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

Des Moines Disability And Injury Legal Blog

Social Security disability benefits and Down syndrome

For most expectant parents, having a healthy baby is the most important outcome of their pregnancy. As a result, many of these parents take steps to better ensure their children are born without illness or injury. Yet, despite these efforts, some Iowa children are born with serious medical conditions. These conditions can limit the emotional, intellectual, or physical abilities of a child. Making matters worse is the fact that it can be costly to treat these medical conditions, which, in turn, can threaten a family's financial viability. Fortunately, Supplemental Security Income may be available to some of these children and their families.

One common medical condition that may qualify an individual for SSI benefits is Down syndrome. While it is easier for a child with non-Mosaic Down syndrome to qualify for SSI benefits due to the intellectual and neurological limitations that often accompany this condition, those with Mosaic Down syndrome may also qualify. Those in the latter group must simply provide more medical evidence to demonstrate how the condition affects the child's ability to live a normal life.

5 common causes of construction accidents, injuries

Working in the construction industry puts you at risk of many types of injuries. Even minor injuries can cause pain and discomfort, while hindering your ability to do your job in the future.

Here are five of the most common causes of construction accidents and injuries. With this knowledge, you can take steps to enhance your safety on the job site.

  • Falling objects: If anyone is working at height, there's always a risk that an object will fall to the ground below. This could strike you with great force, thus causing injuries ranging from a concussion to broken bones. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of what's happening above you, while also wearing the appropriate safety gear.
  • Falls: Falls are among the most common types of construction site injuries. These can occur on the ground or at height.
  • Equipment accidents: There is no shortage of equipment on construction sites. From power tools to vehicles, every piece of equipment can help in a variety of ways. However, every piece of equipment can also cause injury if not used in a safe and appropriate manner.
  • Vehicle accidents: For example, you may be staffed with the responsibility of operating a forklift or Bobcat. And even if you're not, you may work in close proximity to moving vehicles. When a vehicle is in motion on a construction site, the risk of an accident is much greater.
  • Repetitive stress injuries: These injuries don't occur immediately, but instead set in over the course of several months or years. For instance, construction workers who regularly lift heavy items may develop issues with their hands, wrists, elbows, knees and/or shoulders.

Animal processing workers susceptible to workplace injuries

It almost goes without saying that the agricultural industry is at the heart of Iowa's economy. Politicians and other public figures often praise Iowa's farmers, shedding light on the important work they perform. Yet, something that is kept more in the dark is the danger that is often seen by those who work in this industry.

Take, for example, those who work in animal slaughtering and processing. These individuals typically work on processing lines where knives, hooks, and saws move at a high rate of speed. While this type of work can result in repetitive motion injuries, it can also lead to amputations and death. In fact, between 2015 and 2018, one worker every other day became so injured that they required hospitalization. Additionally, nearly 10 people in this profession die each year due to work related injuries and illnesses. These statistics are staggering, but they don't even take into account workers who suffer comparatively minor, albeit life-altering, injuries that prevent them from working.

Workers' compensation being withheld? Bad faith may be to blame

Individuals who work in Iowa shouldn't have to fear for their financial stability in the event of a workplace injury. After all, most employers are required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance. This means that those who are hurt while performing their job duties should be able to secure workers' compensation benefits in a timely fashion to help offset their lost wages and medical expenses.

Yet, far too often insurance companies delay paying out on valid claims. For many injured workers, these delays can be financially devastating. They may be put at risk of losing their home and vehicles, and their medical bills may wind up in collections. It may even be challenging for these workers to put food on the table. Some are even forced to turn to high interest loans to make ends meet, which, in turn, can initiate a debt spiral that is difficult to escape from.

A few tips to help secure Social Security disability benefits

As unbelievable as it may sound, approximately 25% of our country's population reports suffering from some sort of disability. That equates to about 61 million people, many of whom are struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis. For those whose medical condition is expected to last for at least a year or result in death, financial assistance may be available through Social Security. Many people believe that obtaining these benefits is as simple as filling out an application, but it isn't quite that simple. Therefore, we're going to discuss a few tips that may help disabled individuals secure the SSD benefits they need.

To start, given the medical detail that the Social Security Administration requires when making a claim determination, it is critical to be thorough when discussing one's medical condition. Must of us don't understand the ins and outs of our medical conditions, which can make it hard to be clear when describing them. Therefore, those pursuing an SSD claim may benefit from having their physician assist them in completing the claim. These medical professionals can be very specific about a condition's current state and its prognosis.

Farm accidents can justify workers' compensation claims

Accidents can happen at any kind of workplace, but some professions and workplaces are more dangerous than others. Many people in Iowa's agricultural industry work around heavy equipment and potentially hazardous chemicals every day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the agricultural industry employed more than 2 million workers in 2017. Each year, hundreds of these workers are killed while performing their job duties. Accidents related to transportation, which includes overturned tractors, are the biggest cause of fatalities in this line of work. Those who lose a loved one in a farm accident can suffer tremendously, and they are often left with the financial realities that accompany unexpected medical and funeral expenses, as well as lost wages.

On-the-job head injuries can end careers

Suffering an injury at work can cause many complications, both for the injured worker and for those who rely on them. This is particularly true when a worker suffers a head injury, which can cause many symptoms that impact their professional and personal lives. Unfortunately, head injuries do not always cause pain or other obvious symptoms when the injury occurs, and the symptoms may not arise for days or weeks.

If you recently suffered a head injury on the job, your employer may discourage you from seeking workers' compensation, or the insurer providing coverage may attempt to dismiss your claim. Head injuries can impact workers in many ways and deserve direct medical treatment just like any other injury. Be sure to build a strong workers' compensation claim to keep your rights in Iowa protected while you work toward a full recovery from your injury.

SSD benefits for those with Parkinsonian syndrome

Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition can deliver a severe emotional blow. As these individuals struggle to cope with the reality of their conditions and seek ways to plan for their futures, they may also find it challenging to work. When their injury or illness leaves them unable to work and their condition is expected to last for a significant period of time or result in death, then they may be deemed disabled by the government, meaning that they might be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The government assesses every condition differently for SSD benefits purposes, though, which is why Iowans need to understand exactly how they can qualify for benefits under their particular medical situation.

Parkinsonian syndrome, which derives from Parkinson's disease, is recognized by the Social Security Administration as a disabling condition. Before it can be deemed as such, though, a claimant for SSD benefits must prove that he or she meets certain requirements. To start, the individual must have sought treatment for at least three consecutive months. If, despite that treatment, the individual still suffers form impaired motor function in at least two extremities that causes extreme limitations, then he or she may be deemed disabled. This is often evidenced by showing challenges related to standing, balancing and using one's arms.

Initial workers' compensation claims require diligence

No profession in Iowa is safe from workplace dangers. Some jobs, of course, pose more threats than others, but even those who normally work behind a desk can end up suffering on-the-job injuries. The harm caused in a workplace accident can run the spectrum of severity, too. Some individuals are able to return to work quickly, thereby incurring minimal losses. Others, though, face harm that is debilitating or fatal. Regardless of the circumstances, workers' compensation benefits may be available to help these individuals secure the financial resources they need to acquire appropriate medical treatment and recoup their lost wages.

Most people who are injured on the job need compensation quickly. They oftentimes are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and sudden unexpected medical bills can upend their financial stability. Unfortunately, initial workers' compensation benefits are sometimes denied. There are a number of reasons why a claim may be denied, including insufficient evidence demonstrating that the injuries in questions were caused or exacerbated while performing one's job duties.

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.

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Schott Mauss & Associates
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Des Moines, IA 50324

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