Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Upcoming Drastic Cut in Social Security Disability--Avoided

Many on Social Security Disability do not know it but the Disability Trust Fund is running low on money. In fact in 2016, only one year away, the Fund will not be able to pay full benefits. It is expected there may be as much as a 19% reduction in benefits.

This problem is well-known to Congress but nothing has been done to address this issue. The Obama administration has proposed a temporary borrowing from the regular Social Security fund to address this shortfall. Republicans in Congress have not agreed. Many of them regard our disabled workers as deadbeats and slackers who are mooching off of the system. They ignore the fact the disabled workers have all been found "disabled" by the Social Security Administration.

What disabled workers can do is contact their Congressman now about this problem before there is a reduction in benefits.

THIS IS AN UPDATE. CONGRESS AVOIDED THE REDUCTION IN DISABILITY BENEFITS BY ALLOWING FOR BORROWING FROM REGULAR SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT FUND IN THE BUDJET COMPROMISE BILL AT THE END OF 2015.

For more information about Virginia workers' compensation call Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or 1(800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.

Insurer Refuses to Pay Injured Worker's Medical Bills in Virginia

In my workers compensation practice in Virginia, I often see workers who were injured at work and the employer's workers compensation insurers have not paid the worker's medical bills. Why is this the case?

First, did the employer know about the injury? Was it properly reported to the appropriate person?

Second, did the employer furnish the injured worker a panel of three (3) doctors from which to choose a doctor from? Did the injured worker choose a doctor from this panel? (In Virginia the injured worker has a right to a panel of three doctors for his/her injury.)

Third, was the treatment (an MRI, physical therapy, prescriptions, etc.) authorized by the doctor from the panel?

Fourth, did the treating doctor send the bill in question with his/her treating note to the insurer? If no the worker can request that this be done.

Fifth, if the injury has been denied by the employer, then the injured worker must file a claim with the  
Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission and consult an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.

For more information about Virginia workers' compensation call Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or 1(800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.

Brain Injury at work in Virginia.

I attended a seminar given by Richmond, Virginia's number one brain doctor. He explained traumatic brain injury (TBI) to the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. It was noteworthy that he said 95% of people with a TBI recover without any permanent difficulties. I guess this is why a football player can have his "bell rung" and go right back to playing. However, nowadays the player is held out of playing for 4-5 days until all his symptoms have cleared. That was not the case when little was known about brain injuries.

But what about the worker who suffers a concussion on the job?

In Virginia the insurance companies are quick to accept a head injury but they are reluctant to accept a brain injury or TBI. One reason is that a TBI makes the injured worker eligible for lifetime compensation. About 99% of Virginia Workers' Compensation Injury Victims cannot receive wage compensation after 500 weeks. One exception to this is a TBI.

An injured worker with a TBI if still disabled for work after 500 weeks from his date of injury can apply for lifetime wage replacement. So if you are a worker who is one of the unfortunate TBI sufferers who did recover from his/her TBI you should know this option.

A second reason insurers don't want to agree to an award for a TBI is that means they will owe lifetime medical coverage for a "brain" injury.

So, what can an injured worker do if he or she has a TBI that does not heal within 90 days? He or she should consult a Virginia Workers' Compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

For more information about Virginia workers' compensation call Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or 1(800) 256-8862 or visit our website at Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer.