Accident Injury Lawyer - Bailey Javins & Carter

What kind of questions might I be asked at my SSD hearing?

Our federal government has created programs over the years aimed at helping those who have suffered an injury or a loss to get back on their feet. One of these programs is Social Security Disability. The program’s goal is to help supplement the income of workers who have been injured and who are unable to work. This isn’t something that is automatically granted when a Charleston worker suffers an injury, however.

Social Security Disability benefits are something that needs to be requested by the injured worker. When requesting SSD benefits there is often a hearing in which the injured person makes a claim as to why approving SSD benefits is appropriate it their situation. It is always important to tell the whole story and not to exaggerate the story, seemingly for your own benefit. Misrepresentation of facts or symptoms could derail the entire process.

These are the types of questions a person may be asked when seeking Social Security Disability benefits: the medical-type questions about symptoms, medical history and questions specific to whatever the injured is suffering from; questions about your medical treatment may be asked, including how a person may be attempting to recover from their injury; employment history will likely be a topic of conversation and the judge may or may not ask specific questions about work history, especially questions pertaining to the most recent position held by the injured; and questions about a person’s daily activities from sun-up to sun-down may be asked by the judge to help put into perspective the severity of the injury and how it affects an injured person’s time when they are off-the-clock.

Whether or not you are facing the SSD hearing alone or with help, the questions the judge may ask likely will not change. If you are feeling anxiety about how to prepare or answer these questions, it may be helpful to get more information about the process. Coming to the SSD hearing prepared is the first step toward a favorable outcome. Accurate answers to important questions can mean the difference between approval and denial of SSD benefits.

What is the difference between SSD benefits and SSI?

Whether you were born with a disability or acquired one in life due to an injury or an illness, living with a disability can be very challenging for residents in West Virginia and elsewhere. It is not only difficult to carryout daily activities, but it can be hard to maintain a job and even pay for all the medical expenses required to address any arising health concerns from the disability suffered. Such a condition can make it impossible or nearly impossible for the individual and the person’s family to meet all their financial requirements and basic needs. Thus, a person living with a disability is likely to apply for Social Security Disability to help offset these financial burdens.

What is the difference between SSD benefits and Supplemental Security Income? The Social Security Administration runs both of these programs, and both programs provide benefits to individuals based on the disability the person is suffering from and certain factors that make them eligible for each program.

SSD benefits are provided through Social Security Disability Insurance, which is based on prior earnings. The taxes workers pay into the Social Security Program finances SSDI; however, to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, a worker must earn a sufficient amount of credits. Credits are based on the taxable work that is insured for Social Security purposes. Those eligible for SSD benefits include those that are blind, disabled workers, widows or widowers of disabled workers or adults that have been disabled since childhood.

On the other hand, SSI disability benefits are awarded based on the financial needs of the adults or children applying for them. This includes those that are blind or disabled, have limited income and researches, meet the living arrangement requirements of the program or other eligible factors. Unlike SSDI benefits, SSI benefits are financed through general revenues.

No matter a person’s age or cause of a disability, those living with a disability are likely to endure financial issues due to the medical expenses and life adjustment related to the disability suffered. Therefore, it is important to understand what Social Security programs you qualify for and what steps you need to take to recover any benefits you are entitled to.

What is the appeals process for SSD benefits?

For those suffering a disability in West Virginia and elsewhere, it can be difficult to meet all the financial responsibilities required of an individual or a family. In some cases, a serious or permanent disability can make it difficult or impossible to work, thus, making it challenging to make an income to cover living expenses. In these matters, an individual will likely seek Social Security disability benefits; however, not all applicants are approved. In these cases, an applicant may want to exercise the person’s right to appeal a denied application for disability benefits.

What is the appeals process for SSD benefits? Following a denial, an applicant has 60 days to make a written request for an appeal. The appeal process is made up of four levels. The first level is reconsideration, which is followed by a hearing by an administrative law judge. The third level is a review by the Appeals Council and the final level is a Federal Court review.

