The trust funds for the Social Security disability benefits program are nearly exhausted and will be gone by 2016. What consequences are there for an employer’s workers compensation costs?
Laws Do Not Exist In a Vacuum
Laws do not exist in a vacuum. They are likened to a spider web – put tension on one strand and all the others move. If the Social Security system is in crisis, which it soon will be, the only options are to reduce benefits or increase costs, probably both. Which means that an employer’s workers will search for other programs to supplement or replace Social Security. Since nearly all Social Security lawyers handle workers’ compensation claims, the results will be obvious – more workers compensation claims against employers.
However, employers can greatly reduce the number of workers compensation claims which might otherwise occur if they take a vital step. Any time a worker or former worker is seriously disabled offer to assist in the Social Security disability claim.
Your correspondent learned decades ago that a worker who receives assistance from an employer on Social Security disability will hardly ever file a compensation claim for the disabilities that are not obviously past of any accident – principally chronic back disorders or cardiovascular events, both of which are common in older workers.
What An Employer Can Do To Assist on a Social Security Claim
What can an employer do to assist on a Social Security claim? Provide vital information which no medical or vocational expert can offer – details of the workers job, its requirements (physical task, frequency, etc.) and a first person description of what limitations the worker faced in the final months on the job. Surprisingly, in most Social Security claims the judge must rely on educated guesses at best since most workers, even though they try hard, are not the best source of information.
It is also permissible for an employer to suggest to the worker that it would be a good idea if the Social Security attorney assisting the worker give the employer a call. The results of such cooperation and team work are impressive.
No claim is hurt by the addition of high quality information, yet most disability claims of any sort have an employer’s presence. Don’t be afraid to volunteer for the task.
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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