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The Employment and Social Security Disability Blog

Represented SSDI Claimants Prevail Three Times More Often

Over one million people who are unable to work due to an injury, illness, or other disability are waiting to see if they qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits -- benefits for which they have been paying over their entire working careers. If a claimant ends up needing a hearing, they wait an average of 20 months before making their appearance before and administrative law judge, or ALJ.

In Michigan the wait times at the Mt. Pleasant and Grand Rapids Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are also 20 months. The Detroit SSA office has the state's shortest wait time: a year and three months, on average, before one will get a hearing.

The nuances of tipping laws

Many Detroit, Michigan, residents frequent restaurants when they do not have time to cook, or they just want to go out and have a good time. At the end of the meal, they will probably leave a tip.

What some people do not know is that these tips can be considered part of the server's wages, meaning that an employer can add them in when figuring out whether the employer has paid the required minimum wage to the wait staff.

Ways improve your chances of getting benefits

As many Michigan residents already know, many people from the Detroit area who are not able to work will get denied Social Security Disability benefits when they apply for them, even if their condition is legitimate and is really keeping their job opportunities limited. Even with the best of attorneys, applicants should be prepared for a long wait and should adjust their spending accordingly.

However, there are some things a person can do in order to improve his or her chances of getting approved for benefits out of the gate or, at least, setting themselves up for a successfully administrative hearing should one be necessary.

How we can help workers with FMLA issues

As previous posts have discussed, federal law gives workers in Detroit, Michigan, the right to take an unpaid leave when they need to stay home from work to recover from a medical condition or after they have a child. They also have the same rights when they need to care for relatives.

It is an unfortunate reality, however, that many Michigan employers do not fully appreciate the rights their workers have under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. Even if they understand the law, employers may make employees jump through unnecessary hoops to get the leave. In the worst case scenario, they may effectively try to keep an employee from exercising their FMLA rights.

Can I get disability if I have severe depression?

Many Detroit, Michigan residents suffer with severe depression. Far from being just a bad day or a bad week, clinical depression can leave a person not feeling like themselves for months or even years.

Depression can manifest itself in the ways a person behaves. They can lose their appetite or experienced a disruption in their sleep patterns, for instance. On a social level, it can get very difficult for them to interact with others or keep their minds focused on their work. In the worst cases, depression can even leave a person unable to leave the home.

What is sexual harassment?

More and more employees are coming forward each day about their difficult experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment allegations by employees at CBS and Fox News are currently in the headlines and numerous television and movie stars have opened up about their own experiences.

Sexual harassment can occur at the highest levels of the entertainment world, political world, and corporate world, but it is also prevalent in factories, offices, and all the workplaces of America. Despite this, many people don't come forward out of feelings of guilt or shame, or perhaps more often simply because they don't know if their experience constitutes sexual harassment and, if it does, how to start the process to seek justice for their trauma.

Appealing a denial of disability for chronic pain

Especially with pressure from all corners for the government to run more efficiently, the Social Security Administration is rarely quick to accept any application for disability benefits on first go-around. This is especially true for Detroit, Michigan, residents and others who apply because of a medical condition that isn't plainly visible and isn't always easy to understand. Chronic pain is such a condition.

Our law office has 40 years' experience handling Social Security appeals, and, during that time, we've had plenty of opportunities to represent clients in trying to get the benefits they need and deserve.

What medical conditions would qualify for unpaid leave?

The federal Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, requires employers of a certain size to hold their employees' jobs open. But, only in the event that employees take off of work for an extended period of time due to certain types of medical conditions. The purpose of this act is to allow Detroit, Michigan, residents and others to keep their jobs when they face a difficult life circumstances, like a significant illness.

What qualifies as a medical condition that is serious enough to invoke the protections the FMLA offers workers depends on whether the worker is claiming FMLA leave for herself or for a family member. When a worker claims the unpaid FMLA leave for herself, then she will need to present medical proof, usually in the form of a letter from her treating physician, that demonstrates the employee either cannot go to work at all or, at a minimum, would not be able to perform one of the "essential" job functions of the employee's current position due to a medical condition. It should be noted that childbirth and receiving a newly adopted child in one's home qualify for FMLA.

Social Security disability is available for chronic pain

Many workers in the Detroit area may find themselves experiencing what doctors call chronic pain. What exactly causes chronic pain is still somewhat mysterious, though doctors strongly suspect it actually has something to do with the way one's brain and nervous system transmit signals to the affected part of the body.

Some also speculate that some Michiganders may just be born with heightened sensitivity to pain, such that what to others is an ordinary injury to them is debilitating.

Overview of overtime exemption rules

As in other cases, the federal government establishes minimum standards when it comes to paying employees in the Detroit are or elsewhere overtime compensation, and states are free to go above and beyond these standards when writing their own wage and hour laws.

It is not terribly controversial that employers in Michigan, under federal law, have to pay time and half an employee's hourly wage if the employer requires the employee to work more than 40 hours in a given work week. However, it is unfortunate that many employers do what they can to get around this rule.

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