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The Employment and Social Security Disability Blog

Helping you apply for SSD benefits

When individuals in Michigan are struggling because of a disability, it is not always easy to ask for help. While Social Security disability benefits are designed to help those unable to work because of a disability, some are worried about the application process. No one likes hearing no or being denied; however, many first time applicants have their applications denied. Thus, it is important for disabled individuals to understand what they can do to increase their chances of being approved.

The application process can be confusing and complex. If living with a disability is not already hard enough, it can be overwhelming to navigate the application process on one's own. At Miller Cohen, PLC, our experienced legal team understands how difficult a disabling injury or condition can be. Therefore, we not only take the time to help our clients understand their options and rights, but we also take the time to work through the details of the application process.

What it means to be a whistleblower

The workplace can be a very busy and complex place. Employees take on many tasks, and get acquainted with co-workers, supervisors and the interworking of the business. Thus, when an employee sees something going on that isn't right, they may seek to speak up about it. However, they may also be hesitant about saying or doing something as it could compromise his or her job, as employment law matters can be challenging to take on.

When an employee observes a violation and reports it, this is known as whistleblowing. The type of violation reported could range greatly, and it could include sexual harassment, violating state or federal regulations or unlawful business practices. Because an employee is putting his or her employer on the spot with regards to doing something wrong, many things could hold an employee back from blowing the whistle.

The SSA looking at social media of SSD applicants

We often share a lot about ourselves on-line. In a world where social media takes priority over in person interactions, it is easy to uncover many details about a person's life on these platforms. While this is common for individuals in Michigan and other states across the nation, one does not often consider how the information they share on social media could impact his or her ability to recover disability benefits.

Living with a disability can be challenging; thus, when obstacles occur during the application process for Social Security disability benefits, this can become a very overwhelming and discouraging situation. According to recent reports, it is suggested that the Social Security Administration may look to Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms when one files a disability claim.

Helping you secure the SSD benefits you are eligible for

Living with a disability can pose various challenges for individuals in Michigan and elsewhere. Whether one was born with a disability or acquired one later in life due to an injury or illness, one needs to consider his or her needs and if they are currently being met. When a disability prevents an individual from working, this can create additional problems, as one may no longer be able to afford food, clothing and even shelter. This is where Social Security disability benefits can be very valuable. This program was designed to help those living with disabilities afford their basic living needs.

Applying for SSD benefits can seem daunting, as many initial applications are denied. For the fear of being denied, many put off the application process; however, because it can be a lengthy process, it is important to timely seek these benefits. The attorneys at Miller Cohen, PLC, understand how complicated the application process can be, especially now that the government is looking to cut costs.

Some information on the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act

Employees in Detroit may wonder if there is anything they can do about wrongdoing they witness while on the job. Is there any way to report violations of law without being fired? The Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act protects employees who report certain kinds of illegal activity. This blog post will provide some basic information on this law and on what kinds of reporting is protected in the Wolverine State.

If an employee reports or is about to report a violation or suspected violation of federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations to a public body, the Act prohibits the employer from discharging, threatening or discriminating against the employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment. Employees also receive this protection if they participate in a public hearing, investigation, inquiry or court action.

Do not take on Social Security Disability appeals alone

Wayne County area workers living with certain kinds of disability may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security operates as an insurance program to help people who meet the eligibility requirements. When workers work and pay payroll taxes, they can and should apply for benefits when they have a qualifying disability.

A few months ago, we told our readers what steps a Social Security Disability claimant can take to make the claims process go as smoothly as possible. If a claimant lives with a severe impairment that is anticipated to last at least 12 months and restricts the ability to work, or if they live with an impairment may lead to the claimant's death, they can apply for benefits. They should make sure they have the necessary medical evidence, and they should apply as soon as they are eligible.

Are unpaid internships legal?

Students seeking experience, an attractive addition to their resume or even unique academic credits may seek an internship that provides little or no wages. While internships have benefits, their potential for misuse and employment law violations are obvious. However, the United States Department of Labor issued guidelines this month governing internships.

For-profit employers must comply with wage and hour laws contained in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An employee is entitled to at least the federal minimum wage and overtime wages.

Death does not wait for disability benefits

Federal disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are intended to serve as a financial safety net for recipients who have a qualifying disability. Unfortunately, many Michiganders have died after applying for Social Security Disability benefits and while awaiting their appeals of denied claims.

Approximately 8.8 million Americans rely on Social Security disability insurance. The maximum monthly amount is $2,800 which makes a difference for many claimants and exceeds the national poverty level.

Social Security Disability Insurance problems continue

In 2015, Congress made changes to the disability insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to stave off depletion of its financial reserve. However, this did not address underlying problems with the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Seven years ago, forecasts predicted that SSDI reserves would be depleted in 2016 for Michiganders and residents of other states. This would cut benefits for 11 million SSDI beneficiaries by almost 20 percent.

The number of applications more than doubled between 1999 and 2010 because of unemployment caused by two recessions, revenues were reduced from these recessions, more women were eligible for benefits because of accumulating earning credits and the population was aging into their 50s and 60s with growing disabling impairments. There was also allegations of fraud and many applicants had to wait many years before final determinations were issued on their eligibility.

Sick leave benefits cut by legislature

Late last month, the Michigan Senate voted to amend paid sick and minimum wage laws that were adopted in September This proposed change to a new employment law that did not take effect would exempt over 160,000 small businesses in the state from providing paid sick leave to their workers.

Opponents of these amendments argue that it would effectively take away paid sick leave guarantees from 55 percent of workers in Michigan. The Senate adopted the amendments to keep the law off the ballot and make it easier to change. The House was expected to quickly vote on these amendments.

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