Schott Mauss & Associates, PLLC
Helping Iowans Who Are Injured And Disabled Obtain The Benefit They Deserve

Des Moines Disability And Injury Legal Blog

Calls for investigation into adjudication of SSD claims

It's no secret that many Social Security disability claims are initially denied. There may be a number of reasons for these denials, including insufficient medical evidence and work history. As frustrating as this may be, a recent study may be shedding light on the lax review system SSD claims undergo, which could be costing countless Americans -- including those right here in Iowa -- the financial support they deserve under the law.

In many instances, Social Security disability claims are reviewed by doctors. The issue, as highlighted by recent reporting, is that many of these doctors are paid for each case that they analyze and make a decision on. This has caused some reviewing doctors to make decisions on as many as five claims per hour. These are rushed decisions that are likely based on only pieces of one's claim rather than its entirety.

Summertime and heat stroke: Be sure to protect yourself

If you work outdoors during the hot summer months in Iowa, it's imperative to protect yourself against the heat. Failing to do so can result in a variety of health concerns, such as heat stroke and dehydration.

Heat stroke is a serious heat injury that can result in illness or death if left untreated. For example, if you don't receive immediate treatment after overheating, it could cause damage to your internal organs.

Firefighters may be at increased risk of occupational disease

There are many noble professions. Firefighter is certainly amongst them. While this occupation is noble, it is also dangerous. These brave men and women put their lives on the line on a daily basis to help keep Iowans safe. Sadly, even if they are able to survive each individual fire unscathed, these firefighters' exposure to airborne chemicals oftentimes causes them to develop occupational diseases such as cancer.

Tragically, this isn't an uncommon occurrence. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all firefighters who died in the line of duty did so after succumbing to cancer. And there are many retired firefighters battling cancer who are not accounted for in these statistics.

Arthritis may be a disabling medical condition

Many people in Iowa struggle with some sort of arthritis. This condition is an inflammation of one or more joints that can cause extensive pain and stiffness. For some, this condition is nothing more than an annoyance. For others, though, arthritis can be debilitating. When arthritis is so severe that it affects an individual's ability to work, it may be time for that individual to consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.

To acquire SSD benefits for arthritis, an individual must present medical evidence demonstrating that they meet the government's definition of disabled. The first way an arthritis sufferer can qualify for these benefits is to satisfactorily show that they have consistent inflammation or deformity of at least one weight-bearing joint that affects their ability to walk. Benefits may also be awarded if the consistent inflammation or deformity affects a joint in the upper body to the extent that it makes it impossible to perform fine motor skills.

Construction accident leaves Iowa worker dead

Construction is a dangerous industry. Workers in this field are at risk of being struck by moving vehicles and falling objects. They themselves can fall from scaffolding or rooftops, and operating machinery can lead to repetitive motion injuries as well as pinching and crushing injuries. Some workers who are injured on the job are lucky enough to obtain a full recovery, but they still face financial hardship while they are out of work thanks to lost wages and medical expenses. While workers' compensation benefits may be available to these individuals, what about those surviving family members who lose a loved one in a workplace accident?

One Iowa family may have to explore whether they can recover workers' compensation death benefits after a fatal construction accident. The incident, which occurred in Cedar Rapids, involved a 47-year-old man who fell from a beam. He was found in an alley with serious injuries. Although he was rushed to the hospital, he later succumbed to his injuries.

Children's disability benefits include the PASS program

Many people in Iowa struggle with disabilities. While many of these individuals are adults who struggle to find a way to make ends meet because they are no longer able to work, some disabled people are children. These individuals, just like their adult counterparts, may be able to qualify for disability benefits. Since these benefits can provide long-term financial relief, it is critical to understand how to obtain and keep them.

Yet, even children who qualify for these benefits may wish to find gainful employment sometime in the future. Multiple government programs exist to help these individuals ease into the workforce without facing financial difficulties due to halted benefits. The Plan to Achieve Self-Support, often referred to as the PASS program, for example, allows an individual to set money aside to further a work-related goal.

Common reasons for workers’ comp denials

If you work in the construction industry in Des Moines, you know that you have a dangerous job. You probably even know a least a few people who have suffered both minor and severe work injuries.

While you might have avoided a workplace accident so far, it is impossible to predict what will happen on the job tomorrow or the next day. You could fall off a ladder or scaffolding, be electrocuted by a faulty power tool, or a coworker might drop something from the floor above that hits you in the head.

Timing issues related to workers' compensation claims

Pursuing a workers' compensation claim in Iowa may seem straightforward on its face. It may appear that an injured worker merely needs to show that he or she was hurt on the job and cannot currently perform his or her job duties. While this may be an accurate portrayal of the big picture of a workers' compensation claim, the matter is fraught with details that can lead to legal complications. Therefore, those who have been injured in a workplace accident need to make sure they have a full understanding of the claims process before proceeding with a claim.

One of the many important aspects of a workers' compensation claim is timing. To start, an injured worker must notify his or her employer of the harm within 90 days of learning that an injury was caused while performing work-related duties, or within 90 days of when he or she should have learned that an injury was caused while performing work-related duties. Of course, there can be different opinions as to when an individual should have learned of an injury and its relationship to his or her work, so this matter is often ripe for legal argument. Those who fail to adhere to this provision will likely see their claims denied.

Our legal team knows how to competently pursue SSD benefits

An unexpected injury or illness can strike an Iowan at any given moment. Although some people are able to anticipate the financial predicament they will find themselves in when an existing medical condition worsens, others are taken by surprise. Individuals in both situations can find themselves struggling to make ends meet, particularly when these medical conditions make it impossible for an individual to work.

As worrisome as this situation can be, Iowans should take comfort in knowing that they may be able to receive compensation through the Social Security disability system. Benefits are not guaranteed, though, because before benefits are awarded individuals must prove that they meet certain federal requirements. These requirements pertain to the applicant's work history, the symptoms posed by the medical condition in question and the impact that condition has on one's ability to work. Because any one of these elements can be drawn into question, those pursuing a Social Security disability claim should consider seeking legal assistance from a skilled legal professional like those at Schott Mauss & Associates.

Social Security disability benefits for chronic heart failure

Many people in Iowa and across the nation find themselves experiencing chest pain, which can be a symptom of many medical conditions. Some of these ailments are minor in nature, such as a pulled back muscle, while others are much more serious, like a heart attack or some sort of heart disease. For those in the latter group, their diagnosis and prognosis, in conjunction with the seriousness of their symptoms, may leave them unable to work. This can be problematic for a number of reasons, but most obviously it disallows them from paying for their needed medical treatment and prevents them from paying their day-to-day living expenses.

Fortunately, those who find themselves in this situation may be able to seek Social Security disability benefits. However, to do so they must prove that they meet certain federal requirements. To see an example, we'll take a look at chronic heart failure, a medical condition that affects a fair number of Iowans.

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Des Moines, IA 50324

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