Read more about the article Five Common Work Injuries in Central Pennsylvania
Side view of male worker lying on the floor in warehouse

Five Common Work Injuries in Central Pennsylvania

We are seeing more common work injuries in our area due to the type of economic growth happening in our area.  Central Pennsylvania has witnessed a boom in warehouse and distribution center development.  You can see the growth along Interstate 81 in Greencastle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Newville, and Carlisle.  With that development comes labor intensive jobs and ultimately an increase in work-related injuries. First, let me say this.  Whether you work for the actual distribution center or through a temporary agency…

Continue ReadingFive Common Work Injuries in Central Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, what happens to Medicare Set Aside Funds

You may have heard about Medicare Set Aside agreements when it comes to Workers Compensation lump sum settlements.  They are complex and confusing too many.  Let me try and help explain a little about this complex area of law.

First, when is a Medicare Set Aside agreement required as part of a structured workers compensation settlement?  Generally, with a worker’s compensation settlement, federal law prohibits Medicare from paying for injury-related medical expenses or medications that an employer is responsible to pay.  In essence, other insurance coverage exists for those medical expenses.  To achieve that purpose, Federal government regulations require that a portion of settlement funds be “set-aside” in an account to pay for future medical expenses related to the work injury. So what specifically triggers this process?  Here are the general criteria when a settlement should be submitted for CMS review.

CMS will only review new WCMSA proposals that meet the following criteria:

  • The claimant is a Medicare beneficiary and the total settlement amount is greater than $25,000.00; or

  • The claimant has a reasonable expectation of Medicare enrollment within 30 months of the settlement date and the anticipated total settlement amount for future medical expenses and disability/lost wages over the life or duration of the settlement agreement is expected to be greater than $250,000.00

So, what is the important words in here — “is” and reasonable (more…)

Continue ReadingIn Pennsylvania, what happens to Medicare Set Aside Funds

While Pennsylvania Workers Comp rates improve, work injuries remain

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania Workers Compensation rates improved, yet again.  Pennsylvania fell from 17th in down to 26th in workers compensation insurance costs for businesses.  That is a pretty big jump and shows that Pennsylvania is more attractive to business and has a friendly business environment.  In fact, check out how many insurance carriers offer workers compensation coverage in Pennsylvania. "More than 325 companies offer workers' compensation insurance coverage in Pennsylvania," said Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, in a…

Continue ReadingWhile Pennsylvania Workers Comp rates improve, work injuries remain

Winter Weather brings Slip and Fall Injuries in Central Pennsylvania

With winter weather right around the corner, slip and fall injuries in Central Pennsylvania become all too frequent.  Employees need to be cognizant of winter weather.  Often, when snow and ice are on the ground, it inevitably leads to slip and fall injuries at work.   Central Pennsylvania is home to a healthy array of warehouses, manufacturing, and trucking facilities.  Often, we see work injuries as a result of snow and ice at these type of employers.  These normally are…

Continue ReadingWinter Weather brings Slip and Fall Injuries in Central Pennsylvania

US Dept of Labor: States failing injured workers

The United States Department of Labor issued a scathing report on how states handle their workers compensation systems and the fact that injured workers are often led into poverty, because of an injury on the job.  The report recommends additional Federal Government oversight to help injured workers overcome state deficiencies in state systems. Four reasons I note here from the report are legitimate concerns I hear often. Increased denials due to decreased benefits Decrease in adequacy of benefits New procedures…

Continue ReadingUS Dept of Labor: States failing injured workers

Happy Labor Day Pennsylvania!

One thing I have learned through my years of dedicating my practice to representing injured workers is the fact we have a strong labor work ethic in Pennsylvania.  I see it everyday.


The misnomer out there is that injured workers want to just sit on workers compensation benefits.  That is just not accurate.  Many injured workers that I represent want to get back to work quickly, even before they are healed.  Many are losing precious dollars each week, many are long time employees of companies they enjoy working for, and others feel worthless just sitting at home, while they heal from their work injuries.  These are not people trying to live off a benefit they deserve.  These folks do not go to work asking to be injured.

Robust Economy in Central Pennsylvania

In Central Pennsylvania, we have a robust economy.  Cumberland County is expected to become the fastest growing county in the Commonwealth.  From a strong housing market, to a positive tax environment, to a robust work ethic, the Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Silver Spring Township, Hampden Township areas, and even south to Shippensburg, are bustling with economic development.  Even across the county border to Franklin County, just look at the growth in Chambersburg.  Distribution Centers and manufacturing are popping up all along Interstate 81 corridor.  Shippensburg is set to see more growth off Interstate 81, Exit 24.  One thing these companies have cited is a strong work ethic.  That is something to be proud of.  Companies do not locate to areas where they do not believe they can gain a strong work force.

So on this Labor Day, we should take pride in our communities that we live in and be thankful we are seeing growth and advancement, not decay and depreciation.  Pennsylvania is not a growing state, population wise, but the area we live in, well, the story is quite different.  Take pride in our communities and who we are as Central Pennsylvanians.  We work well, we work hard, and we produce.

Treating injured employees with respect

Hopefully, as we continue to see companies locate into Cumberland, Franklin, and Adams counties, we will see companies become good stewards.  Part of that is treating employees with respect and taking care of them when they are hurt.  Work injuries happen.  It is a fact.  Many people get hurt working around the home.  But, at work, there is heavy lifting, there are fork lift accidents, there is such a thing as repetitive stress and trauma, there are slip and falls, there are certified nursing assistant who get injured helping patients, and there are auto accidents.  The key is how we respond to such injuries.  Companies need to do a better job at restructuring or revising processes to avoid work injuries.  They need to constantly evaluate work injuries and make changes to head off injuries before they occur.  They need to put employee safety as a core company value.  Without employees, companies do not exist.  Without a healthy work force, profits dwindle.  It’s called good stewardship and it needs to become a core principle.  Companies need to stop with the suspicions, stop the blaming, and stop putting up impediments to treatment for injuries, and instead, focus on getting injured workers well and compensating them fairly for life altering injuries.  (more…)

Continue ReadingHappy Labor Day Pennsylvania!

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

This 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,…

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

Working and Social Security Disability

I 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…

Continue ReadingWorking and Social Security Disability

Cuts to Social Security Disability Could Be Coming

If Congress does not act, people already struggling on Social Security Disability (SSD) could see their checks reduced by as much as 20%.  At this point, by then end of fourth quarter 2016, the Social Security Administration would have just enough funds to fund slightly over 80% of current recipient costs. The cuts would most immediately affect the 10.9 million people receiving disability benefits as of 2014, but other beneficiaries could see benefit cuts down the line. If Congress doesn’t act…

Continue ReadingCuts to Social Security Disability Could Be Coming

Social Security Benefits to increase by 1.7%

Older and disabled Americans will see a 1.7% cost of living adjustment for their benefits for the year 2015.   The 1.7% increase marks the third consecutive year that the COLA for social security beneficiaries is held under 2%. The government announced the benefit increase today.  The increase is based on the latest measure of consumer prices.  The Social Security Act provides for increases and those increases should be based on on inflation, mainly the Consumer Price Index. Social Security…

Continue ReadingSocial Security Benefits to increase by 1.7%