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  • Worker's Compensation Law

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What is Worker's Compensation? Do I Qualify?
Medical & Legal Examinations Medical Treatment Benefits
Notifying Employer and Filing Pre-Existing Injuries & Apportionment
Qualified Medical Evaluations Re-injury & Re-opening Your Case
Selecting an Attorney Temporary Disability Benefits
Time Limits Types of Settlements
Unemployment Benefits Uninsured Employers
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits Am I Receiving All Benefits?
Benefits Lost Wages
Permanent Injury Salary While Not Working
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hernias
Neck and Back Injuries Old Injuries
Trauma Injuries Work Exposure Claims
Auto Accident Rights on the Job Claim Filing Time Limits
Defective Equipment Medical Malpractice Claim on the Job
Social Security Benefits Third Party Claims
Wrongful Discharge or Discrimination Claim Can I draw long-term disability along with Worker's Compensation?
Can I draw Social Security Benefits if I had a civil service job? Can I draw Social Security Disability and Worker's Compensation together?
Can my children receive benefits if I draw Social Security Disability benefits? Does my Spouse have any rights to benefits on my work record?
What is the "off set" of Worker's Compensation with Social Security and Worker's Compensation? When can I file for both Social Security and Worker's Compensation?

What is Worker's Compensation?

If you suffer a work-related injury or illness that prevents you from working, you are eligible to receive benefits from the state workers' compensation program. Worker's compensation laws provide money to pay for medical expenses and to replace lost income. The employee is not required to prove that the injuries were caused by negligence of the employer in order to recover under the workers compensation laws. The benefits under these laws are limited however. Generally speaking, employees cannot collect punitive damages from the employer. The cost of providing workers compensation is solely the responsibility of the employer, usually through the purchase of a compensation policy from an insurance company. The cost for the policy cannot be deducted from the employees wages. If the disability is permanent or results in death, additional benefits are available to the employee and the immediate family.

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Do I Qualify?

Most on-the-job injuries are covered by worker's compensation. The system is designed to provide benefits to injured workers, whether an injury is caused by the employer's or the employee's negligence. There are some limits. In general, injuries resulting from employee intoxication or involving the use of illegal drugs are not covered by workers' compensation. There are other situations in which workers' compensation will not pay medical expenses or lost wages. They include self-inflicted injuries, injuries suffered while a worker was committing a serious crime, injuries suffered while an employee was not on the job and injuries suffered when an employee's conduct violated company policy.

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Medical & Legal Examinations

Employers may legally give prospective employees medical exams to make sure they are physically able to do the job. However, there are very strict rules about how and when these sorts of tests can be conducted. Employers cannot require medical or legal examinations before offering an individual a job. Employers are free to make an employment offer contingent upon the person passing those particular tests. The American with Disabilities Act requires that all test results be kept separate from personnel records and there are a limited number of individuals who have the right to see the medical files of employees. Employees can be required to take physical or psychological tests only if there is a reason to suspect an individual is endangering the health and safety of the workplace.

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Medical Treatment Benefits

The insurance company is required by law to pay for all medical treatment an employee needs resulting from a work related injury or illness. This holds true even if the treatments continue after the employee has returned to work. Ongoing treatment should be paid for life. However, future medical payments can be traded away in return for a cash settlement. An attorney who is well versed in the workers' compensation laws of the state will be able to help you determine if a settlement makes good financial sense for you. If your work-related injury or illness is quite severe you will want to seek expert advice before signing away your rights to treatment or to a proper settlement.

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Notifying Employer and Filing

If you are injured on the job, you'll need to notify your supervisor and the personnel department immediately. A report of your injury must be filed with the State Division of Workers Compensation. Failure to notify your employer in a timely fashion may be reason enough for the insurance company to deny payment of the benefits, even if you have been seriously injured. Workers compensation benefits are available to you even if the injury was your fault. You'll need to provide the names of all witnesses and a description of how the injury occurred. This is particularly important in cases involving exposure to chemicals, pesticides, asbestos or other toxic substances. Once you have obtained medical care, you'll need to complete a claim form detailing the extent of your injuries and costs for the treatment. Accepting workers compensation benefits does not disqualify you from other pension and disability programs.

