Tag Archives: Benefits

Workers’ Compensation and Child Support in Nebraska

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Doing_the_best_she_canWhat happens when you are injured at work, but you also pay child support? In Nebraska, generally, there cannot be liens against workers’ compensation benefits. However, Nebraska Revised Statute 48-149 provides for one of those rare instances where a lien may be instituted against workers’ compensation benefits for child support orders. In other words, if you have a Nebraska child support order, it is likely that any child support that is due may be garnished from your workers’ compensation benefit checks or from a workers’ compensation settlement.

If there is an out-of-state child support order, however, the order must first be transferred to the Nebraska courts or to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services before a child support order may attach as a lien to Nebraska workers’ compensation benefits. In order to do that, there are certain procedures that must be followed for a proper transfer of a child support order to Nebraska courts. Often, these procedures are not followed by other states and therefore, there is not be a proper lien against Nebraska workers’ compensation benefits to be garnished. If the out-of-state child support order was properly transferred though, the order will be treated the same as a Nebraska child support order, and workers’ compensation benefits may be garnished to pay said child support.

Regardless of where a child support order is located, it is absolutely imperative that you inform your lawyer about any child support that you owe so your lawyer is able to help you navigate through your workers’ compensation claim and child support concerns.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , , , .

Workplace Flexibility: Good For You and Your Employees

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Today’s post was shared by the U.S. Labor Department and comes from www.huffingtonpost.com

Even though National Work and Families Month was in October, I think this topic is a good discussion to encourage employers and business owners to consider anytime during the year. As we have discussed in the past, not everyone has the luxury of benefits at their jobs. But benefits can be an extremely important part of the overall compensation package, including paid sick leave and workplace flexibility. As is evidenced below, employers can also reap great benefits from providing such flexibility, especially when it comes to increased worker loyalty and productivity. That includes offering schedules that are concrete for workers so they don’t have to “choose between … job or … family.” In addition, there are definitely benefits of goodwill and there might even be cost savings when a person, regardless of job, stays home when sick, instead of passing the illness around the workplace and other workers taking that illness home to loved ones. Another example is for anyone who drives for work. A sickness on the road and working while sick could very quickly become an employer’s safety issue that could endanger both the employee and the general public, if being forced to work led to an accident.

A March 2014 article by Bryce Covert discusses the reality of what paid sick leave (and I would argue workplace flexibility) did in one state, in addition to humanizing service-sector workers and spreading caregiver tasks out over more family members. Researchers Eileen Appelbaum and Ruth Milkman from the Center for Economic and Policy Research surveyed Connecticut employers and “they found that ‘everything they were worried about, that workers would take all the time available, employees would abuse it, did not happen,’ she said.”

“Only 11 percent of Connecticut’s businesses had costs increase by 3 percent or more, their study found, while about two-thirds said there was either no cost or a small one. The vast majority said there were no cases of abuse. In fact, while the law provides workers with five paid sick days a year, on average they use just four. Half of them used three days or fewer, and a third didn’t take any at all. ‘It’s not that you give workers a paid sick day and they run out and use every single one,’ Appelbaum noted. ‘From the point of view of employees, these paid sick days are a form of insurance,’ and workers hold on to them in case they need them in the future.”

Because as you should read below, regardless of the size or type of business, in the long run, workplace flexibility can be very good for business.

 

Kimmich-1024x768Small business owners know that things don’t always go as planned, and the same is true for their employees. Even the family responsibilities that we can plan for sometimes require a balancing act: nearly two-thirds of American women with a 1-year-old child are in the labor force, and approximately 16.8 million adults over 55 years of age provide unpaid care for elderly loved ones. That’s why workplace flexibility policies that allow employees to balance the demands of work and home are vitally important − especially paid sick days, paid parental leave and flexible scheduling.

These policies also give employers a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent, increase employee creativity, increase productivity, increase profitability, and boost employee morale.

Many large companies have made headlines when offering workplace flexibility policies (Netflix, Google and Microsoft to name a few), but flexible workplace policies are good for small businesses, too.

During National Work and Families Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Labor Department are supporting businesses’ efforts to make the country’s workplaces more fair and family-friendly by creating a Workplace Flexibility Toolkit. It’s full of helpful tips and ideas to help small businesses implement smart workplace flexibility policies.

Small businesses all over the country already are reaping the benefits of such policies:

“Years ago my husband, John, and I decided to offer…

[Click here to see the rest of this post]

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Reforms, U.S. Department of Labor, worker rights, Working from Home and tagged , , , , , .

States with Opt-Out Workers’ Comp System are Strict on Injured Workers

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Dallas attorney Bill Minick (Photo credit Dylan Hollingsworth for ProPublica)

Today’s post was written by guest author Hayes Jernigan, from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina. In 2015, ProPublica and NPR have done a great service to the public by making in-depth reports on workers’ compensation systems in many states. Their most recent focus was looking at the opt out systems implemented Texas and Oklahoma. These similar systems essentially strip workers of the protections that workers’ compensation gives, stacking the deck dramatically toward employers and their insurance companies.

