A worker who is dealing with a serious injury or chronic medical condition should, if work is becoming increasingly difficult or impossible, file for Social Security disability benefits. There are many reasons that an employer should assist a worker with a Social Security disability claim;
- It is intrinsically a good practice and builds company cohesion.
- The employer is not automatically contacted for information as are the treating doctors.
- The employer has vital information which will assist the judge.
- The employer’s vocational information is even more important than the treating doctor’s medical disability information.
- The employer’s assistance reduces workers’ compensation, unemployment and discrimination claims.
What are the best ways an employer can assist?
The three best ways are:
- Tell the worker that you will help them on the Social Security claim, preferably as soon as they apply or are thinking of applying.
- Ask the worker if you can speak to the worker’s Social Security attorney. Nearly all will need a lawyer in the near future as it will become more difficult starting in 2016 due to the Social Security disability trust funds becoming exhausted in the very near future.
- Compose a short letter to the Social Security Administration explaining what the worker’s job involves and any difficulties that may have had shortly before leaving.
A model letter should follow this format:
“To: Social Security Administration
Re: Disability claim of (name) (SS#) (DOB)
(name) has worked for us as a (job) since (date). (name) has been employed as a (job title). (name) began to experience difficulties due to (medical conditions).
We observed the following difficulties. (list difficulties)
The difficulties presented significant obstacles to a reasonable level of activity. (name) has been a good employee and we wish to provide information which may be of use in the claim.
If any further information or testimony is required we will be willing to provide it.
Signed: name, title
Send a copy to the worker’s Social Security lawyer and discuss. After the discussion mail a copy to the Social Security address provided by the lawyer.
The lawyer may suggest additional information.
Your correspondent has used employer cooperation for over thirty years on Social Security claims, always with good effect. Judges are favorably impressed. Your employees will be forever grateful.
Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. firstname.lastname@example.org
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