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Pre-Existing Injuries & Apportionment

To be covered by workers' compensation, an injury must be caused by a sudden accident, or an injury must be due to a repetitive action on the job. For example, dropping a crate on your foot is a sudden accident, and lifting fifty pound boxes all day every day is a repetitive motion that can cause back strain. Also covered are pre-existing conditions that could be aggravated by workplace conditions. For instance, emphysema could be made worse by airborne chemicals. Employers may require prospective employees to take a medical examination to make sure they are physically able to do the job. Employers may not require medical exams before offering an individual a job. However, they are free to make a job offer contingent upon the person passing a medical exam. During a medical exam, a company assigned doctor may ask any questions about a person's health or medical history. However, the final evaluation is only supposed to include one of three possible conclusions: able to work, able to work with restrictions, or not able to work.

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Qualified Medical Evaluations

The worker's compensation law provides a claim and benefit system for workers who become ill, or who are injured or who die on the job. A qualified medical evaluation must establish a clear connection between the illness, injury or death. An illness qualifies as an occupational illness when the nature of the job increases the worker's risk of suffering from that disease. Illnesses that are the gradual result of working conditions are now being recognized by many states. For instance, emotional illness and stress-related digestive problems are now covered by worker's compensation insurance. An injury will be covered under the law if there is a connection with the job. Not only are accidents on the job covered, but injuries due to repeated use of body parts. A worker suffering from back strain from lifting heavy items would qualify for compensation, for example. Any employee suffering from a condition that is aggravated by the workplace will also be evaluated for workers compensation. Finally, dependents of workers who are killed on the job or who die as a result of injury or illness are eligible to collect workers compensation benefits.

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Re-injury & Re-opening Your Case

If you have already filed a workman's compensation claim and have been paid for it and you re-injure yourself on the job, you can petition to re-open your claim. This is your right for your entire lifetime. However, in order to win this type of a case, you will have to prove through medical testimony, that your condition is the result of a re-injury due to a work related process or accident. Since workman's compensation law is governed by your state's particular statutes and cases interpreting these laws, you should hire a lawyer to advise and help you with a re-injury claim.

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Selecting an Attorney

It's important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney representing your interests as an injured employee. When you meet with the attorney, be sure to ask how much of his or her practice is devoted to workers compensation law. Also, determine if the attorney has actually tried workers compensation cases. Find out how many. Ask how the attorney plans to proceed with your case. You'll want to know how much of the staff, such as paralegals, will be devoted to your case. A qualified attorney will be pleased to discuss his or her qualifications, experience and practice with you. You should consider hiring an attorney if your claim is rejected, if you are not receiving the correct compensation or if you've been fired, suspended or otherwise disciplined for filing a claim as an injured employee. Even if you are receiving workers compensation benefits, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are receiving the maximum benefits available under the law. Generally, state laws provide that the attorney be paid a percentage of the claimants recovery of benefits.

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Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability is the most common disability compensation paid under the worker's compensation law. If you are unable to work, but will eventually recover from your injuries and return to work, you are eligible for temporary disability payments. You will receive tax-free payments that will substitute for the income you would have earned if you had not been injured. There are set minimum and maximum payments for those who are unable to work. Those workers who have a low wage will sometimes experience an income increase while on disability; while workers with higher salaries may notice a drop in income during this time. State laws vary, but generally speaking, workers become eligible for wage loss replacement benefits within a few days of the injury. Some states also allow for retroactive payments if an injury keeps an employee out of work for an extended amount of time.

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Time Limits

Most state workers compensation laws have a waiting period before they take affect and begin paying the injured worker. If you return to work after an injury and within a specified period of time you are entitled to receive payments for lost income. If the waiting period has passed and you are unable to return to work, you can continue on disabled status and receive payment for lost income from the date of the injury. Income benefits are usually paid weekly. There is a maximum number of weeks you'll be eligible to receive benefits and this varies from state to state. To understand your rights as an injured employee, consult an attorney who is familiar with the workers compensation laws in the state where you are employed.

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Types of Settlements

Your workers' compensation benefits may take several forms, depending upon the state where you live. Here are a few of the most common types of settlements: Costs of medical care will be paid for and that includes the services of doctors, hospitals, nurses, physical therapists, dentists, chiropractors, and the use of prosthetic devices. Temporary disability payments are tax-free and substitute for the income you would have earned had you not been injured. If your injury prevents you from returning to your job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. If you have a partial or complete disability, you may receive a lump sum payment in workers' compensation benefits. These payments will vary greatly with the nature and extent of your injury. And weekly compensation benefits will be paid to the surviving dependents of workers who are killed in the course of employment or as the result of a work-related injury or occupational disease. Contact an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law for more details.

