Harrisburg Social Security Disability Office has long hearing wait, adds new Judges

I hear from every client their disbelief of the wait time to receive a hearing on their Social Security Disability appeal.  It is frightening for folks who have no income or limited income and can’t function normally or work. However, it is also a reality.  And, it is not just the Harrisburg Office of Adjudication and Review, which handles Social Security Disability appeals, that has the backlog wait time.  It is a national problem.

Mooney & Associates representing social security clients
Mooney & Associates representing social security clients

Here are the current numbers. (As of July 2016)

HEARING LOCATION HEARING WAIT TIME
Elkins Park, PA 20.0 Months
Harrisburg 19.3 Months
Johnstown 19 Months
Philadelphia 20.5 Months
Philadelphia East 20 Months
Pittsburgh 21 Months
Seven Field, PA 18 Months
Wilkes Barre 16.5 Months
Pennsylvania State Average 19.3 Months
Baltimore, MD 21 Months
NHC Baltimore 19 Months
Maryland State Average 20 Months

As you can see, the Harrisburg ODAR office is trending right near the Pennsylvania state average, but above the National average.  There may be some relief in sight though.  Harrisburg has recently added three new Administrative Law Judges, which should help reduce the wait time to around the National average.  Bottom line is, even with new ALJ’s on the way, if you have been denied Social Security Disability and you appeal, you SHOULD NOT expect to have a hearing for at least 16 months. (more…)

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The Six Common Warehouse Work Injuries We See

South Central Pennsylvania is one of the fastest booming areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, especially in warehouses.  In fact, several of the counties that we serve are listed among the Top 15 in Pennsylvania for population growth from 2010 to 2014.  Those counties are:  Cumberland (1st), Lancaster (4th), Franklin (6th), and Dauphin (15th).  That leads to jobs, but also to common warehouse injuries.

Warehouse Injury
Common warehouse injuries in Pennsylvania

Warehousing Growth in Central Pennsylvania

A large part of the growth that has occurred in Central Pennsylvania can be directly attributed to the warehousing and manufacturing development along the interstate 81 Corridor, from Greencastle, PA up through Dauphin County.  We’ve seen a recent boom, such as the development of Food Lion Distribution and World Kitchen in Greencastle, Chambersburg area warehouse development,  which includes, Target, Ulta, K Mart, and Staples, new warehouses in Shippensburg, which includes, Procter & Gamble and Georgia Pacific, newer warehouses in Carlisle, which includes, Giant Foods, Ross Distribution, AMES distribution, Office Depot, Ryder, Amazon,  OHL, and Lindt Chocolate.  Those are just a few. These warehouse operations employ many people through South Central Pennsylvania.  Additionally, there is more warehousing growth set for Carlisle (Exit 44 off I-81) and Shippensburg (Exit 24 and 29 off I-81).    (more…)

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Franklin County PA booming with jobs

Franklin County, Pennsylvania has a booming economy.  The article from WHTM states the economy in Franklin County has added 1200 jobs in 12 months. ABC27 News reported in the past how Cumberland County is the fastest growing county in the state. Franklin County is also seeing increased numbers and is sixth on the list. You can see it with the construction along the Interstate 81 Corridor.  A new warehouse  facility is under construction in Cumberland County off the Exit 44…

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OSHA reports on first year of injury reporting

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) has reported on its first year of the severe work injury reporting program.  All Employers throughout the country are required now to report severe work place injuries.  Specifically,  Now, under a requirement that took effect Jan. 1, 2015, employers must report to OSHA within 24 hours any work-related amputation, in-patient hospitalization, or loss of eye Of the injuries reported last year, here is the breakdown provided in the OSHA report. "Employers reported 10,388…

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Commonwealth Court Reaffirms Residency Does Not Provide Jurisdiction in Workers Compensation

Recently, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, once again, addressed the issue of state jurisdiction over a workers compensation claim. In this case, a Pennsylvania resident was injured in an auto accident in New Jersey, while working for a trucking company based out of Alabama.  During the pendency of the claim, the Claimant was receiving workers compensation benefits through the state of Alabama.   When the Claimant applied for his position, he testified that he completed an online application at his home…

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Labor Market remains strong, jobless claims at 4 year low

The Labor Market continues to churn quite nicely, with initial jobless claims hovering at a four decade low.  The labor market strength is reaching full employment status. Applications submitted to state agencies for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from 276,000 in the previous period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The number of claims dipped to 255,000 in mid-July, the fewest since the 1970s. Steady demand has encouraged employers to hold the…

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PA Court: Issuance of a Medical-Only NCP in Workers Compensation differs from Acceptance and Subsequent Suspension of Benefits

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court recently distinguished between a Medical-Only Notice of Compensation Payable and an acceptance of a work injury and a subsequent Suspension of benefits, in Sloane v. W.C.A.B (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)  No 1399, C.D. 2014(Pa. Cmwlth. 2015). The relevant time lines are this:  An injured worker has three years after the date of the injury to file a Claim Petition to seek workers’ compensation benefits for the injury.  If a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) is issued…

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Staffing Agencies and workers compensation in Pennsylvania

Is an injured workers who works for a temporary agency covered by workers compensation benefits?  Its a question I am often asked. The answer is --- more than likely, yes. There are some instances where an individual working for a staffing agency may very well be an independent contractor, and thus not covered by the Workers Compensation Act.  We can help answer those questions for you.  However, in most instances, especially in our area, you will likely be covered with…

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When Will I Get My First Workers Compensation Check?

One of the most frequently asked questions my office receives is --- when will I get my first workers compensation check?  Frequently, the answer I provide is not what the injured worker wants to hear.  Let me explain. First and foremost, the first thing to understand is that any payments that may be due you may not begin flowing until after three weeks.  Why?  The Statute provides the employer a 21 day window to investigate the work injury claim.  The…

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Shippensburg’s Domestic Castings cited again by OSHA

Domestic Castings, a castings manufacturer located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the eighth time for safety violations. Domestic Casting in Shippensburg has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the for the eighth time in four years. OSHA said Monday its three most recent inspections in June and July 2014 at the Shippensburg facility found 27 total violations and issued $152,912 in fines…

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