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Philadelphia Workers' Comp and Disability Law Blog

Social Security Disability isn't only for injuries

Many people associated claims for Social Security Disability Insurance with work-related injuries that prevent them from working. Some people might not realize that they might be eligible for SSDI if they have illnesses that meet certain requirements.

We know that trying to navigate through the SSDI system is complicated, but we are here to help you learn if you qualify. We are also here to help you throughout the process of trying to obtain benefits.

Rail transport safety called into question

Oil is a necessary resource for many aspects of life and business in Pennsylvania and the United States. As crude oil is extracted from locations like North Dakota and others, it must then be transported to different areas. This can be done by rail. However, this method of moving crude oil comes with a very sobering set of risks. Innocent victims including railroad workers and others involved in the transportation of the oil can be endangered in the event that a train derailment occurs. Such an event could cause a severe workplace accident.

In 2015 alone, there have been at least seven documented crude oil train derailments. Pennsylvania has thus far experienced only minor such incidents but there is nothing that indicates a serious accident cannot occur in the state. Five states in the country have developed and enacted their own laws concerning the safety guidelines for crude oil trains in their areas. These states include nearby New Jersey and New York as well as Minnesota, Washington State and California.

What are OSHA’s ladder safety rules?

Like many people in Pennsylvania, the regular use of a ladder may be part of your normal experiences at your job. Even if you use ladders every day and are very comfortable doing so, you must be very aware of what federal safety laws are in place regarding ladder use. These are important for your own safety as well as the safety of your co-workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created clear guidelines for the use of ladders on job worksites. These are broken out in part due to the weight loads to be held and supported by ladders. General ladder configurations have also been used in determining safety protocol. Following are some of the requirements for ladder use in the workplace:

  • Rungs on ladders must be no less than 10 and no more than 14 inches apart.
  • Rungs on fixed ladders must be able to support 250 pounds at the rung’s center.
  • Two individual loads of 250 pounds should be able to be supported by a fixed ladder.
  • Most non-fixed ladders must be capable of supporting four times what the stated maximum load is.
  • Type A non-fixed ladders which are plastic or metal should be able to hold a load 3.3 times the maximum.

What should I know about Social Security Disability denials?

When people apply for Social Security Disability, they are sometimes disheartened to learn that they have been denied. Those applicants can opt to appeal the decision, which might result in them getting benefits. It is vital that anyone who is denied for SSD understands a few points about the denial, as well as how to appeal.

Man’s widow still awaiting workers’ compensation payments

In any employment situation, both the employee and the employer have obligations to each other. One obligation that Pennsylvania employees and their family members should be able to count on is proper help after a workplace injury or illness occurs. This can often come in the form of workers’ compensation benefits and is something that many people assume will always be there if and when they should ever need it.

Sadly, that is not always what happens. The case of one Pennsylvania family illustrates this all too well. In 2003, a man who had been working at an industrial factory began exhibiting odd and inexplicable signs of mental confusion. Within months after cleaning up a chemical spill, his condition was so severe that he was unable to continue working. It was three-and-a-half years later that his wife first filed a workers’ compensation claim after receiving information that workplace exposure could be the cause of his illness which had progressed to the point that he was living in a nursing home by this time.

Social Security Disability positively impacted by budget deal

People who rely on Social Security Disability and those who are trying to get approved for benefits have probably been watching the news closely to see if there is any relief on the way for the program. If you recall, the program was in some danger of financial issues that could have resulted in insolvency, but some fixes have been approved that will help the program.

These changes come with the recent two-year budget deal that was recently sent to President Barack Obama. The budget includes the money that is needed to pay benefits for the next three years, which is good news for current and future recipients.

Understanding asbestos-related illnesses

Most Minnesota residents have likely heard of asbestos but may not necessarily know really what it is. Commonly utilized in several construction, automotive or industrial applications over a long period of time, asbestos has been the cause of many work-related illnesses. Employees who have suffered from diseases related to asbestos do not have minor issues but often very major health concerns to contend with. explains that asbestos is not really just one thing but rather a grouping of different microscopic fibers known and originally prized for their strength and resistance to chemical breakdowns and heat. These qualities made them ideal for use in a myriad of industries. However, over time, it became known that these same characteristics in some form made asbestos harmful to humans.

A look at construction’s fatal four

For construction workers in Pennsylvania, safety risks are everywhere. Injuries can happen from a ladder fall, a scaffolding fall, a machinery accident or something else. The level of danger associated with a construction site accident does also put many employees at risk of being involved in a fatal accident. According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration, while serious accidents on construction worksites can arise out of many situations, there are four factors involved in a large percent of these incidents.

Electrocutions, strikes by objects, entrapment or construction falls are found to be factors in many construction worker fatalities. Referred to as the fatal four by OSHA, these elements were involved in more than 58 percent of all fatal construction accidents nationwide. Details for that year include the following:

  • A total of 874 construction workers died.
  • Falls accounted for nearly 40 percent of all construction worker deaths.
  • Slightly more than eight percent of fatalities occurred in accidents in which workers were electrocuted or hit by objects.
  • Another 12 construction workers died after becoming stuck or trapped on job sites.

Disability claims require evidence that you can't do activities

Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income is the first step in a process for living the life you deserve when you have a disability and haven't been able to meet the work requirements to qualify for Social Security Disability. As we discussed in a previous blog post, if you qualify for SSI in Pennsylvania, you also qualify for Medicaid so you can get the medical care you need.

Of course, your first step is to actually get approved for SSI. That approval process can be complicated. Most people are denied on their initial application, but that gives them the chance to appeal the denial. We can help you to complete the initial application. We know that determining how you can present your case and prove your disability can be taxing.

Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income eligibility

When you apply for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income in Pennsylvania, you might also be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Pennsylvania is one of the states that has an agreement known as the 1634 agreement regarding Medicaid eligibility when a person qualifies for federally administered state supplementary payments.

In most cases, if you qualify for SSI payments, you will qualify for Medicaid to help you ensure that you get the medical care you need. Medicaid can help you to get a variety of services, including long-term care, as long as it is considered medically necessary.


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