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Chambersburg Injured Workers Blog

Persistence during appeal process matters after disability denial

People in Pennsylvania who are struggling with a disabling physical or mental condition might want to give up when they receive a denial of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. A determination letter that denies a person benefits does not have to be the last word on the matter. An applicant has the right to appeal the decision and submit the paperwork within 65 days to the agency.

This first part of the appeal process initiates reconsideration of the application. A person can even send in more medical records to try and illustrate disability at this point, but reconsideration appeals still have a high rate of denial. Nationally, the average success rate for these appeals only amounts to 10 or 15 percent of cases. A reconsideration typically fails because it is being evaluated at the same regional disability determination services agency that issued the first denial. Although a different examiner will review the case, that person must still apply the same standards that the initial examiner did.

Why representation increases SSD and SSI hearing win ratios

Seeking Social Security disability (SSD) payments or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Pennsylvania can sometimes be a daunting, time-consuming, and frustrating task. This is why having representation during the required hearings for SSD and SSI claims increases the odds of having a successful outcome with cases of this nature. As for why representation can be so helpful with disability claims, the short answer comes down to two things: solid case preparation and a more comprehensive and clear presentation of relevant arguments and positions.

Prior to a SS disability hearing, a representative typically begins to gather the required medical records and related documents. Before being sent to the administrative law judge (ALJ) who will be hearing the case, such information is often reviewed to determine if there are additional steps that may need to be taken to strengthen the evidence presented. Having someone who can keep medical information updated can be a valuable asset for a claimant since Social Security officials will no longer update this information once a case has been denied on a reconsideration appeal.

Workers' Compensation: What All Employees Need to Know

When employees go to their job each morning, they expect to work hard and to receive compensation for their efforts. While they might have to deal with difficult customers, they don't always anticipate a workplace accident or injury. Unfortunately, for many employees, that's exactly what happens.

One of the most significant dangers to employees are pinch points. These are areas that a person's fingers, hands, or clothing can catch on. Pinch points are incredibly dangerous and employers should take care to offer protection to employees in the form of guards on the machines, which can help minimize injuries. Proper training and regular inspections can also reduce problems at work.

OSHA recommendations for tree trimming worker safety

Tree care work is among the most hazardous types of work for Pennsylvania employees. Of all landscape service fatalities, 75 percent are related to tree removal or trimming. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, does not require a specific standard of care for this type of work, but federal regulations that apply to all workers apply to arborists.

There are three main types of tree care work accidents: falls, being struck by limbs or trees and electrical contact. These three causes of tree-related accidents have not changed in recent years.

Receiving work incentives through SSI

One of the top priorities of Social Security Insurance involves aiding individuals by providing benefits to those with disabilities. The government program gives payments to adults who do not have access to wealth or resources, and due to their disabilities or age, they cannot find work.

While some individuals have the opportunity to utilize SSI through their lifetime, others may have the ability to work various jobs. If you prove able, SSI may provide work incentives for you to regain employment while still receiving government benefits.

Essential safe handling rules for hazardous materials at work

Many occupations in Pennsylvania require workers to handle chemicals or other hazardous materials. Therefore, employers need to make safe handling procedures a top priority by training employees and asking for their insights about safety. When accident prevention becomes a cooperative effort between management and staff, workers may make a greater effort to follow the rules.

Safety starts with labeling so that workers will know when something poses a threat. All hazardous substances need to be kept in proper containers with clear labels. Workers should alert others to damaged containers or missing labels. Everyone should also have access to the material safety data sheets for every substance. This information instructs people in the correct use of the applicable chemicals and warns about dangers.

OSHA may eliminate electronic injury reporting requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing changes that would reverse a reporting mandate some Pennsylvania businesses may find objectionable. The change is in response to a previous rule update requiring the publishing of OSHA's 300 logs and 301 forms on the agency's website. However, employee names and sensitive personal information would be redacted before publication. In response to employer complaints and an administration change, the agency opened proceedings to discuss rescinding the new rule.

It's not known if public disclosure of such information might directly affect individual workers' comp claims. But because of the ongoing debate, OSHA hasn't been firm about the date that employers with 250 or more workers would be required to file their reports detailing work-related injuries or illnesses for publication on the OSHA website. As a result of the confusion, many employers have already missed initial deadlines set by the agency.

Social Security Disability criteria for anxiety disorders

People in Pennsylvania typically think of physical limitations when defining disability, but documented mental disorders could significantly impede a person's ability to hold a job. The Social Security Administration recognizes that serious and ongoing mental health problems could represent valid reasons for the approval of disability benefits. The agency has a listing manual that includes anxiety disorder or panic attacks as qualifying conditions.

The manual details the criteria that people must satisfy to achieve a disabled status. Specific diagnoses within medical records, such as cerebral palsy, bipolar disorder or seizure disorder, could meet these requirements. For mental and anxiety disorders, applicants need to present documentation about at least three persistent symptoms associated with their mental health condition. Impairment caused by their symptoms must meet at least two of the standards for severe impairment, which are repeated episodes of decompensation or a restricted ability to engage in daily activities, to function socially or to concentrate. A documented inability to function outside the home at all could satisfy the impairment requirements.

Avoid lifting injuries – and a workers’ compensation lawsuit

Your job requires you to lift heavy items. From boxes to machinery, these loads take a massive toll on various parts of your body but especially your shoulders and back. You understand the technique required to safely lift loads, but repetitive stress injuries (RPI) of lifting bring aches and pains.

Workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania gives employees the benefit of knowing that an employer will provide their compensation even if they prove unable to work due to workplace injuries. You may wish to seek restitution if you injure yourself, but you may also wish to understand safety tips to ensure you lift carefully.

Asbestos to blame for more deaths than previously thought

According to the International Commission of Occupational Health, asbestos-related occupational diseases are more common than past estimates lead people to believe. In 2016, these diseases led to 222,321 deaths worldwide, including 39,275 cases in America. Pennsylvania residents can compare this with the estimates from the International Health Organization and World Health Organization, which put the number between 105,000 and 110,000.

This discrepancy is caused by a couple of factors. First, many countries underreport their number of cancer cases and never bother to detail the causes. This is important because asbestos exposure, contrary to popular belief, does not only lead to mesothelioma. It actually causes six times more occurrences of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure is also connected with ovarian and larynx cancer.

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