Working and Social Security Disability

SSD_Denial1I am going to start a small mini-series of blog posts on Social Security Disability.  Here is the first installment, centered around the new Substantial Gainful Activity earnings amount.

I often get asked whether a person has has applied for or been approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can work within their restrictions or abilities.  The quick answer is, Yes.  Let me explain.

First, the important term within SSD and employment is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Social Security describes SGA as the level level of work activity and earnings.  Work is deemed to be “substantial” if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both.   In addition to ‘work’ as a factor of SGA, SSA also looks at gross amount of earnings.  The SGA ‘amount’ is increased annually.  For 2016, the dollar was raised to $1,130 per month.   What does that mean?  If a person is working and earning more than $1,030 per month, then SSA will NOT determine the individual to be disabled.  Any earnings over $1,030 is deemed to be SGA, which bars benefits.  The amount is higher for an individual disabled due to blindness, with that amount set at $1,820 per month.

The emphasis here is on an individual who has filed an SSD application or has been denied and appealing the denial.  There are different return to work incentives for those already receiving SSD benefits.

Obtaining SSD benefits, contrary to public opinion, is not easy.  The legal analysis and legal arguments regarding your alleged disability conditions, past employment, residual function capacity, and earnings is quite complex.  If you have been denied Social Security Disability, it is IMPERATIVE you contact Mooney & Associates right away.  Why?  When you receive a denial letter from SSA, you have only 60 days to appeal that decision.  If you miss that 60 day window, then you will have to start the entire application process all over again.  There are few exception for ‘good cause’ for missing the 60 day appeal period, but they are rarely granted.  It’s quite simple.  You get a denial latter, call Mooney & Associates right away.  We will set up a FREE intake with you, discuss the merits of your claim, and if we decide to take your case, we will file the appeal for you.  It’s that simple.

We have offices throughout Central Pennsylvania including Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Duncannon, Halifax, York, Gettysburg, and Havover.  Call for your FREE consultation at 717-200-HURT!

 

Pennsylvania sets new Workers Compensation Average Weekly Wage rates for 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has released the new state wide average weekly wage chart for 2016.  Here are the 2016 workers compensation rates for wage loss benefits.

YOUR WAGES (PER WEEK)

Average Weekly Wage

COMPENSATION RATE

Amount You Will Receive

$1468.00 and Above $978.00 (Maximum Rate)
$733.51 to $1467.00 2/3 of AWW
$543.33 to $733.50 $489.00
$542.32 or Less 90% of AWW

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In workers compensation, your Average Weekly Wage is calculated based on your earnings prior to the injury.  It is critical that your wages are calculated correctly.  A small error, such as, the insurance carrier not including bonuses or overtime, can greatly effect your wage loss benefits.  Let’s provide an example.  You get hurt at work in 2016 and your wages were calculated to be $450.00 per week (average weekly wage – AWW).  That would provide a compensation rate of 90% which would make your compensation rate $405.00.  That is what your weekly check would be.    Now, say that you settle your claim for three years of disability.  That would provide you a settlement of $63,180.00.  But, what if your average weekly wage was not calculated correctly because of missed over time or bonuses.  What if your AWW should have been $40 more per week, at $490.00 per week (AWW).  Then your corresponding rate would be  $441.00 per week instead of $405.00.  What does that mean in terms of a potential settlement?  Well, three years at $441 would be $68,796.00.  That is $5,616.00 more due to a $40 error in your AWW calculation.  That is why ensuring your AWW is calculated correctly is absolutely critical to your workers compensation case.

To avoid these type of problems, the best thing to do when you are injured at work is contact an experienced workers compensation attorney immediately when you are injured.  Even if you have an accepted injury and are getting paid, we won’t turn you away.  We will monitor your case to make sure your are getting paid correctly and ensure that your insurance carrier continues to do what it is required to under the Workers Compensation Act.   Your rights are simply to valuable to trust what the insurance carrier is telling you.  Who’s interest do you think they are protecting, yours or theirs?

What does it cost for a consultation with Mooney & Associates?  NOTHING!  We offer FREE consultation on all Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability cases.   We offer twelve convenient offices through South Central Pennsylvania, including Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, York, and Hanover.  Call today at 717-200-HURT!  We also offer discounted fee agreement rates to Veterans!