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Unemployment Benefits

Keep in mind that unemployment compensation is governed by state and not federal law. Laws may vary widely from state to state regarding eligibility requirements and benefits. In general, an employee who quits his job voluntarily and without good cause, will lose his rights to unemployment compensation. On the other hand, employees who are laid off will qualify for full benefits. Most workers will receive a benefit proportionate to the earning level of the last job held. The benefits are capped, however, at a certain amount set by state. Typical disqualifying conditions include: termination for willful or negligent conduct; refusing suitable work; or making false statements to the state agency administering unemployment benefits.

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Uninsured Employers

If you are injured on the job and your employer does not have workman's compensation coverage or the employer is not a duly authorized self-insurer, you have a valuable claim. There are severe state penalties for employers who do not carry the proper workers' compensation insurance, when it is required by law. Each state has differing laws and the procedures for handling such a claim also vary from state to state. Hire a lawyer who is familiar with the workers' compensation laws and don't be deterred because of a lack of money. Many lawyers will represent you on a contingency basis rather than charging an hourly fee.

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Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Each state has its own workers compensation plan. In most states, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services to assist your return to work. Rehabilitation for several types of injuries may be included in your coverage. A few states limit the right to vocational rehabilitation to serious injuries only. If you find that the medical treatment you are receiving from an employer-supplied physician is inadequate, speak to the human resources manager at your place of employment. Or if you believe that you could benefit from vocational rehabilitation services check with your employer about filing a claim. On the other hand, your benefits can be revoked, if you refuse to take part in required vocational rehabilitation. If you are asked to participate in a program and you are not physically able to do so, you may wish to hire a workers compensation attorney. To fully understand your rights as an injured employee, consult an attorney who is familiar with workers compensation law.

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Am I Receiving All Benefits?

State workers compensation laws provide for various benefits which fall into three main categories: income benefits, medical care expenses and vocational rehabilitation costs. Within each category there are a number of benefits to which you may be entitled. Income benefits include temporary total disability, temporary partial disability and permanent partial impairment. Medical care expenses may include, doctor's fees, emergency care, hospital fees, diagnostic or other testing, physical therapy and prescription medication. You can be eligible for medical expenses even if you don't receive income benefits. Some state also provide vocational rehabilitation benefits. The best way to determine if you are receiving all the appropriate benefits is to contact an attorney knowledgeable in workers compensation law.

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Benefits

Workers' compensation insurance usually covers the costs of medical care, temporary disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, permanent disabilities and it pays death benefits to survivors. These benefits vary from state to state and some states may offer additional compensations. Medical coverage includes doctors, hospitals, nursing services, physical therapy, dentists, chiropractors and prosthetic devices. You may also receive tax-free temporary disability payments that substitute for the income you would have earned had you not been injured on the job. If your injury prevents you from returning to your job, but you are physically able to continue working, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. This might include additional job training or schooling. If you have a permanent disability you may receive a lump sum payment from the workers' compensation insurance. The lump sum payments vary greatly according to the nature and extent of the injuries. And weekly compensation benefits are paid to surviving dependents of workers who are killed as a result of a work related accident or an occupational disease.

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Lost Wages

Benefits are available through workers' compensation insurance to cover lost wages. In fact, this benefit is the most common one awarded by workers' compensation. If you have been injured on the job and are unable to work, but you are expected to recover and return to work, you're entitled to temporary disability payments. These payments include tax-free money that will substitute for the income you would have earned had you not been injured. If you are unable to work, you will probably be paid two-thirds of your average wages. There are, however, state-set minimums and maximums for the lost wage payments. Workers with low incomes may experience an increase in income while receiving benefits; while those with higher incomes may have a cut in income. In most states, a worker will become eligible for wage replacement benefits as soon as they have lost a few days work due to a job-related illness or injury. Some states allow the payments to be made retroactively if the worker will be out for an extended period of time.

