Proving your Social Security Disability appeal

I am often asked how Social Security Judges evaluate appeals that come before them for decision.  The answer to that questions is simple.  Social Security formalized a  five-step sequential evaluation process to determine if a Claimant should be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits (SDD).   In fact, they write their decisions granting or denying benefits utilizing the five step process.  So what is this five-step evaluation process? Step 1.  Have you been Unable to Work for 12 Months? This…

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Mooney & Associates discounts for Military Veterans

My law firm, Mooney &Associates, provides more legal services than just Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability.  Our General Practice Division offers legal services in the following areas of law:    Family Law, including Divorce, Support, and Custody, Criminal Defense, Real Estate Settlement, Estate Planning and Administration, Bankruptcy, Veterans Planning, Crisis Planning (Medicaid and Asset protection), Business Law (Formation), Unemployment Compensation Appeals, Long Term Disability Appeals, and Civil Litigation. To honor our Military Veterans and to thank for their service…

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Mooney & Associates is Hanover, PA Attorney of Choice!

Mooney & Associates is the top choice of Hanover, Pennsylvania for Lawyers.   The results are in!  Mooney & Associates finished in FIRST place in the Hanover Evening Sun Reader's Choice Awards as the top Law Firm in the Hanover area.  We are proud of the recognition and humbled by the support and thank you for selecting us as your top Law Firm. Mooney & Associates provides legal services in General Practice, including Family Law, Criminal Law, Estates Planning and Administration,…

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How long does it take to litigate a work injury in Pennsylvania?

b4e87-workinjuryOne of the first questions I get at nearly every consultation for workers’ compensation is — how long does it take to get benefits.  Understandably so.  Injured workers still have mortgages, rent, car payments, and other bills to pay.  If your injury is accepted by your employer and it’s insurance carrier, then you will likely wait two or three weeks for wage loss benefits to begin.   What about if your work injury is denied?

Let’s cut to the case right away, then I will explain.  A fully litigated workers compensation claim is not a quick process, it takes a long time. If your claim is denied, by the time you actually get a decision by a workers compensation Judge, you are likely looking at a time frame between 8 and 12 months, depending on the Judge.   Let me explain.

A litigated claim (and we use that to mean a Denied claim), commences by me filing a Claim Petition on your behalf.  The burden of proof in a Claim Petition lies with the injured worker.  I must prove four things in Claim Petition litigation:

1.  An injury occurred;

2.  in the course of claimant’s employment;

3.  the injury disables claimant from performing work, thus wage loss, and

4.  that the employer was timely notified of the work injury.

With the new workers compensation integrated software system (WCAIS), a Notice of Assignment to a workers compensation Judge usually occurs fairly quickly.  However, it still may be 3 to 4 weeks until your first hearing.  That’s right — FIRST hearing.  Again, depending on the Judge, you may or may not testify at the first hearing.  Some judges simply use the first hearing as a five minute set up the case kind of hearing.  Other judges have the claimant testify.  dge. So right off the bat there is a 3 week wait for a Judge to get the file and hold a hearing. And the Judges in Pennsylvania do a fantastic job of getting you a quick hearing date.   (more…)

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Pennsylvania Workers Comp: Can I refuse medical treatment?

I frequently get asked questions about medical treatment.  One of those questions revolves around surgery and whether an employee must undergo surgery or some other medical treatment.  The easy answer is, yes, you can refuse any medical treatment you do not want.  HOWEVER, the important follow up question to that is, will a refusal of medical treatment impact my workers compensation benefits?  That answer is, yes, it may have a substantial impact on your benefits.   Let me explain. In…

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Central Pennsylvania Social Security Disability and Waiting for a Hearing

The Harrisburg Office of Adjudication for Social Security Disability appeals, which serves Central Pennsylvania, is swamped with back log. One of the very first questions that I am asked by a potential social security client is how long the process will take.  That's a fair question.  Most people applying for social security disability (SSD) obviously are in severe financial distress.  They are applying because they can no longer work. Unfortunately, if you have severe medical condition that does not permit…

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Reporting a work injury in Pennsylvania

Often, I hear stories from clients that they were told by Supervisors that if a work injury is not reported within 24 hours of occurrence, then they lose their workers compensation rights.  Not only is the practice deceptive, but it is also legally incorrect. The PA Workers Compensation Act is specific in requirements to report an injury to your employer.  The Act states that an employee has 21 days from he date of injury to report the injury to the…

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Workers Compensation Judge Changes in Central Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Depart of Labor & Industry and the Workers Compensation Office of Adjudication has announced new Workers Compensation Judge appointments and changes in locations for some judges, some of which involve workers compensation practice in Central Pennsylvania.  Mooney & Associates represents injured workers are the following hearing locations:  Chambersburg, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, York, and Lancaster.  Some of the changes announced by the Department effect these hearing locations. Here are those changes: Harrisburg welcomes a new Judge.  We welcome Honorable Jeffrey…

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Repetitive Work Injuries are real and compensable

Some of my clients heard from friends that they can't get workers compensation benefits for their injury, because there was no specific event.  What we mean by a specific event is an injury that occurs when something specific happens at work  --- you slip and fall at work, you lift something and experience immediate pain, you get hit by a forklift, you are assaulted by a patient.  Those are specific injuries. However, there are also repetitive injuries.  These type of…

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Social Security Disability and Workers Compensation — Be aware!

Recently I had a client that settled her workers' compensation claim for a lump sum amount of money.   The Attorney that she used for her workers' compensation settlement, which WAS NOT Mooney & Associates, failed to draft the agreement with specific social security disability offset language.  Subsequently, she received an award of social security disability benefits.  However, she soon found out her monthly benefits would be greatly reduced for a period of two years.  This can have devastating effect…

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