Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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October 2015 Archives

OSHA investigating death of two North Carolina men

The deaths of two men who were killed last month while performing construction work and drainage maintenance in the Wilmington, North Carolina area are being investigated. The accident happened when the backhoe that they were operating struck an active power line. The 55-year-old and 49-year-old men were unloading concrete vaults with the backhoe when the deadly incident occurred.

SSD and SSI

The Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet the medical criteria may qualify for benefits. The SSDI program provides assistance to you and certain members of your family if you have paid enough money into the Social Security Administration during the years of your employment. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits if you are disabled and based on financial need. 

OSHA investigating death of two North Carolina men

The deaths of two men who were killed last month while performing construction work and drainage maintenance in the Wilmington, North Carolina area are being investigated. The accident happened when the backhoe that they were operating struck an active power line. The 55-year-old and 49-year-old men were unloading concrete vaults with the backhoe when the deadly incident occurred.

Impairments

There are 14 specific types of impairments for which social security has written specific regulations as follows: Musculoskeletal system, special senses and speech, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, genitourinary disorders, hematological disorders, skin disorders, endocrine system disorders, congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems, neurological disorders, mental disorders, malignant neoplastic disease, and immune system disorders. If you have an illness or condition that falls within these broad categories, it is very important to evaluate your claim under the appropriate guidelines.

Workers' Compensation Opt-out, not a good option for North Carolina.

Employees may not recognize that Opt-out programs are a new and troubling trend in the United States. An Opt-out system essentially allows an employer to develop their own workplace injury plans. "Those plans generally cover fewer injuries, cut off benefit payments sooner, control access to doctors and even impose mandatory settlements" according to a NPR - ProPublica investigation. North Carolinians should be aware of this disturbing trend, and work to ensure that it does not affect employees in this state in the future. 

Overpayments

It is not unusual for the Social Security Administration to claim that there has been an overpayment of benefits. The first step is to determine if, in fact, an overpayment has occurred. Frequently, the overpayment notices do not provide much information about the underlying reasons. Mistakes are common. If it is determined that the overpayment is correct, to obtain a waiver it is necessary to show that you are without fault in the occurrence of the overpayment and that to do so would deprive you of income needed for ordinary and necessary living expenses. There can also be requests to pay out overpayment amounts over a period of time to avoid having to do so in a lump sum. Prompt action is necessary at the Social Security Administration to make sure your right to these options is preserved.

NC-based chicken processor fined $1.4 mil for workplace injuries

A North Carolina-based chicken processing plant that supplies chicken to multiple grocery stores and fast food restaurants is facing $1.4 million in fines after several incidences that took place at a facility in another state. Several violations led one employee, who was a minor, to suffer injuries that led to the amputation of his leg.

Workers’ compensation can vary widely for traveling employees

In today’s mobile society, it isn’t unusual for a worker hired by a North Carolina company to work in another state, either on a temporary or permanent basis. A short business trip can involve travel to another state or an employee may be assigned to a project in another state or even telecommute from a different state.

Are Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable?

While most people who receive social security disability benefits have income that is well below the amount it takes to make the benefits taxable, this is not always the case. The percentage that is taxable can be influenced by household income. If you have any questions about this, please contact your attorney or tax advisor for the specific rules.

Ongoing Trial Work

Even after the end of a trial work period, you have additional rights that last for another 36 months. During this "re-entitlement", you are eligible for benefits from social security for any month in which you do not work enough to reach the substantial gainful activity level. All you need to do is notify social security of this fact and your benefits are supposed to be automatically paid. If you notify social security of a return to work, please request a receipt from them so that there are no questions down the road as to what you've done that you've fulfilled your legal obligation.

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