Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

As most of you realize, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey Monday Oct 29th. 2012.  What is more remarkable is that the Workers' Compensation Board closed its downstate Hearing Points for both Monday and Tuesday. In years past, Governors were resistant to such closures and injured workers and all persons connected to the system were left to wonder what they should do about scheduled hearings.

Governor Cuomo , helped all concerned by acting appropriately and was out in front of the storm. Rest assured, cancelled hearing will receive prompt rescheduling and notices will be forthcoming. All clients should continue to attend treatment and keep contact with their doctors and health providers when safe to do so. Compliance with board regulations and recent interpretations of the Workers' Compensation Law will require vigilance in protection of your rights. When safe, contact your doctors, continue to make your work searches and keep your attorney or legal representative in the loop

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Resolution of your Workers’ Compensation Case

At the present time, the resolution of a New York State Workers’ Compensation case usually means either settlement by way of a Workers’ Compensation Section 32 Settlement or Walk in Stipulation Calendar action, (WISC). This means, to the everyday worker, after all the dust settles and you no longer require continued immediate care you can consider settlement options. If the settlement is to be a full and final resolution of your rights you would use the Section 32 avenue. In some instances continued medical care can be negotiated with some accommodation by way of a reduction in the indemnity benefit for the settlement. In some cases, annuities can be used or grafted to the settlement which can be adjusted to the indemnity portion of the case. This requires detailed negotiations and review of any Medicare conflicts and rights. The time table for such a resolution as stated by the agency presently reviewing Medicare’s rights for CMS approval and Medicare’s protection is now more than 270 calendar days post settlement negotiations for old cases and approximately 90 days or less for recent settlements. A short partial resolution of your case can also be accomplished by a WISC settlement upon agreement of the parties and formalization by the law judge on your case. This process usually takes two weeks from date the agreement is signed to a hearing date and another two weeks post hearing,  for publishing and payment of the award. Settlements while in theory can be on any aspect of the Workers’ Compensation case, they are usually not used until immediate care has ended. As stated earlier in prior blog  postings, this blog is to be considered for educational and informative purposes only. See my disclaimer throughout these blogs for proper use of an attorney for your personal case.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Long Term Disability

Very often employers provide or individual workers obtain additional insurance policies known as Long Term Disability., aka LTD.  These types of insurance plans  provide indemnity benfits to those individuals who are disabled under the terms of the LTD policy. Most of these plans require those persons entitled to benfits to also apply for Federal Social Security Benefits since the provider of the benefits would then be permitted (in most plans) to limit or reduce it's obligation by the amount of the Federal Social Security Benefit as well as be reimbursed by the beneficiary for retroactive Social Security Benefits.  It is therefore important to know the requirements of your LTD policy as well as whether there is a set off for Workers' Compensation Benefits. Most LTD policies are not used to reduce their payouts by the amount of any Workers' Compensation benefit but, this does not meanthey can not be written to provide such a credit to the benfit provider. Most LDT policies begin after the expiration of six months of being totally disabled. You should also be aware that each LTD plan has definitional explanations of "total disability" both as to degree of disability and duration. It is usual for LTD policies to define compensability as being totally disabled for your past job as described in the policy  for a period of time but, a new definition may occur in most plans after a two year benefit year passes. It is therefore sigificant that not only do you read and understand the terms of your policy but that you review same with a professional so you understand your benefits. As discussed throughout this blog, no attorney clent relationship exists and the information contained throughout this blog is for informative purposes or educational only. A proper retainer and face to face discussion is necessary to protect your rights since specific policies and facts as well as locations may effect the rights contained in such arrangements.