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Scranton Workers' Comp And SSD Law Blog

SSD benefits due to asthma

It has been our experience here at Steppacher Law that a great deal of misinformation exists about Social Security Disability benefits and the people who are awarded them. Many might think that if you are seeking such benefits due to illness that it is simply because you tend to be prone to sickness. Yet one cannot secure such benefits by claiming that they are too sick to work. Indeed, a clinical diagnosis is required to qualify for SSD, along with certain exacerbating conditions that make it difficult for you to perform the normal functions of a job. 

Respiratory illnesses are among the major contributors to impairments that prove to be disabling. Even something as seemingly minor as asthma might make it difficult for you to work. Of course, you simply having asthma may not qualify you for disability benefits. Rather, you must meet the case standards established by the Social Security Administration

Important facts about workers' comp in PA

Workers' compensation insurance benefits employers as well as employees. This insurance covers lost wages and medical costs for workers injured during the course of work. Additionally, fault is not usually a factor when an employee is injured. There are a few important points to consider, particularly when it comes to employer exemptions in Pennsylvania. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, some employers are not obligated to carry this insurance. For example, federal employees are covered by other laws governing workers' comp. The same is true of railway employees and longshoremen. In this case, state coverage would not be necessary for employers to remain in compliance with prevailing laws. Farmworkers are also exempt under certain circumstances. If a farmworker earns less than $1,200 during a single year for a single employer, this worker would not need to be covered. Coverage for domestic workers is also optional under existing laws. 

How can I appeal a denied claim?

When applying for Social Security disability coverage, you must be prepared for your claim to be denied. In this case, you can launch an appeal to ask that your claim is given further scrutiny to determine its merit. The appeals process can be very meticulous, so it's important that you understand what will occur so you can take the proper steps to prepare your case. The Social Security Administration offers the following information on appeals. 

There are actually four levels to the appeal process, each of which will review your claim to make a determination on its validity. The first level is reconsideration. This entails a new review of the evidence regarding your disability by a person who was not involved in the initial review. Reconsideration may also occur if you're told that your benefits are being revoked due to an improvement of your medical condition. Once the reconsideration process is complete, you'll receive a decision on your case. 

What fall protections are required in the construction industry?

Everybody experiences a fall at some point during their lives. In fact, falls in Scranton may seem so routine that it comes as a surprise to you to learn that they are among the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities. In most cases, it is not so much the fall itself that is dangerous, but rather the circumstances in which it occurs. Many of the workplace falls that produce serious injuries and fatalities occur in the construction industry. If you happen to work in that sector, then you will no doubt want to know what fall protection measures your employers is required to provide for you and your coworkers. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets the standards for fall prevention. When regulating the construction industry, the magic number is 6 (6 feet, that is). That is the height above which your employer is required to provide you with fall protection when working with the following elements: 

  • Roofs and leading edges
  • Hoist areas
  • Holes and excavations
  • Ramps, runways and walkways
  • Forms and precast concrete structures
  • Dangerous equipment

Lawmakers look to expand first responder workers' comp coverage

Just a few weeks ago, comedian Jon Stewart was in the news because he made a passionate plea to Congress to fully cover health care costs for 9/11 first responders. A significant number of them have died or are dying from cancers and illnesses they most likely developed because of long-term exposure to hazardous materials at the 9/11 cleanup sites.

In the last few years, both federal and state lawmakers have debated about what types of health conditions worker’s compensation will cover for first responders.

What health provider information should an employer give you?

When you are hurt on the job and are looking for the right doctor under the state’s workers’ compensation law to treat you, you want the right information available to you without any hassle. That is why Pennsylvania law requires that employers create a list of health care providers for a worker to choose from. This list comes with certain stipulations that an employer must follow to make the selection as clear as possible to employees.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website, an employer has the duty to make the employee aware of his or her rights and duties at the time of hiring, which includes a list of designated health care providers. The employee has to sign the notice at the time of being hired. However, an employee may have to sign the notice again if the list is changed or if the employee is injured.

Can you qualify for disability benefits for anxiety?

Ask anyone in Scranton, and they are likely to tell you that everyone experiences anxiety to a certain degree. This may be why your claim of anxiety interfering with your inability to work may be met with some skepticism. Yet simply saying that you have anxiety is not sufficient to qualify for disability benefit through the Social Security Administration; as is the case with any medical condition, your claim must be supported by clinical evidence. 

According to Section 12.06 of the SSA's Listing of Impairments, your claim of anxiety keeping you from working must be supported by one of the following three conditions: 

  • Anxiety disorder evidenced by a three-symptom combination of restlessness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension or difficulty concentrating
  • Panic disorder accompanied by panic attacks, or agoraphobia characterized by an unreasonable fear of public scenarios
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder accompanied by either an involuntary preoccupation with intrusive thoughts or repetitive motions aimed at reducing stress

Some states pursuing criminal charges for workplace deaths

Most employed people in Pennsylvania know that if they should ever become injured while at work, they may be able to apply for workers' compensation benefits to help them recover lost wages or provide for needed medical care. If a workplace accident results in a fatality, some family members may be available for death or survivor's benefits. When a death is linked to a safety violation on the part of the employer, fines may be levied and civil lawsuits might ensue.

While these are the commonly thought of outcomes of a workplace accident, they are not the only ones. It seems that there may be mounting support for criminal charges to be brought against employers who are believed to have willingness ignored safety rules and protocols and whose actions contributed to workplace fatalities.

Workplace injuries due to traffic accidents

There are many different hazards that workers encounter on a frequent basis. These risks may include dangers associated with certain types of machinery, exposure to toxic substances, falling off of a roof or ladder and so on. Moreover, a worker may be hurt while they are riding in a vehicle or as a pedestrian. Workplace traffic crashes can be devastating and are responsible for the loss of many workers’ lives. Moreover, these accidents frequently leave workers with devastating injuries that can be incredibly hard to deal with on a daily basis.

If you were involved in a job-related traffic accident, it is essential to explore the legal options that could help you recover physically, as well as financially and even emotionally. Workers’ compensation may be one helpful strategy, and you may also need to file a lawsuit depending on the details of the collision. We understand that for many victims of workplace traffic accidents, exploring legal options can seem daunting, but it is imperative to take advantage of any benefits that one may be entitled to during such a difficult time.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

If you are suffering from an injury or ailment that prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive benefits from the Social Security Disability program. While you may not feel thrilled about taking a monthly check from the government as opposed to working, you only qualify for the program if you have paid enough taxes into the Social Security system. You may think of the program as a government insurance policy that you’ve already paid the premiums for. In fact, the technical term for this program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Although your injury may prevent you from returning to work and enjoying other hobbies, utilizing the SSDI can help alleviate some of the financial stress a serious injury may cause.

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Steppacher Law

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Scranton, PA 18503

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