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The Employment and Social Security Disability Blog

Michigan claimants may receive SSDI benefits for skin disorders

When an individual develops a skin disorder or receives a serious injury to their skin, it can be debilitating and affect one's ability to do perform their job duties at work. If this happens, the financial repercussions can be devastating. In the cases of more serious skin disorders or injuries, a worker may be able to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Social Security Disability offers benefits to workers whose injuries or impairments prevent them from working over a long period of time or permanently inhibit their ability to work at all.

To qualify for SSD benefits, a worker typically must have contributed to the program for at least seven years of their working lives. Social Security Disability is a federal program that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and which is funded by contributions made through FICA payroll withholding. In order for a worker to receive benefits through the program, the disorder or injury must fall within the specific government guidelines set forth by the SSA.

Can private insurers improve SSDI for Michigan claimants?

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) budget struggles and associated service delivery issues have been splashed across the media for quite some time now. Members of Congress have suggested that private disability insurance could be used to shore up the foundering Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. The program's ability to deliver its services to claimants in Michigan and elsewhere has been seriously compromised by budgetary, personnel and technology issues.

Last year, the media seized on the fact that several thousand SSDI claimants had died while waiting for a benefits determination to illustrate the extent of the agency's problems. Congress recently authorized a $480 million stopgap measure -- over objections from the White House -- to boost SSA's service levels. More than 20 percent of the amount will be allocated toward improving the SSDI claims process. But, it may be too little to reverse the wait times and improve the services in the near term.

Can Michigan claimants get SSD benefits for sensory impairments?

A worker with a sensory impairment may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance (SSDI) benefits. A sensory impairment negatively impacts one's vision, hearing or speech and may result from an injury or disease. Those who suffer from such impairments may have difficulty performing the regular tasks that their jobs require. Or, worse, they may be prevented from working at all.

When a sensory impairment has a long-term impact on a person's ability to work in a meaningful way, the impaired individual will likely suffer considerable financial consequences, in addition to the effects of the sensory impairment itself. In the cases of certain impairments, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to help offset some of the wage loss and other financial impacts from the inability to work.

To Thrive, Not Just Survive

Miller Cohen attorney Keith Flynn, the Chair of the Genesee County Democratic Party's Policy Committee and Genesee County's delegate to the April Convention's Resolutions Committee, after consultation with a number of labor delegates, drafted and presented the resolution "To Thrive, Not Survive" at the convention of the Genesee County Democratic Party in Flint. It was passed unanimously. The resolution was also unanimously adopted on presentation by Miller Cohen attorney Jeremy Fisher at the 9th Congressional District Democratic Party Convention chaired by Miller Cohen attorney Robert Fetter. The resolution was heard by the April Convention's Resolutions Committee where Miller Cohen attorneys Keith Flynn (serving as a delegate from the 5th District Democratic Party) and Richard Mack (serving as a delegate from the 14th District Democratic Party) assisted in the adoption of the resolution with some minor changes. This resolution will go to the State Convention for action. The Resolution appears below.

Supreme Court decision hits close to home in the Motor City

In Detroit, the hub of the auto industry in the United States -- if not the world -- automobile-related jobs are a huge economic factor. People who work in the industry rely on their wages and overtime to provide for themselves, their families and to make ends meet. Often, because of economic conditions, the extra income that overtime pay offers is an incentive for workers to remain in a position, even if (or because) it means extra hours.

A decision that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down this week though, throws a monkey wrench into that plan for certain workers at automotive dealerships. Carving out new territory in the nation's employment law, the Court decided that service advisors at auto dealerships were generally not entitled to receive overtime pay, even though the advisors in question worked an average of 55-hours per week.

Bone injuries or disorders may qualify for SSD benefits

Injuries, like broken bones or other skeletal disorders, can make simple, everyday movements difficult. And, they can be devastating when they affect one's ability to work. When such an impairment prevents someone from working for a year or longer, they may qualify for financial assistance. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is paid from a fund that all United States workers have paid into during the time in the workforce. If they become disabled before retirement and are no longer able to work, SSDI can take some of the sting out of the wage loss.

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses a claim for a bone injury or disorder, it compares the evidence and medical records to its own guidelines. To qualify under the SSA guidelines, a musculoskeletal system disorder or injury must prevent an individual from working for at least a year. Spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis and fractured vertebrae are examples of such disorders and injuries.

Sexual harassment bad for business, bottom line

In the last year, workplace sexual harassment has garnered much attention from the public and the press. Hollywood scandals and the #metoo movement fueled press coverage and at the same time emboldened victims of harassment to come forward. Companies on the wrong side of such employment law cases have learned quickly that protecting those who engage in sexual harassment can drive away customers and paying out claims to victims eats away at the bottom line.

Two respected Detroit companies have come to this realization the hard way in recent months. A prominent local news anchor, the TV station for which he worked, and the station's parent company have all been sued by a former reporter. The reporter leveled allegations that the anchor sexually harassed her, attempting to cajole her into performing sex acts, and sending inappropriate text messages.

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.

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