Options After Becoming Permanently Disabled due to Workplace Injury

The financial effects a permanent injury or chronic illness sustained/acquired due to work would be devastating, especially if the work is the family’s major source of livelihood. Besides leaving the victim incapable of returning to work, it will also mean loss of earning capability and continuous costly medical treatment. Many families in the past have had just this particular kind of situation – wherein the injury or illness has left them financially crippled, with no one to turn to.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefit in 1908 was passed by the US government to specifically address the victim’s financial woes. It was meant to provide financial benefits that would cover cost of medication and medical treatment, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, death and disability, especially permanent total disability or PTD. This law, which was mandated on most business owners and employers, began to be adopted in various states between 1911 and 1920. This gave injured victims something to turn to in the event of a work-related injury.

In 1935 another law, which was aimed at providing employees the financial benefits that would save them from suffering a financial crisis due to a medical condition or disability that would last a year or more, was passed; this was the Social Security Act.

While disability benefit claim forms are long and complex, filing these can be quite complicated too for the injured or his/her representative. The forms will have to be filled out correctly, no information or signature should be missed and all the needed supporting documents that will attest to the permanent disability will have to be submitted with the correct, filled-out forms.

One sad thing, which the website of Scudder & Hedrick, P.L.L.C., confirms, is the fact that most disability applications are denied by insurance providers. Some applicants are judged as not qualified, while some are denied only because of a missing signature, a skipped box or submission of the wrong form. The same article in Scudder & Hedrick’s website goes on to say that those tasked to evaluate applications for benefit claims are more aggressive in discovering faults in order to have the applications denied.

Applicants, who have been denied, however, are entitled to know the reason behind the decision, as well as make to an appeal to alter it. This appeal is a formal request for a re-assessment of the application (whether a denial or approval of claim, but at a reduced amount). To stand a chance for reconsideration, the applicant must make sure that the appeal is filed before the stipulated deadline and that all proper documents, such as medical abstract and photographs, letters from the employer (attesting to the truthfulness of the injury), expert medical opinion, and the doctor’s medical review (there is a doctor assigned to conduct the review).

Another very important factor to consider is the hiring of a legal professional who will assist the victim through the whole process and who will help make sure that the victim is awarded the benefits that he/she really deserves.

Veterans Disability Benefits

It is fortunate that those who have served in the US military who sometimes find themselves in need of financial relief because of disability can find it. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) under the US Department of Veteran Affairs receives, processes, and manages claims for veterans disability benefits, all of which are tax-free. These benefits can make a significant impact on a disabled veteran’s future and can help improve the quality of life dramatically.

Chief among claims that the VBA services are for disabled veterans whose disabilities are service-connected. This refers to disabilities that were incurred or made worse while on active duty in the military service, or which may be considered as secondary or related to military service even if the disability surfaced after service. These veterans are entitled to receive Disability Compensation.

Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are of a severity that it requires “aid and attendance” of another person or for specific disabilities may be eligible for additional benefits under the conditions set forth in Special Monthly Compensation (SMC). Survivors and dependents of a veteran who died from disabilities incurred while on active duty or in training may also be eligible to receive benefits, namely the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

A veteran with low income whose disability is not service-connected but meets certain criteria may still claim for financial assistance. Other veteran benefits related to disability include Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance, Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance, and Adapted Housing grants.

Filing for SSD benefits may not be as simple as it is made out to be. There are a ton of documents to gather, not the least of which are medical records, and different forms to fill out for various purposes. And because there is considerable money involved, the process can be painfully complex and slow. It is often to the advantage of the claimant to have a lawyer experienced in dealing with claims for veterans disability benefits do the spadework to make sure that the right forms are filled, documents filed, and benefits maximized.