Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Staten Island Workers' Comp and SSDI Law Blog

Will workers' compensation pay for my medications?

For New Yorkers who have a medical issue because of their work, whether it is an on-the-job injury or a condition that arose from their employment, there are many concerns that will arise. For those who need medication to treat their condition, there are often questions about how they will be paid for. Many people who are seeking or already receiving workers' compensation benefits do not know that their prescriptions and medications can and should be paid for by the insurer. If there is a refusal to pay or a dispute over which medications and prescriptions are covered, having legal advice is vital.

When medications or prescriptions are purchased, the injured worker should save the receipt and send it, along with a letter from the treating physician, to the insurer. This must say that the person needed to buy the medication or fill the prescription based on the physician's diagnosis and recommendation. According to the law, pharmacies have the authorization to send the bill to the insurer directly. It also states that the insurer must pay for the prescription or it must provide reimbursement to the injured worker. This must be done within 45 days of getting the receipt.

Social Security Disability Income and the five-step evaluation

When a Staten Islander has been injured or become ill and is seeking Social Security Disability Income, it can be a confusing time. The physical and emotional impact of these issues can be stressful and complex. Many do not want to think about the steps they must take to get approved for SSDI. However, knowing the five-step evaluation process the Social Security Administration uses is a foundational aspect of the application process. Throughout a case, it is wise to have legal advice.

The SSA goes step by step when making its decision as to whether the applicant meets the requirements for benefits. If one step is not applicable, the case will be denied. First, the SSA wants to know if the person is working and, if so, how much they earn in a month. If their income is above a set limit, the SSA will generally decide that the person is not disabled and deny the application for SSDI. For those not working or whose earnings are below a certain level, the case will forward, where the severity of the medical issue will be assessed.

Workers' compensation can help injured employees

With the number of construction projects throughout New York, there are always job opportunities for construction workers. Construction work provides good pay and benefits and a sense of accomplishment when a project is completed. Even with these positives, there are certain factors that cannot be ignored. These jobs are undeniably dangerous, and workers can suffer injuries that leave them unable to work. For those who are injured in construction accidents, having legal advice is essential.

A man lost both his legs beneath the knee while installing a gas main beneath a road. The injury occurred when he was hit by a steel plate, fell into a hole 10 feet below ground, and crushed by the plate. The investigation into the accident is continuing.

Workers' Compensation and factors classifying an employee

When workers on Staten Island and throughout New York are injured or become ill on the job, they might think they are eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. However, some employers will try to avoid providing these benefits by claiming that the person is not an employee. There are certain factors that are used to decide whether a worker is an employee. Those who are embroiled in a disagreement with their employer should understand them and seek legal help to get their benefits.

The right to control means there is a level of control and direction that the employer has over someone who is contracted to do certain tasks. If there is control over how the task is done, this indicates that the person is an employee. If the worker is in control of various factors, such as when and how the work is done, they could be considered an independent contractor. If the work is consistent with the type of work done at the business, then the worker will be viewed as an employee. If it is a different primary role, the person could be viewed as a contractor.

Workers' compensation often needed by construction workers

Any worker in Staten Island and throughout New York City can be injured on the job, but there are certain types of employment that carry greater natural risks of being injured or even killed. Construction is one such industry. Although it is a good job with solid pay and reliable benefits, there is always the danger of accidents. After an accident, workers' compensation is a necessity to help with medical treatment and lost wages. Legal help might be needed to maximize the benefits.

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detail the injuries and fatalities for New York City construction workers. There were 761 injuries in 2018. That is a rise from the 671 that happened in 2017 - an increase of 13 percent. This occurred despite a law enacted in Sept. 2017 that requires workers have at least 40 hours of safety training.

Acupuncture treatment for workers' compensation vetoed

It may be a new year, but so far there are no new treatment options being offered for workers’ compensation back pain claims.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently vetoed a bill (S.B. 6666) that would have allowed wounded workers to seek acupuncture treatment.

Social Security Disability Income and medical reviews

Staten Islanders receiving Social Security Disability Income for an injury or illness might not be aware that the Social Security Administration performs periodic reviews to determine whether the recipient should continue receiving benefits. Since SSDI is for those who are unable to work, the status of the illness or injury is key. Understanding this is a critical part of the benefits process.

By law, the SSA must periodically review SSDI cases. For those without any marked improvement in their health and are unable to work, the benefits will continue. Much like the initial application process, medical information is acquired from the recipient's treating physician regarding their condition and how their activities are limited. If more information is needed, the SSA will pay for a special examination.

Can I get workers' compensation for an occupational disease?

In most cases where Staten Island workers suffer an injury on the job such as broken bones, head injuries, cuts and similar issues that are clearly visible and easily diagnosed, it is not a complicated matter for them to get workers' compensation benefits. However, there are situations where the worker is not injured, but becomes ill with an occupational disease or suffers from occupational hearing loss. Those facing this problem should know how the workers' compensation process should be handled and have legal help should any issue arise.

A worker can get an occupational disease when the conditions of the employment expose the worker to the risk. To get workers' compensation, the disease is required to have come about from the specific circumstances of the job. When there is a disability because of an occupational disease, the worker will get the same benefits as there would be if there was an injury. There are time limits to file for benefits. It must be: two years from the date the worker was disabled; or two years from when the worker knew or should have known that the disease stemmed from the employment. The worker can apply for workers' compensation benefits even if he or she did not miss work because of the illness.

Winter raises special workplace safety issues

Wintertime brings with it some unique safety concerns. For example, there are special workplace safety risks that can arise in winter. It is important for workers and employers alike to be aware of these risks.

Today, we’ll go over some common safety hazards workers can face during the winter season and precautions that can be taken against these hazards.

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