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Permanent Injury

After your physician has determined you've reached maximum recovery, you may be defined as having a permanent injury. If this is the case, you might be entitled to additional workers compensation benefits. Many state laws provide for permanent partial impairment benefits. It is important for the primary physician or specialist to first determine if you have a permanent disability. Then a rating of the disability, according to the workers compensation laws, will help to decide the benefit payment you should receive. There are definite monetary compensation schedules for specific disabilities. For example, a worker is awarded $8,910 for the loss of an index finger. Accepting permanent injury benefits from the state workers compensation plan does not automatically disqualify you from private or federal pension and disability programs. Contact an attorney familiar with the laws of your state in order to fully understand your rights as an injured employee.

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Salary While Not Working

If you cannot work at all due to injuries received on the job, you will compensated for the income you will lose. Typically you will be paid two-thirds of your average wages, with state-set minimums and maximums. Workers with high incomes may experience an income cut. Workers with lower wages will notice an income increase while receiving workers' comp. This is the most common disability compensation paid under workers' compensation. And it is awarded only if you are expected to recover and return to work. In most states, the employee becomes eligible for wage loss replacement benefits as soon as he or she has lost a few days work because of an injury covered by workers' compensation.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

It's important for a physician or specialist to determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. A doctor should describe the loss of work capacity due to your condition. In other words, are you able to perform specific functions dealing with movement, such as manipulation, dexterity, pinching, grasping, and gripping? For hand functions dealing with 'keyboarding' a time limitation should be specified. Maybe you're only able to use the computer for an hour before the pain is too intense to continue with your work. According to the workers compensation laws, a rating which takes into account the extent and repercussions of your disability will be applied to your injury or disability. Then a decision will be made on the basis of this rating. There are definite monetary compensation schedules for specific disabilities. Consult an attorney who is well versed in workers compensation law, if you have a disability claim.

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Hernias

In a typical year, more than six million work-related injuries and illnesses occur in the United States. To be covered by workers' compensation, an injury need not be caused by a sudden accident as in a fall. Equally common are claims for injuries due to repeated use of the body.....and a hernia falls into this category. If repeated stress and strain on the job has caused a hernia, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. This will include payment for all medical expenses, and possibly temporary disability payments. The legal boundary is that employees are protected by workers' comp as long as they are 'in the course of employment' when the injury occurs or if the employment situation aggravates a condition. Contact an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law for more details.

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Neck and Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries can be permanent. If an employee experiences an injury while on the job that concludes in permanent damage, he or she is entitled to workers compensation benefits. A physician must determine the nature of the medical disability and how it effects the injured workers ability to compete on the open labor market. The neck or back injury must be described in terms of the disabling effects of pain, or by referring to the loss of work function and capacity. Spine and torso disabilities can also be described in terms of loss for a group of functions which include such activities as bending, stooping, lifting, pushing and climbing. After the employee's condition stabilizes, and it becomes apparent he or she has reached maximum medical improvement, a report should be filed with the insurance company. A rating specialist then interprets the information and gives the disability a numeric representation. A decision on disability benefits will be made on the basis of this rating. There are definite monetary compensation schedules for specific disabilities. Consult an attorney who is knowledgeable in workers compensation law, if you have a disability claim.

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Old Injuries

The workers' compensation system provides replacement income and medical expenses to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their jobs. Financial aid may also extend to the families of injured workers and to survivors of workers who are killed on the job. Workers' compensation also protects employers from lawsuits for those injuries or deaths. The benefits paid are usually modest amounts. The system is financed by insurance premiums paid by employers. In some states, employers are allowed to self-insure. This means the employer will be responsible for paying all claims. The workers compensation system is national, but it is regulated and administered by individual states. The laws and court decisions follow a pattern nationwide, but vary significantly from state to state on eligibility, benefits and the proper process for filing claims.

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Trauma Injuries

Employees who sustain traumatic injuries while working are entitled to emergency medical care at the expense of the employer. If you are injured on the job, your medical expenses, including ambulance, emergency room care and subsequent hospitalization, should be covered by workers compensation insurance carried by your employer. State laws generally define a work-related injury to include any injury that occurs while you are actually on the premises or doing any duty for the benefit of your employer. This also includes certain errand duties, if done at the request of, or for the benefit of, your employer. Injuries that occur during an automobile accident while you are on the job would be covered by workers compensation insurance. Some states insist certain requirements be met in order for emergency care to be paid for by workers compensation. Check with an attorney knowledgeable in the laws dealing with workers compensation, if you have sustained major injuries in a work-related accident.

