I passed through Customs after a trip to Europe this week and explained to the Customs official that I represented injured workers. His first comment to me was “How ‘bout those guys that are scamming the system?” I attempted to provide the disclaimer to his notion that “At least one out of every three is a fraud.” by explaining that in a long term study of fraud in Wisconsin, the incidence of fraud was literally one in 5,000.
Nonetheless, that notion persists. I read with interest today the speech of Professor Jon C. Dubin accepting a Distinguished Service Award. I sent Professor Dubin a congratulatory note and obtained his permission to reprint it in an upcoming issue of the Workers First Watch (the magazine of the Workers Injury Law and Advocates Group (WILG) which I edit. He noted
“Sometimes it seems like the only thing less popular than a disability benefit claimant these days is a disability benefit claimant with a lawyer. But it bears remembering that you are the first line of defense against these stereotypes and misperceptions and against the insidious drumbeat of atypical anecdotes and calls for draconian policy change. You are also the only ones who can communicate your clients’ true and heartbreaking counter-narratives to those fraud stories. You are the ones who can describe the terrible injustices that routinely occur in assembly line administrative decision-making especially when there is a cloud of political pressure lurking above that process.”
References made to Social Security representation are also applicable in our worker’s compensation arena. Congratulations again to Professor Dubin on his well-deserved award and his accurate perceptions of disability claimants and their representatives.
Today’s post comes from guest author Todd Bennett, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Social Security benefits are slated to go up, but not by much. “The cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security for 2014 is likely to be very small, marking the fourth year in the last five that recipients receive little or no increase in benefits,” according to a recent CNNMoney article.
The American Institute for Economic Research estimates the increase to be 1.4% to 1.6%. Last year’s increase was 1.7%, and the 2012 increase of 3.6% was the only “significant rise in benefits in recent years,” according to the article.
If there are questions about your specific legal situation, please contact the firm.
Having physical or mental impairment will not automatically make you entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Many people believe that if they suffer from a physical and/or mental impairment and can’t find work, this means they should be on Social Security Disability. This simply isn’t true.
Disability is not necessarily tied to your ability to obtain work, or your inability to perform one main occupation. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your employability not just in your immediate locality, but also in the state and region in which you live.
While only employment opportunities in your immediate areas are considered for workers’ compensation, the same is not true for social security disability. If you are unable to find work in your immediate area, the SSA requires you to move to a locality where a job exists. Note that the SSA’s responsibility doesn’t include having to find you employment, but only to establish that you are physically and mentally capable of performing that job if a position became available.
Additionally, your inability to perform the work you’ve done for years or decades does not automatically qualify you for disability. The SSA will consider skills you’ve acquired from your work life in determining whether those skills allow you to “transfer” to or perform other occupations. It’s important to also remember that the SSA isn’t really concerned with how much those other occupations may pay. If you can work full-time in a position that is available in your state and region, this will normally disqualify you from receiving disability.
The conditions which the SSA imposes upon a claimant are unfortunately, not always feasible or fair. Nevertheless, as it is the current state of the law, compliance is required.
Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano. While the specific examples given are from NY, the information is true in WI as well–SSD, pension, and Workers’ Comp benefits can be paid concurrently.
QUESTION: IF I AM GETTING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY (SSD) AS WELL AS A PENSION DOES THAT MEAN I CANNOT GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AS WELL?
ANSWER: YOU CAN GET STILL GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION WHEN YOU ARE RECEIVING A PENSION AND SSD.
At 55, Joe was a walking museum of every accident he had ever had in his 30 years of working the job. That last accident put him out of work for almost two years. Luckily, he filed all the paperwork, submitted all the forms, crossed all his ‘Ts’ and received Social Security Disability (SSD).
But after three decades of hard work, Joe had had enough and so he started the paperwork to retire. But he was worried. He had planned on applying for Workers’ Compensation, but he wasn’t sure he’d could since he was already on SSD and about to receive his pension. What should he do?
File, Joe! File!! The combination of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and a pension is called the Trifecta, a Triple Crown of benefits, so to speak. Continue reading