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Staten Island Workers' Comp and SSDI Law Blog

PTSD and Social Security disability benefits

There are a number of mental health conditions that may qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits. Amongst those is post-traumatic stress disorder, often referred to as PTSD. This condition can arise after an individual directly experiences a traumatic event. These events may include a car accident, military service at war and exposure to serious crime, but it can also occur in individuals who witness traumatic events. A little less than 10 percent of the population will experience this condition at some point in their lives.

How can PTSD affect an individual? There are a number of ways. Sufferers of this condition may experience flashbacks to a traumatic event, problems with sleep, anger issues and poor self-image. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person-to-person, and they may increase in intensity as life changes bring on new stressors. For some, PTSD is merely a chapter in their lives that they are able to overcome with time and treatment. For others, though, the effects of the condition can leave them facing hardships for years or, in some instances, the rest of their lives.

Brain injury may qualify for SSD benefits

Suffering injuries is a part of life. Fortunately, most individuals are able to quickly recover from the harm they have been inflicted, and it has a minimal impact on their day-to-day lives. Other injuries may be serious, but still allow a victim to get back to his or her normal life within a reasonable period of time. There are some injuries, though, that can leave a person disabled. Merely living with these injuries can be difficult enough, but finding a way to make ends meet when his or her medical condition renders him or her unable to work is another matter altogether.

One situation where this can occur is when an individual suffers a brain injury. This type of harm can leave an individual with physical, cognitive and emotional damage. He or she may be unable to control certain parts of his or her body, including bodily functions. A brain injury sufferer can also be subjected to mood swings, depression and anxiety as a result of a brain injury. Brain trauma can be suffered in a number of different ways, too. Car accidents, falls, sports and acts of violence can all lead to a brain injury that forever changes a victim's life.

Gas explosion injures three New York workers

There are a number of professions that are inherently dangerous. Police officers, firefighters and members of the military often put their own safety and well being on the line in order to appropriately carry out their job duties. Those who work in construction-related fields also face workplace dangers. Although these risks may not be as frequent or as serious as those faced by police officers and firefighters, they can still cause serious injuries and, in some instances death.

One of these workplace accidents occurred recently in Brooklyn. There, a group of National Grid employees suffered burns when a gas line exploded, shooting flames up and into the street. Reports indicate that the group was actually working to repair the leak when the gas ignited. The exact cause of the explosion is unknown at this time, but the workers were taken to the hospital with burns to their faces and arms. Reports indicated that the injuries are non-life threatening.

Construction workers at high risk for TBIs

As a New York construction worker, no one need tell you that your job often requires you to work at considerable heights, such as on tall ladders, roofs and scaffolding. Despite the safety precautions and equipment your employer likely has in place, you nevertheless face a tremendous risk of falling. If and when you do, you risk receiving a serious and debilitating injury such as a traumatic brain injury

A TBI is an injury to your head and/or neck of such severity that your brain begins to malfunction. Falls are the leading cause of TBIs, and you are at particularly high risk for sustaining one due to your occupation. Your risk increases if you are 65 years old or older, work for a small construction company that employs 20 or fewer workers, or are not a native-born American.

Our law firm stands up for those with disabilities

As we have discussed a number of times on this blog, there are a wide variety of medical conditions, both injuries and illnesses, which may qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits can prove to be a true financial lifesaver for those who are left unable to work on account of their medical condition. Yet, recovering these benefits isn't easy, primarily because the Social Security Administration has strict requirements that must be met before benefits will be awarded.

Sadly, far too many New Yorkers pursue SSD benefits for legitimate reasons but wind up having their claim denied. There are many different reasons why a claim may be denied, but a significant portion of denials are based on a lack of medical evidence. Although this may seem daunting to a claimant, the good news is that with legal knowledge and skill on their side, these individuals can position themselves so that their claims are as strong as they can possibly be, whether that be at the initial adjudication phase of the process or at the appellate level.

How common are Social Security Disability claim denials?

It is clear that living with a disability presents many challenges. We talk a lot on this blog about how to build a strong Social Security Disability claim. Obviously, developing legal arguments that are supported by solid evidence increase the chances that one will succeed with his or her claim, allowing for benefits to be obtained. However, many New Yorkers are disheartened to discover that their initial claim, for whatever reason, is denied. As troublesome as that may seem, it is not the end of the road. This is because numerous appellate options exist.

Those who choose not to appeal a denied claim are simply minimizing their chances of recovering the money they desperately need. From 2001 to 2010, an average of 28 percent of initial SSD claims succeeded. This means that the vast majority of initial claims are denied. The highest approval rating during that time period was 37 percent. However, another 16 percent of claims, on average during that time period, were approved after reconsideration or an appellate hearing.

Certain job sectors continue to see many workplace injuries

Being injured on the job is no small thing. After all, it may mean that you suffer an extensive amount of physical pain, and your injuries may require medical treatment. Making matters worse, your injuries may be severe enough to prevent you from working. In these instances, you may miss out on much needed wages, thereby putting yourself and your family in a precarious financial position.

This is a problem faced by many Americans. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly three individuals affected by workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016, which is the most recent year data is available. Although the incident rate of workplace injuries continues to decline, certain industries, like construction, manufacturing and retail, continue to see relative high occurrence rates.

Surviving family can continue to receive loved one's SSD benefits

We spend a lot of time on this blog discussing Social Security disability benefits and how to qualify for them. In order to recover these benefits, which can provide significant financial relief, individuals typically must show that they meet the federal government's definition of "disabled." That definition, though, varies from medical condition to medical condition, which is one why there are often issues with regard to whether one qualifies for these benefits. However, with strong legal advocacy on their side, many applicants are able to succeed on their SSD claims.

Although the hope is that these disabled individuals will live long lives, the sad truth of the matter is that sometimes they pass away on account of their disability. The SSD benefits that they receive may have contributed significantly to the family's well-being, though, which means that the cessation of them upon the recipient's death could be problematic. Fortunately, under certain circumstances the Social Security Administration allows surviving family members to recover their lost loved one's benefits for a period of time.

Occupational hazards for dock and port workers

The Atlantic Ocean and the bays around Staten Island offer ample entertainment such as beach visits, water activities, ferry tours and more. They also provide locals, including New Jersey commuters, with plenty of employment opportunities at docks and ports.

While these jobs are good for those needing work, they are also very dangerous. Those who load and unload at docks and ports suffer from many occupational hazards that are eligible for workers' compensation.

Muscular dystrophy sufferers may qualify for SSD benefits

There are a number of medical conditions that can have a tremendous impact on an individual's life. This impact can negatively impact one's physical and mental health and even his or her ability to obtain and maintain gainful employment. This, in turn, can leave an individual facing significant financial hardship. Although there are government programs available to help assist these individuals, the truth of the matter is that before benefits can be obtained, certain federal requirements must be met.

This is especially true for Social Security disability benefits. When making a decision on a SSD claim, the federal government considers one's employment history and how the claimant's medical condition affects his or her ability to work. Also, and perhaps the most focused upon requirement, is whether the medical condition is severe enough to be considered disabling. Each medical condition has its own requirements, which means claimants need to have a full understanding of how the requirements pertain to them before moving forward.