Are Workers Compensation benefits taxable in Pennsylvania?

MA110x75ORGIt’s that time of year when we either file or begin preparation to file our state and federal tax returns.  That means it is an appropriate time to address the taxation issue of workers compensation wage loss benefits.

So are your weekly wage loss benefits taxable?  The answer is NO.   Pennsylvania does not tax as income workers compensation benefits.  According to IRS Publication 907, your workers compensation weekly wage loss benefits are not taxable at the federal level either.   Here is what Publication 907 specifically says;

You may receive other payments that are related to your disability. The following payments are not taxable.

Workers’ compensation for an occupational sickness or injury if paid under a workers’ compensation act or similar law.

Compensation for permanent loss or loss of use of a part or function of your body, or for your permanent disfigurement.

The same taxable rules applies to lump sum settlements.  If you settled your case for a lump sum amount, you do not need to pay taxes on that income either.

If you were a client of Mooney & Associates  in 2015 and received a W2 or 1099 from from the workers compensation carrier, that is an error on the part of the insurance carrier.  Simply call our office and let us know.

 

7 Reasons why Injured Workers seek Legal Counsel

MA110x75ORGYou get injured at work.   As you seek medical treatment, deal with this form and that form, and your pain, your future, your financial well being, and your job all swirl around in your mind, you likely think — should I contact a workers’ compensation attorney?

The clear answer is — YES.  A workers’ compensation claim can very complex, both in terms of anticipated wage loss and getting medical bills paid.   You are likely asked to sign tons of forms, which you are not even really sure as to what they are.   Simply put, your rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act are just too important to gamble with by yourself, especially because your employer and insurance carrier have attorneys on their end.   Even more simply, at least with Mooney & Associates, a consultation about your claim, injury, and rights is FREE.  It costs you nothing.  We have 12 convenient office locations scattered throughout Central Pennsylvania to serve your needs.  We even make house calls if needed.   So it really makes little sense to not protect yourself.

Thinking back over the years, when client shave come to see me, I’ve compiled reasons why injured workers seek legal counsel.  Here they are.  Are they similar to your situation?

  1.  Claim is denied.  This is an obvious one.  If your employer is denying your work injury and you are out of work with no income and your medical bills are not being paid, that is the most obvious reason why an injured worker would seek an attorney.  It happens often.  If you do not seek an attorney and file a Claim Petition for benefits, then you won’t receive the benefits the Act entitles you to.
  2. Unpaid medical bills or denied medical care.  This frequently happens.  Clients will bring medical bills into me that have been denied by the insurance carrier. Outside a denial, this usually happens when medical bills stop getting paid and treatment begins to be denied because it is ‘beyond the scope’; of the accepted injury.  That’s likely because the accepted ‘sprain/strain’ or ‘contusion’ is no the accurate injury description.  Not only do you need legal counsel to fight to get those medical bills paid and medical treatment approved, but to get your accurate injury description accepted.
  3. Notice of an Independent Medical Examination.    We have provided two in-depth articles on this issue.  Please feel free to link over and read.  Must you attend an IME? and What is an IME?
  4. No contact by the Employer or Insurance carrier.   Many times, workers are hurt on the job.  They seek medical care, then contact their employer.  They get no returned call.   They reach out to the insurance adjuster about an unpaid medical bill, a denied prescription, or when they will receive their first check, since they are out of work.  They do not get a returned call.  Frustration mounts.  That’s why you need us.  We will get answers.
  5. Different treatment from your employer.  You get hurt at work.  Suddenly, your co-workers or supervisors begin to treat you differently.  It becomes a more hostile atmosphere.  They begin to ‘write you up’ for performance issues.  Are more critical of your work.  You get treated differently because you are on light duty.  Many injured workers that first meet me tell me their employer would never treat them differently.  It’s a great place to work.  Two months later, I get that call telling me differently.
  6. Family/friend/co-worker advises to get an attorney.  And they are smart for it.  Perhaps they’ve been through a work injury and understand the pitfalls and complexities of a workers’ compensation claim.  Perhaps they are just worried about you.  Perhaps they have experience with your employer.  Regardless, listen to their advice.
  7. Fear for the future.  Injuries are and can be very devastating, not just physically, but emotionally and financially.  What if you can’t ever return to that job?  What if you will have permanent work restrictions?  What if you have to have surgery?  What is the fair value of a settlement?  What should I expect?  What if they treat me different when I return to light duty? There are so many question I hear that could fit into this category.  We can help.  Just come talk to us.

Mooney & Associate has twelve convenient locations throughout Central Pennsylvania.  We also make house calls.  If you need questions answered, just call today for a FREE consultation.  Call us at 717-200-HURT.

Lancaster construction company faces OSHA fines

A Lancaster, Pennsylvania construction company faces $64,000 fines from OSHA after an investigation that found the company failed to adequately provide fall protection.

accident-construction1

OSHA found that Burkholder Builders had seven different safety violations with on onsite inspection.

Employees were found working on scaffolding and roofs nearly two stories up without fall protection . . . examples of fall protection that could be used are safety nets or guard rails.

OSHA inspectors determined that the company was not following proper procedures when using forklifts.  Employees also were not provided with eye protection while using a nail gun, which they weren’t trained to use properly.

Unfortunately,, these types of violation are more frequent than not.   We see construction accidents regularly, many times, accident that could have been easily protected against with the appropriate safety measures.

Another frequent issue that we see often in the construction arena is the fact that many subcontractors are not covering employees with workers compensation coverage.  General contractors need to understand the importance of receiving proof of coverage, because ultimately, they can be held responsible.

Attorney Buterbaugh discuss work injuries on WHTM ABC 27

Attorney Mark Buterbaugh made a live appearance on WHTM ABC 27 noon-time news show, Good Day PA.  Attorney Buterbaugh discussed some very basics with regarding to workers compensation.

SSD Quick Hitter: How long is the wait for a Social Security Disability hearing in Central PA?

ssaThis is the second in a series of quick hitter articles on Social Security Disability.

When I meet with individuals who have applied for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and been denied, one of the very first aspects I discuss with a potential client is the timing of an SSD hearing.  It is critical to impress upon each potential client that SSD is not a quick or easy way to get money when one is disabled.

In South Central Pennsylvania, SSD cases are conducted at the Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in downtown Harrisburg.   So, from the time an individual files an appeal to the time they actually go before a Social Security Administrative Law Judge, what is the actual time frame?  The Office of Adjudication and Review is actually quite good at keeping these timelines updated.  Right now, for cases that will be heard in the Harrisburg office, the wait time is 16 months.  That wait time begins  from the date you actually filed your appeal.   The average wait time in Pennsylvania as a whole is 16.4 months.

The Harrisburg office currently has 9 Administrative Law Judges.  The Harrisburg office currently has 8,150 cases pending and 762 new cases.  Taking that case load and spreading it out over nine judges, well, it isn’t that difficult to see why their is such a backlog of cases, causing the awful wait times.   These wait times cause homelessness, poor medical care, bankruptcies, and emotional, financial, and physical stress.  According to the SSA, their goal is to reduce wait times to 270 days or under by 2020.  They plan to hire an additional 400 judges by 2018. Video hearings by judges in other states with fewer pending cases may also help decrease backlogs.  Where those new Judges will be assigned is anyone’s guess.