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Work Exposure Claims

To be covered by workers' compensation, an injury need not be caused by a sudden accident as in a fall. Equally common are claims for injuries due to repeated use of the body or exposure to unsanitary or poor working conditions. If exposure to chemicals on the job has aggravated an already existing condition or caused a new problem with your health you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. This will include payment for all medical expenses, and possibly temporary or permanent disability payments. The legal boundary is that employees are protected by workers' comp as long as they are 'in the course of employment' when the injury occurs or if the employment situation aggravates a condition. Contact an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law for more details.

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Auto Accident Rights on the Job

If you are injured in an automobile accident while working, you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits. It's acceptable to file a claim even if you were at fault in the accident. According to the law employees are entitled to emergency medical care at the expense of the employer. Reasonable and necessary medical expenses after an automobile accident might include an ambulance, emergency room care, surgical treatment, hospital care, follow-up visits, and rehabilitation, if needed. Some states require the employee to use the services of selected physicians only. In an emergency situation involving a work-related auto accident, all medical care should be paid for or reimbursed by the employer. However, you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with workers compensation law before incurring other medical expenses.

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Claim Filing Time Limits

You must get immediate medical care if your work-related injury requires it. You must then inform your employer of your injury. Most states have short statutes of limitations on compensation cases; they're usually one year. You must report this claim within the time limit or the claim will be lost forever. After your claim has been processed, all the medical care pertaining to your illness or injury will be paid for and there is no limitation on this coverage. If you are unable to work, but will eventually recover from your injury or illness and return to work, you're entitled to disability payments to make up for lost wages. In most states the lost wages benefits start as soon as the worker has lost a few days of work. The exact number of days varies from state to state.

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Defective Equipment

If you are injured at work due to defective equipment, you may be able to maintain a product liability action against the manufacturer of the equipment. The claim against the manufacturer would be separate from your claim for workers compensation against your employer. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, all employers have three obligations. 1.) Employers must furnish a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. 2.) Employers are required to comply with the safety and health standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 3.) Employers with eleven or more employees are required to maintain a log and summary of all occupational injuries and illnesses. Although, workers compensation is the exclusive remedy against your employer, separate claims for faulty equipment may be appropriate under certain circumstances. Contact an attorney familiar with workers compensation law for more details.

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Medical Malpractice Claim on the Job

Always tell your authorized doctor everything that's wrong with you. If you hurt your neck and arm, mention both areas of injury every time you see him. If you're having stress or trouble coping with your injury, or if you are depressed, tell the doctor. This may be covered by workers' compensation benefits. You do not have to accept the company doctor as the final word on matters. You have a right to disagree and to seek additional medical advice. If you suspect that your workers' compensation claim has been jeopardized due to medical malpractice, you should seek advice from an expert on workers' compensation law. Check with the Division of Workers' Compensation or your lawyer for more information.

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Social Security Benefits

Social Security disability insurance provides some income for people who are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. Like other Social Security benefits, the amount of your monthly disability check is determined by your age and earnings record. Most individuals who qualify for disability receive about $625 per month. The average monthly disability payment for a worker with a spouse and a child is about $1,050. Workers with high total incomes may have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security disability benefits. Contact the Internal Revenue Service for more information on taxes. There is no consideration given as to the minimum amount of money needed to survive. If you receive a small Social Security disability benefit, you may also be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits.

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Third Party Claims

There are a few exceptions to the rule that workers compensation is your exclusive remedy for a work-related injury or illness. If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party, someone other than your employer or a coworker, you are free to sue that person for damages. For example: Someone runs a red light and hits the company truck you're driving while making deliveries for the floral shop. You're injured and you are eligible for workers compensation. You can also sue the person who caused your injury. In addition, your employer can sue this negligent driver in order to recover the workers compensation benefits he's required to pay to you. Or your employer can join in your lawsuit and seek reimbursement of his benefit obligations out of your damage award. Most states require employees to notify their employers if they intend to sue a third party.

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Wrongful Discharge or Discrimination Claim

Employment laws vary in different jurisdictions. However, if you feel you were discriminated against due to an injury sustained on the job, you should consult an attorney who is experienced in workers compensation law. It is unlawful in every state for an employee to be fired, suspended or disciplined for filing a workers compensation claim. Federal laws also prohibit the termination of injured workers. Employers are protected under state law which prohibits an increase in the employer's insurance premiums. Suspension or termination does not eliminate the employer's obligation to provide you with workers compensation benefits you are already entitled to receive. If you believe you have been discriminated against for filing a claim, contact the Worker Compensation Commission in your state. For information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact the local office of The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Can I draw long-term disability along with Worker's Compensation?

