island.

The event is slated from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and will feature the presentation “Manage Yourself Out of Your Business; Operational and Cultural Improvements to Enrich Value.”  Moderated by Pam Oliver of Horizon Business Valuations, guest panelists will include Bob Miniutti, Phil Papoojian and Jonathan Sloane.

The presentation will address actions that owners can take to enhance the value of their business, for an eventual sale, with an emphasis on how to develop sound managerial and operational excellence. The panel will discuss issues from a buyer’s, seller’s and operational point of view. The panel discusses these concepts from a buyer, seller and operational advisor perspective as it relates to business value.

Miniutti focuses on private equity investments and outside board director opportunities.  His investment and director skills are augmented by a chemical engineering background with engineering and management positions at the textile manufacturing firm Milliken and Gentex, a military textiles and optical devices company.

Papoojian is the former Chief Operating Officer of Metachem Resins Corporation (MERECO), the former Chairman of the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE), and former board member of the National Small Business Association.

Jonathan Sloane has long been a key resource and advisor to New England Businesses. He is the former President of Century Bank and Trust Company, and founder of Sloane Partners, a strategic consulting firm. He recently joined Freedom Trust Company of America, a fiduciary advisory firm where he is the Director of Family Office Services.

The event, at $45 per admission, is open to both XPX members and non-members. For registration information, please

About Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) Boston
XPX is committed to improving the process of planning for, positioning, and executing management succession and business exits. Founded in 2008, The Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) has chapters in Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, DC Metro, Tampa Bay and Baltimore.

The Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) Boston offers an unparalleled opportunity for members to expand their professional networks and develop their skills in the field of exit planning. XPX members have access to a broad network of spets in diverse fields, including accounting, merger and acquisition, business consulting, legal and human systems consulting. To learn more about the Exit Planning Exchange (XPX) Boston or to join, please contact Donna Powell, Administrator, at 978-392-7929,

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