Reconsideration is a complete review of an applicant’s claim. Someone who did not take part in the first decision completes this review. At this level of review, all evidence submitted when the original decision was made plus any new evidence will be looked at. This process can normally be conducted without the need for an applicant being present.

When an applicant disagrees with the decision made at reconsideration, the person may ask for a hearing. An administrative law judge that had no part in the original decision or the reconsideration of the claim conducts this. It is usually advantageous to attend the hearing because this could assist with the explanation of the applicant’s case.

If an applicant does not agree with the decision made at the hearing, could the person can request for a review by the Social Security’s Appeals Council. During this process, the Appeals Council looks at all of the requests made for review; however, a request might be denied if the Council believes the hearing decision was correct. If a case is reviewed, it will either be decided by the Appeals Council or returned to an administrative law judge for further review.

If an applicant disagrees with the decision of the Appeals Council or the Appeals Council decides to not review an applicant’s case, the person may file a lawsuit in a federal district court.

The appeals process can be lengthy and complex; therefore, it is imperative that applicants fully understand what options are available to them. This will help them better protect the person’s rights and interests in the matter. 

What does state law have to say about discrimination in workers’ comp cases?

Recently, we spoke about a lawsuit recently filed by a West Virginia worker who alleged that his employer routinely discriminated against employees who attempted to exercise their right to workers’ compensation. West Virginia law, to be sure, prohibits employers from discriminating in any fashion against present or past employees due to their receipt or attempt to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Here we wanted to take a brief look at what state law says on the matter on two important points: health insurance and termination.

With respect to health insurance, employers are not allowed to cancel the policy, decrease participation on behalf of the employee or his dependents, or decrease the employee’s coverage during the time an employee is receiving workers’ compensation benefits for a temporary disability. That being said, an employee is allowed to change insurance carriers, or reduce or cancel medical coverage, so long as other employees in the same class are treated the same.  

When it comes to termination of an injured employee who is receiving or seeking to receive workers’ compensation benefits, it is simply prohibited. State law specifically prohibits employers from terminating injured employees while they are off work and receiving temporary total disability benefits. The only situation where this would be permissible is when there is a separate dischargeable offense, which generally refers to misconduct unrelated to the injury or absence.  


car accident

West Virginia researcher says male pedestrians at higher risk than women

New research shows that men are two times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a pedestrian accident than women. A researcher with the West Virginia University School of Public Health an Injury Control Research Center spearheaded the study. Researchers looked at data recorded in the United States 2008 and 2009. Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people are killed in traffic accidents and in the United States 12 percent of all traffic fatalities involve a pedestrian.

Some studies have previously suggested a higher risk of death for male pedestrians. However, few studies reportedly have been conducted that have looked deeply into the associated factors that may increase the risk of death, according to the lead researcher from West Virginia.

In seeking to discern what may lead to the apparent higher risk of death for men, the researchers looked to see whether distance traveled could be a factor. However, research shows that on average males and females walk about the same distances each day overall. But data earlier studies have suggested that males seemed to have had a slightly greater risk of death when involved in a pedestrian accident.

The recent study showed that men are roughly 2.3 times more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident when compared to their female counterparts. The lead researcher says that more scientific inquiry is needed to explain the greater apparent risk.

While the research focused solely on fatal injuries, it is important to note that any pedestrian can be at risk for serious injury. People are no match for an automobile or other form of vehicle. Although the studies suggest that men can be at higher risk, women are obviously not safe in an accident.

While the speed of the vehicle in any pedestrian accident can be a factor in the degree of injury a victim may suffer, it is also important to note that other hazards exist for pedestrians.

The impact of the vehicle can cause broken bones, internal injuries, head injuries and more. Similarly, the accident victim can be thrown into other objects that can cause serious injuries or death, such as the pavement, curbs, road signs and other hazards near an accident scene.