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Long Term Disability

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Long-Term Disability Benefits in New York


What is long-term disability insurance?

While none of us anticipate becoming incapacitated to the point that we can no longer work, the reality is that thousands of employees find themselves seriously injured or ill each year.  The average long-term disability absence from work will last over two years, as reported by the Council for Disability Awareness.  Attempting to survive several months or years without an income can be devastating.  Fortunately, many employers provide long-term disability insurance coverage.  Employees with injuries that will last more than six months may be eligible to obtain Read more . . .


Monday, April 17, 2017

What Illnesses/Injuries Are Covered By NY Disability Benefits Insurance?


New York employers are required to offer disability benefits coverage to employees injured out of the job. Employers can obtain this coverage for their employees through an insurance carrier approved by the state’s Worker’s Compensation Board or, if they are large employers, they can seek self-insurance authorization from the same Board.  Seeking disability benefits can often be an uphill battle that is best fought with the help of an experienced disability insurance lawyer.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Study Demonstrates Hiring Bias Against Disabled

What can I do if I was denied a job I was otherwise qualified for on the basis of my disability?

The New York Times ran an article this week about a study recently presented by Syracuse and Rutgers Universities demonstrating that there is significant discrimination taking place when it comes to disabled job seekers. It is important to be aware that there is legal recourse available for disabled applicants who experience discrimination during their job hunting.

The study mentioned was organized in the following way:

Cover letter and resumes were sent in response to job opening ads. The applications were for fictitious candidates. There were two different resumes sent for each position, one for an experienced candidate, and one for a qualified candidate with little experience. Three different cover letters -- one purporting to be from a non-disabled applicant, one from an applicant with a spinal cord injury, and one from an applicant with Asperger’s syndrome were sent with each resume.

The researchers found that for the experienced candidates, responses from employers were significantly more likely when the employer was responding to the application of the non-disabled person. Employers were 34 percent less likely to show an interest in the disabled applicants. Researchers commented that they hypothesized this result, but that they did not foresee such a drastic outcome. The researchers also found that responses were 15 percent less likely for disabled applicants among the applicants that were not experienced, but nonetheless qualified.

Researchers were hoping to explain the steep drop off in employment rate for disabled workers. Statistics show that 34 percent of people with disabilities are employed as of 2013, whereas 74 percent of those without a disability are employed. It seems very likely that bias is a contributing factor in these hiring statistics. Particularly disturbing is that the gap is greater for people with disabilities who have more education, experience, and qualification.

For those who are disabled and experience discrimination relative to hiring or in the workplace, there are law firms that specialize both in disability and discrimination cases. If you are disabled and feel you have been discriminated against because of your disability, you should contact an attorney who specializes in disability to investigate the legal options available to you.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

How the Social Security Administration Classifies Disability Based on Respiratory Disease or Injury

I have chronic asthma and suffer from frequent attacks. Could I be eligible for Social Security disability benefits?

With any evaluation of Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will review the applicant’s occupational information as well as the medical condition from which he or she is suffering. Generally speaking, benefits may be awarded to one who – due to both the nature of the job and the severity of the illness – is unable to continue working at their current place of employment without enduring a substantial health risk. Accordingly, the results of an application for benefits may vary – even within a group of applicants suffering from the same condition. However, when reviewing a claim involving a condition like a chronic respiratory issue, the SSA will take a look at certain factors across the board.

Respiratory disorders

Asthma, COPD, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis (bronchial inflammation) fall under the umbrella of chronic respiratory disorders. When reviewing claims involving these conditions, the SSA will refer to the list of qualifying symptoms as found in its Blue Book, which details the symptoms and effects of nearly all qualifying conditions recognized by the SSA. If a condition meets the symptoms listed in the Blue Book, the SSA will approve the application for benefits automatically. Nonetheless, proving that the symptoms interfere with patient functioning is not always easy.

  • Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency

    Meeting this test requires a spirometry test showing that the volume of air exhaled in one second is equal to or less than a certain amount given the applicant’s height. An alternative test may be necessary for applicants suffering from a condition impacting the oxygenation levels in the blood.

  • Asthma

    To automatically qualify as an asthmatic, an applicant must show evidence of an asthma attack at least once every two months or six times per year, lasting longer than 24 hours, and requiring hospitalization.

  • Cystic Fibrosis

When evaluating applicants with cystic fibrosis, the SSA will review the frequency of respiratory infections, lung capacity, and/or the number of annual episodes requiring medical intervention.

Though a patient may be troubled by respiratory difficulties, unless the patient meets the above conditions, he or she will not qualify as disabled under government guidelines. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Understanding the Basics of New York Civil Service Disability Benefits

Am I eligible for disability retirement benefits as an employee of the Department of Corrections?

Fortunately, the financial security afforded by a disability pension through the State and City of New York is not limited solely to police officers and first responders. Other civil service employees are also entitled to certain benefits in the event of an on-the-job accident, injury or medical condition that precludes the continuation of work.  From the Department of Corrections to the Department of Sanitation, a disability pension may be available to help offset the enormous costs of medical bills and lost wages incurred as a result of a career-ending injury. We encourage you to contact an experienced civil service disability attorney as soon as possible following your injury in order to assure greater likelihood of success. 