Fortunately, Nebraska is not an opt out state yet. But many Nebraska employers, especially those who are self-insured for the purposes of workers’ compensation, have adopted many tactics from opt out states. I think the most prevalent tactic is hoodwinking employees into filing for short- or long-term disability when an injury should be covered by workers’ compensation. Employees often unknowingly agree to this in situations where the work duties aggravated an old injury or pre-existing condition or if there is some minor delay or defect in reporting the injury. If you sign up for private disability insurance, you are often asked to deny that your disability is work related. That can doom any possible workers’ compensation claim in the future. If you are being asked to sign up for long-term or short-term disability for a medical condition that may have been caused by work injury, contact a workers’ compensation attorney.

Texas and Oklahoma have both adopted an “opt-out” system for Workers’ Compensation. ProPublica along with NPR recently published an in-depth look at the results in these two states. Under this system, employers can opt-out of state mandated workers’ compensation insurance by creating their own policy for injured workers. These employer-written policies give employers 100% control over the terms, the benefits, and even settlements.

Specifically, ProPublica and NPR found that these employer-created policies generally have strict 24-hour reporting requirements or even require an injury to be reported by the end of a shift. This means, if an employee does not report their injury within their shift, or within 24 hours, they are prevented from bringing a claim at all. Period. End of discussion. Employers can also dictate how much benefits will be paid and some employers have capped death benefits for employees who are killed at work at $250,000. Whereas under the State Workers’ Compensation system, if a deceased worker leaves behind minor children, they will continue to receive benefits until they turn 18 (which could easily end up being well over $250,000 when you factor in lost wages until the worker would have been 65). This is potentially detrimental to a young widow or widower who is left with very young children.

This morning we tweeted a recent ABC news article that a worker was killed when he fell at a construction site in Charlotte. I’d hate to think that his or her family would be limited to recovering only $250,000 in the event the worker left behind dependent family members and young children. Money can’t begin to replace someone who is lost to us too early from an accident at work, but $250,000 would hardly cover a lifetime of income that the family will lose, especially if young children are left behind.

 

To read more on how the Opt-Out system is affecting injured workers in Texas and Oklahoma, go to: ProPublica: Inside Corporate America’s Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Government, Legislation, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Trials

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judgeIf your workers’ compensation claim has been denied or if there are any disputes involving your workers’ compensation claim, your lawyer may file a Petition with the Workers’ Compensation Court. This Petition is a lawsuit against your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, seeking benefits to which you are entitled but are not properly being paid.

Once a Petition has been filed, the case will be assigned to one of the seven workers’ compensation judges in Nebraska. Then, the case will eventually be given a trial date; this date is usually less than a year after the petition is filed (nine months is a good estimate).

The trial will then be held in the county where the accident occurred. If the accident occurred out of state, then the trial will be held in Lincoln. However, the parties may agree to have the trial anywhere within the state if another location is more convenient for those involved. In situations where it may be difficult for a witness or party to attend trial in person, the parties may agree to conduct the trial via videoconference with the judge.

When it comes time for trial, the judge assigned to the case will hear all of the evidence (including the testimony from all witnesses). The trial usually takes about a half day or sometimes a whole day, depending on the number of witnesses. Rarely do workers’ compensation trials go beyond one day. After the trial has concluded, the judge will issue a decision in approximately one to six months. At times, however, issuing the decision can take even longer than six months on more complicated cases. The decision will be either an Order of Dismissal of the case or an Award of Benefits for the case. In either instance, any issues that were presented at trial will have been addressed by the Court in the decision, which is a final order. Although the decision is final, either party may choose to appeal the decision to the Nebraska Court of Appeals and/or eventually to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Today’s blog post is a part of a continuing series that explores the basics of workers’ compensation. Please read the previous blog posts in the series by clicking on these links, and be sure to consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer with questions:

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Nebraska, Trial, Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Payments to Workers and their Families

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Here’s the next installment in the firm’s series that focuses on the basics of the workers’ compensation system. It gives information on how payments to injured workers and/or their families are handled. 

Workers’ compensation generally pays by the week, although it may be paid bi-weekly or monthly in some circumstances. The amount of the payment is established by state laws or statutes, regulation or court decision. 

Family members are paid in the event of the death of a worker arising from an accident or disease. Family members are occasionally paid for providing home-health care.     

The amounts paid and duration of payment varies from state to state. Generally there is a minimum and a maximum. The maximum is usually two-thirds of the gross wages earned, with a limit that is adjusted from time to time. 

To calculate the amount actually paid, most states use average wages for a specified number of weeks or months before the injury, death or disease. 

Payments are made for temporary inability to work, which is generally labeled temporary total disability. There may be a waiting period before payments begin. The waiting period varies from state to state. 

Payments are also made when a worker is temporarily limited to light duty and working either fewer hours or for a lower rate of pay. These benefits are called temporary partial disability. 

Payments are made for permanent inability to work and, if severe enough, some states pay for the worker’s lifetime. Some states do not pay for less than lifetime. These benefits are called permanent total disability. 

