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Scranton Workers' Comp And SSD Law Blog

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.

Stress, sleep loss and the risk of a workplace accident

Accidents in the workplace take place for countless reasons, such as inexperienced co-workers, inclement weather and various hazards that appear on a daily basis. However, stress and sleep loss contributes to many of the work-related accidents that occur, and it is imperative for workers to be aware of the dangers they may face while they are tired or overly stressed out. Not only do workers in this state of mind potentially threaten their own safety, but they may cause an accident the leaves other people injured as well.

Sometimes, stress and sleep problems may be brought on by challenges that someone is facing in the workplace, which can make it especially difficult for workers to deal with these hurdles. For example, someone may be so stressed out about their job that they do not sleep well at night, and these workers may pose a risk to themselves and others on the job. In certain fields, such as those which involve working with dangerous machinery or in high places, these risks are especially concerning.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

If you use your hands to do any kind of repetitive work at your Pennsylvania job, you stand a good chance of developing carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in the future. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that while the pain of CTS generally begins in your wrists, it almost always progresses downward to your hands and upward to your arms. Eventually it may affect your shoulders, neck and back as well.

In the likely event that you never took a human anatomy course in high school or college, it may surprise you to learn that your wrists really do each contain a carpal tunnel. The nerves and tendons of your fingers and hands pass through these tunnels on their way to your arms.

Who can you sue for an injury at work?

Workplace injuries can happen to anyone, which is why Pennsylvania law allows you to file for workers’ compensation benefits. With few exceptions, every employer must cover their employees for injuries that happen on the job. These benefits cover your medical bills and some of your lost wages, including temporary or permanent disability payments.

The good news about workers’ comp benefits is that you don’t have to prove your employer was negligent in order to receive them, and it does not matter if you were negligent, so long as you were not intoxicated and did not purposefully injure yourself. The bad news is that you cannot sue your employer for your injuries, which means you cannot receive full compensation for wage loss, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Qualifying for Social Security disability due to depression

When you are struggling with psychological issues such as depression, many in Scranton may simply say that your problems are all "in your head." Yet rather than implying that your problem may be something biological, the term instead suggests that your issue is one that can (and should) be overcome, and thus does not merit any additional assistance. Fortunately, if and when your depression interferes with your life, there is the possibility of securing disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. Many in your some position often come to us here at Steppacher Law concerned that the lack of sympathy others often show towards their struggles will be reflected by those determining their benefits eligibility. 

If you share the same concern, you will be relieved to know that your eligibility is not based on opinion, but rather clinical evidence. According to the SSA's evaluation criteria, to qualify for disability benefits for depression, you must present clinical documentation showing that you struggle with at least five of the following criteria: 

  • Depressed mood
  • Limited interest in activities
  • Decreased appetite (evidenced by apparent weight loss)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Agitated or depressed mental acuity
  • Decreased energy levels

Am I covered by workers' compensation?

If you are employed in Pennsylvania, it is important for you to know about the laws related to your employment and the benefits you may have access to regarding or because of your employment. One type of benefits offered to most workers in the state is workers' compensation. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, this program is designed to help people after they have been injured at work, developed an illness related to a work environment or situation or have lost a loved one in a work-related incident.

Benefits are available to you beginning on your first day on a job. However, if your injury or illness is related to any illegal activity or drunkenness or if you deliberately hurt yourself in some way, you may not be able to receive workers' compensation benefits. If you work in the maritime industry, worker's compensation benefits may be provided to you via a different program. Any non-military federal employees, domestic help, railroad workers, volunteer personnel or agriculture workers may also not be covered under the state's workers' compensation program.

What is lateral epicondylitis?

There are many workplace injuries that can result from repetitive use of the upper extremities, which include the hands, arms and shoulders. One such injury is lateral epicondylitis. You may not recognize it by its scientific name, but you may be more familiar with its common appellation: tennis elbow. While playing tennis is one possible cause of lateral epicondylitis, it can result from occupational activities as well as recreational ones.

According to the Mayo Clinic, lateral epicondylitis results in pain around the bony prominence on the outside of your elbow. There is a tendon that attaches at this spot and connects the muscles of your forearm to your upper arm. When you use these muscles repeatedly to lift your hand or straighten your wrist, it can put stress on the tendon, which can result in a series of tiny tears. The damage to the tendon is what causes the pain of lateral epicondylitis, which can also radiate down to the wrist and hand.

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Scranton, PA 18503

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