Payments for permanent disability vary greatly according to the nature and extent of your injuries. If you are unable to work at all, and you're not expected to work again, then you will have a claim for permanent total disability. Long term permanent disability payments are not paid until the employee's condition is stable. If you are able to perform some type of work, but you're not expected to fully regain your ability to earn money, you will be filing for permanent partial disability. This type of disability is usually divided into two groups: schedule and nonschedule injuries. Schedule injuries are those for which a set lump-sum payment has been determined by state law. Non-schedule injuries are those for which no lump-sum amount has been specified. You must negotiate a settlement non-schedule injuries.

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Can I draw Social Security Benefits if I had a civil service job?

In general, anyone who qualifies as a parttime or fulltime employee, according to the Internal Revenue Service guidelines, is covered by workers' compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions, however. Harbor workers, seafarers, railroad employees and federal employees all must file lawsuits to get disputed compensation rather than use the workers' compensation system. If you are a civil service worker, there is a workers' compensation program established by federal statute which applies specifically to you. The federal system is similar to the state system. If you have questions about your compensation, you should contact the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs in Washington, D.C.

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Can I draw Social Security Disability and Worker's Compensation together?

Social Security and Workers' Compensation are equal but separate programs. The Social Security disability insurance program does not recognize degrees of wage-earning capability as the workers' compensation program does. Under the rules of Social Security, an employee is either able to work, in which case he doesn't qualify for benefits, or he can't work and will be given help. A disability does not need to be work related in order for an employee to collect benefits from Social Security. If you are trying to collect workers' compensation benefits the illness or injury you have sustained must be work-related. Employees are covered their first day on the job by workers' compensation. Social Security benefits are only paid to workers and their families when the worker has enough credits to qualify.

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Can my children receive benefits if I draw Social Security Disability benefits?

Weekly compensation benefits are paid to surviving children of workers who have been killed in the course of employment or as a result of a work-related injury. If a worker has died due to an occupational disease, the benefits will also be paid. The amount paid is usually equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker's weekly salary. Some states put a limit on the amount of the award; while others limit the number of weeks or years the money will be available to survivors. Death benefits for surviving children usually end when the child reaches majority. If the child is a full-time student, however, the benefits may be continued until he or she graduates.

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Does my Spouse have any rights to benefits on my work record?

Weekly compensation benefits are paid to the surviving spouse of a worker who has been killed in the course of employment or as a result of a work-related injury. If the worker died after suffering an occupational illness, the spouse will receive death benefits. The amount of the compensation is usually equal to two-thirds of the deceased workers weekly salary. Some states limit the total amount of the death award; while other states limit the amount of time the spouse may receive compensation. These benefits usually come to an end if the spouse remarries. However, some states offer a lump sum payment to the former spouse upon remarriage. In addition, if an employee dies due to a workplace accident, his or her estate will receive burial expenses in an amount determined by state law.

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What is the "off set" of Worker's Compensation with Social Security and Worker's Compensation?

Workers' compensation and Social Security Disability are equal programs, but their eligibility requirements and benefits vary a great deal. You are permitted to collect Social Security disability payments and, at the same time, private disability payments from an insurance policy or coverage from your employer. You may also receive workers' compensations benefits at the same time as Social Security disability benefits. However, while you are receiving these benefits, your Social Security payment may be reduced. The law states that the sum of all your disability payments cannot exceed eighty percent of your earnings averaged over a period of time shortly before you became disabled. If you're still receiving Social Security disability benefits when your workers' compensation benefits run out, you can once again start receiving the full amount of your Social Security benefits.

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When can I file for both Social Security and Worker's Compensation?

When you and your employer pay into the Social Security Program, you're buying long-term disability insurance coverage. Once you have paid into the program for a period specified by the Social Security program, you are eligible for benefits should you be unable to work. You are eligible for workers' compensation the first day you begin working a job. Disability programs are not intended to cover temporary, short-term or partial disability. The benefits were sanctioned by Congress with the assumption that working families have other support resources during short-term disabilities. For this reason, you can file for workers' compensation and Social Security disability payments at the same time. It usually takes longer to process a Social Security claim and your benefits may be reduced if you also receive workers compensation. Contact an attorney familiar with workers' compensation law for more information.

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