Payments are made for permanent reduction of the ability to work. This benefit is normally labeled permanent partial disability. 

Payments that are made for loss of body parts or limited use of body parts are also labeled permanent partial disability. State law establishes the value of the various body parts. 

Payments are less frequently paid while workers are participating in retraining or vocational rehabilitation. This is not a common benefit. 

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION DOES NOT PAY FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING. 

It is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions or concerns about any of the information shared here. Please read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Workers' Comp Basics, Workers' Compensation, Workplace Injury and tagged , , , , , .

Workers’ Compensation Basics: Understanding Social Security Disability Offsets

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This is the next post in the series that looks at the basics of workers’ compensation. If you receive both workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Administration disability benefits, please be aware of the concerns raised here.

The most important thing a worker who is entitled to receive both workers’ compensation and SSA disability benefits can do is report the amount of workers’ compensation benefits to the Social Security Administration, in writing if possible. Failure to do so can result in an overpayment that may not be uncovered until years later and may be thousands of dollars.

However, the reporting of these benefits doesn’t ensure the SSA will make the proper adjustment to your SSA monthly benefit. As such, it’s important to follow up with the SSA once you have reported your benefit amount to ensure they adjust your SSA benefit to account for this. This will help ensure an overpayment is not found years later. Be sure to ask an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions.

Please read the previous blog posts in the workers’ compensation basics series by clicking on these links: 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in social security disability, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Benefits: Do You Use What You Get?

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Source – Project: Time Off

As the firm’s research and marketing director, I spend quite a bit of time finding topics for social-media discussions and generally researching on the Internet. One of the sources I’ve listened to for years on my personal time is the Marketplace suite of shows, first on the radio, now with the convenience of podcasts.

They bill themselves as “business and economic news” and frequently cover what I would consider workers’ issues like safety, employment trends, and benefits, usually resulting in very balanced, informative reporting.

As the end-of-summer activities put a focus on children returning to school, many people are wrapping up their vacations for the year. But others don’t take summer vacations, as they are either saving up their time for something else, don’t have the luxury of those kinds of benefits, or just don’t take advantage of the benefits offered.

In today’s blog post, I challenge you to think about how you use any benefits that are available. If you have the luxury of vacation days and sick leave, or just blanket paid-time-off days, do you take those days or not?

There were three recent stories from Marketplace that offered perspective about the specific workplace benefits of vacation and parental leave (parental leave is when a child is born or adopted).

Please consider taking a few minutes to read and/or listen to them:

Although some may say these are idealistic or even untenable situations from a business perspective, I wonder about what workers at these businesses think. Is the reality as rosy as the policy? What kind of a workplace culture can support an idea like unlimited vacation? Is there resentment among the workers about who is gone when? And with great benefits, can workers increase or stand up to the scrutiny of expected productivity and actually get to enjoy those benefits?

I think this quote from the unlimited-vacation story is the most helpful and boils down to folks working hard while they are at work and then recharging while they are away. It also is a results-oriented argument for offering good benefits for workers.

“‘Team members can take time off whenever they need it or whenever they want to,’ says Netta Samroengraja, CFO and chief people officer. ‘We feel like we have a much more motivated work force and they’re absolutely much more productive as well while they’re here.’”

Have a safe and productive day, and take care.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in employment law, Workplace Safety and tagged , , , , , , .

Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Offset and Overpayments

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Social Security disability benefits are subject to an offset, or reduction, when paid to a claimant who is also receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Technically, the reduction applies if the total of the two benefits exceeds 80 percent of the worker’s “average current earnings” or ACE. The worker’s ACE is calculated as the largest of three averages:

  1. average monthly wage used for purposes of computing Social Security benefits;
  2. 1/60 of the total wages for five consecutive calendar years for which such wages were the highest; or
  3. 1/12 of the total wages for the calendar year in which the worker had the highest such wages during the period consisting of the calendar year in which he or she became disabled and the five consecutive calendar years preceding that year. Clearly this is not a simple calculation that most workers can undertake.   

In most instances, when a worker is receiving temporary or permanent total disability payments, they will not be entitled to receive any disability pay from the Social Security Administration. When a worker is receiving permanent partial disability payments, they likely will be entitled to receive at least a portion of their SSA disability pay. In many cases, settling a workers’ compensation case can increase the monthly SSA disability benefit.   

At any rate, the most important thing a worker who is entitled to receive both workers’ compensation and SSA disability benefits can do is report the amount of his workers’ compensation benefits to the Social Security Administration, in writing if possible.  Failure to do so can result in an overpayment that may not be uncovered until years later and may be thousands of dollars. However, the reporting of these benefits doesn’t ensure the SSA will make the proper adjustment to your SSA monthly benefit. As such, it’s important to follow up with the SSA once you have reported your benefit amount to ensure they adjust your SSA benefit to account for this. This will help ensure an overpayment is not found years later.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore and Trucker Lawyers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Six attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 90 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska and Iowa in state-specific workers’ compensation systems. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in social security disability and tagged , , , , .