Types of civil service accident claims

As a civil servant, there are generally two types of claims that can result in disability benefits. The first is known as a civil service accident, and is generally classified as a sudden, fortuitous, out- of- the-ordinary mischance that is injurious in impact, such as:

  • Slip and fall while on the job
  • Motor vehicle accident
  • Injuries while effecting an arrest
  • Injuries while fighting a fire
  • Harm caused by defective equipment
  • Certain illnesses contracted by on-the-job exposure. 

Not all injuries at work qualify as accidents. Non-accidental injuries may also qualify for pension benefits. Typically they result in lesser monthly income than that of an accidental disability pension.

 

For Correction Officers to win a 3/4’s pay disability benefit, the cause of the disability must be incurred as the natural and proximate result of an act of an inmate. The only circumstance under which a Correction Officer may be eligible for a 3/4’s pension beyond such an event is if they qualify for a presumptive bill pension, such as the Heart Bill, the Infectious Disease Bill, or the World Trade Center Bill.

Navigating the tier system

There are several tiers within the civil service realm that help dictate the extent of a claimant’s eligible benefits. Within the non-uniformed sector (i.e., workers other than police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, emergency medical personnel, and sanitation workers), there are six pension tiers, and generally the longer a claimant has worked for New York, the greater the benefit available. Likewise, the tier will also determine whether a contribution is necessary, and what formula should be used to calculate the total benefit amount.

The process to obtain uniform civil service disability benefits in New York can be daunting, and we recommend seeking the assistance of a reputable attorney. For help, call the Seelig Law Offices at 212-766-0600. 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Newtown Police Officer Eligible For Disability Pay

Are Psychological Ailments Considered A Disability?

 

A police officer began to suffer from anxiety and depression after responding to the 2012 Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.  The officer has been on disability due to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and has not worked since the day of the shootings when twenty children and six educators were killed.  

Newton’s police chief originally suggested firing the officer because he is unable to return to work.  The chief later withdrew that statement, but brings to light the negative connotation those on disability face when they are unable to return to work because of an injury.  This officer was one of many who responded to a horrific scene at the school that day.  The officer originally supervised the evacuation of children from the school’s side doors but later went into the classroom where many of the children were shot dead by the gunman.  The officer says the things he saw that day continue to affect his mental faculties and ability to adequately perform his job.   

The officer testified in front of Connecticut lawmakers during a General Assembly’s debate on granting worker’s compensation and disability payments to first responders suffering from PTSD.  The town’s insurance company is responsible for paying 50% of the officer’s salary through June.  The State Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled the officer’s contract with Newtown requires the town pay the officer half of his salary until retirement.    

A first responder’s job often involves witnessing horrific accidents and crime scenes..  New York provides short and long-term disability when people become physically or mentally ill. But, filing for and successfully claiming disability can be tricky and tedious.  The lawyers at Seelig Law Offices have years of experience helping people claim disability benefits and getting a maximum payment while the individual is unable to work. Contact our experienced New York City disability lawyers today at (212) 766-0600 for a consultation.      


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Understanding the Difference Between Short-term and Long-term Disability in New York

I recently suffered a serious injury and I am unable to return to work – however, I’m not sure how long I will be hurt. What is the difference between long-term and short-term disability in New York? 


Disability benefits are an important and – in many cases – vital component to maintaining financial stability in the wake of a serious illness or injury.  In general, the major difference between short-term and long-term disability benefits in New York is the expected duration of the underlying condition and whether it is expected to eventually resolve. In the following, we explain the components of each benefit as well as the eligibility requirements for short-term versus long-term coverage. 


Short-term disability in New York 

If an employee is injured while not on the job (which would not be covered by New York’s workers’ compensation regulations), short-term disability benefits may be available through the New York State Department of Labor. Under its regulations, all covered employers are mandated to maintain a short-term disability policy for workers who experience an injury or illness, which provides approximately 50 percent of a worker’s average wages for up to 26 weeks. The wage amount is calculated based on a worker’s pay rate over the prior eight weeks, and the claim for benefits must be filed within 30 days of the date of the injury or diagnosis. 

If a condition is expected to last longer than 26 weeks, is considered terminal, or the applicant meets certain age criteria, long-term disability benefits may be the best option to supplement the financial loss incurred by a medical condition.


Long-term disability benefit basics 

In New York, long-term disability benefits may be available through the Office of Labor Relations. For covered employees, the option to enroll in long-term disability insurance must be made available by their employers. Under this coverage, an employee can receive 66 and two-thirds percent of their basic earnings each month – which may be reduced if the employee is deemed “partially disabled” as opposed to totally disabled. 

A partial disability is one in which, due to the illness or injury, the employee is no longer able to work on a full-time basis but can still handle part-time work at his or her current job or a different job. By contrast, an employee with a total disability is rendered unable to continue working in any capacity or in any vocation. 

For more information about the benefits available to New Yorkers facing injury or illness, please contact the disability law attorneys at the Seelig Law Offices, LLC by calling 212-766-0600 today.

 

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