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St. Paul Minnesota Workers' Compensation And Social Security Disability Law Blog

Do this to help your Social Security Disability case succeed

It isn't unusual for people to feel intimidated when filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The process is complicated, the rules about what it takes to be disabled can be hard to understand, the agency is understaffed and there's a ton of misinformation out there.

However, there are some simple things that you can do to help your SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim succeed. These are the sort of things that often get overlooked -- but they can actually make or break your case! They include:

  • Fill out all your forms as completely as possible. If you aren't sure how to complete them, an attorney can often assist you with this process.
  • Respond to letters promptly. Each letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Disability Determination Services (DDS) has a deadline for a response. If you don't observe that deadline, your claim could be over. At the very minimum, you may have to start the process all over again.
  • Keep your phone number current. Disability examiners who work for the state agency that makes the disability determinations and claims representatives working for the SSA may try to contact you for more information. If they cannot, your claim may be denied.
  • Don't overlook your pain. Many disabling conditions cause people physical pain -- and pain is very limiting. However, the SSA is only required to consider how your pain affects you if you list it as one of your disabling conditions.
  • Give your attorney a secondary contact. Just in case you can't be reached directly, give your attorney permission to contact a friend or relative, if possible. That way, you never risk missing an important communication.

Federal legislation aims to protect health care employees

Nurses, doctors and social service workers shouldn't have to be afraid to report to work.

That's the basic idea behind the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The bill, which is not yet approved, was recently introduced to the House with the support of at least 20 members of the legislature. If approved, it could change the way that hospitals and other health care facilities operate -- for the better.

The 'going and coming' rule and workers' compensation benefits

Are you aware of the "going and coming" rule that applies to workers' compensation benefits?

In general, work injuries don't actually have to happen at the workplace to be qualified for benefits under workers' comp. You can be covered, for example, if you're out giving a potential customer an estimate and you happen to slip down a step. The going and coming rule simply clarifies the fact that employees aren't usually covered under workers' comp, however, when they're merely on their daily commute.

First aid tips for chemical exposure in the workplace

Workplace chemicals are a constant hazard in some occupations -- and even if you're following all the safety regulations, it's still possible you or a co-worker could end up accidentally exposed.

Here are some important first-aid reminders to keep in mind:

Social Security Disability fraud becomes hot new focus for agency

Social Security has a fraud problem.

As a result, the Office of the Inspector General, or OIG, has plans to develop three new fraud units that are designed to root out corruption among disability recipients. The idea will be to detect people who are collecting benefits even though they aren't really disabled -- defrauding the government in the process and making it harder for those who are legitimately disabled to receive benefits.

Do you have the right medical evidence for your disability claim?

Millions of people apply for Social Security Disability each year. Unfortunately, 60 to 70 percent of those initial disability claims are denied. Because of this denial, many applicants need to go through an appeal process to pursue benefits, which can take two years or more. This is far too long for individuals who are suffering.

For this reason, how you file your initial claim is extremely important. One mistake will have the Social Security Administration (SSA) tossing out your application.

Medical workers: Report every accidental needle stick

If you're a medical worker who handles needles, you know that one slip of a glove or wrong move with your hand can expose you to incredible amounts of danger from an accidental needle stick.

Medical workers take blood from patients about 400 million times every year -- in hospitals, clinics, outpatient labs and doctors' offices. Blood also gets taken in ambulances and emergency rooms all the time -- which are often chaotic atmospheres that make it hard for a medical worker to completely concentrate.

Your third-party reference and Social Security Disability

When you file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you'll be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding your daily activities.

This questionnaire helps the SSD examiner understand more about how your condition affects your ability to function. Essentially, it's your chance to convince the examiner of the severity of your limitations.

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