Painting a better picture for injured Denver workers

Jul 29 2015

Earlier this year, a commercial painter working for an Aurora company found that he was made sick by the noxious fumes from the paints he used. He was experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath and sore throats, so he asked his supervisor for a respirator mask. According to the Colorado Independent, she not only refused to give him a mask to protect him from the fumes, she fired him for complaining. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to provide at no cost safety equipment to employees. The goal is to prevent injury and illness to workers requiring medical treatments,…

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Financial implications of disability

Jul 21 2015

Disability is always unwelcome, but it also often unexpected, too. It catches many people unaware that they were ever in danger of becoming disabled. That means many workers are financially and emotionally unprepared for a sudden, drastic change in their financial situations and health. The U.S. Census Bureau survey of Americans With Disabilities found that in 2010, the median income for adults with disabilities was about 30 percent less than for those ages 21 to 64 without disabilities. For those without disability insurance from work, and for those who could not afford it on their own, poverty quickly compounds financial…

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Colorado among best states in which to make a living

Jul 15 2015

Despite taking a bit of a tumble in the rankings, Colorado still remains in Forbes’ list of the top ten states in which to make a living. Last year we were number 4 on the list and this year we’re down slightly to number 7. The rankings were determined by analyzing a number of factors, including a state’s work safety data, including calculations of workplace illness, injuries and fatalities in the state. They also figured in each state’s average wages, tax rate, cost of living and unemployment rate. Colorado dropped to number 7, despite some good economic news. MoneyRates.com, which…

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SSDI advocates ready to fight to prevent any benefits cuts

Jul 10 2015

What do B’nai B’rith, the AFL-CIO, the NAACP, Easter Seals, the National Organization for Women and Vietnam Veterans of America have in common? Among other things, these diverse groups are all part of a coalition that has vowed to fight any attempts to cut Social Security disability benefits. As regular readers of our Denver SSDI blog know, we have written several times in the past about looming budget problems. According to analysts, a shortfall in funding anticipated by the end of next year will — if not resolved — mean a cut in disability benefits. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio…

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Colorado construction workers injured by lightning strike

Jul 01 2015

Five construction workers were injured — one of them critically — when lightning struck at a worksite about 70 miles due south of Denver in Colorado Springs. Three workers were hospitalized for treatment of their injuries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says construction workers are among those in jobs in which lightning strikes pose a frequent danger. Others include workers who do power utility repairs, farmers, heavy equipment operators, plumbers and those who do telecommunication line repair. More common injuries and illnesses experienced by Denver construction workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the following:…

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The 5 biggest hazards for hospital workers may surprise you

Jun 29 2015

If 2013 was any guide, around 58,000 hospital workers suffer job-related injuries or illnesses each year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that translates to a rate of 6.4 illnesses and injuries for every 100 full-time worker. That may not really surprise you when you consider the chaos of a busy emergency room, but the problem isn’t limited to emergency rooms — or even to hospitals. People who work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities face with one of the highest rates of illness and injury in the country, as well. Is it simply an unavoidable hazard…

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Can you get a retroactive, lump-sum SSD payment?

Jun 24 2015

There is no doubt that wading through Social Security Disability insurance benefits law, regulations, rules and forms can be a time-consuming, wearying process. USA Today does its bit to help people understand the process of applying for benefits and appealing SSD decisions with a column about Social Security disability and retirement. Someone recently wrote in asking for advice on how to get a retroactive, lump-sum payment. She believes she is due the payment because the Social Security Administration neglected to pay her for time between the onset of her disability and the time she began receiving SSD benefits. The USA…

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Substance abuse as basis for Social Security Disability claim

Jun 20 2015

“Clever” bumper stickers seem to appear everywhere: “I Have 99 Problems but Beer Ain’t One;” “Alcohol … because no great story starts with a salad;” “Drugs may lead to nowhere, but at least it is the scenic route.” For some, the bumper stickers are cause for a chuckle. For others, they cut a little close to home; a reminder that we, or someone close to us, might just have a problem with drug or alcohol use. For others, it is more than just an occasional problem. Chronic substance abuse undoubtedly interferes with functioning in daily life, it interferes with family,…

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Colorado workers’ comp insurance law enacted 100 years ago

Jun 11 2015

It was April 10, 1915, when Colorado enacted its very first workers’ compensation insurance law. The state legislature was in a generous mood that day, appropriating $23,000 to help injured workers get paid while they recovered. The State Compensation Insurance Fund was created that day; it later evolved into Pinnacol Assurance, the quasi-governmental insurer that serves more than half the businesses in the state. Gov. John Hickenlooper joined Pinnacol executives to mark the anniversary, noting that Colorado has the 11th-lowest workers’ comp insurance rate in the nation.   That low insurance rate obviously helps businesses keep more profits in their…

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Report skews perception of SSDI payment accuracy

Jun 09 2015

We’ll see if headline-writers have a field day with a new report out about Social Security. The possibilities could well be eye-catching: “The Social Security Administration overpaid beneficiaries $16.8 billion!” For those people who don’t read beyond headlines, those few words will indicate that another federal agency has run amok, wildly overspending and overpaying. The reality reflected in some Denver and national news accounts is more interesting: the Social Security Administration has a remarkable accuracy rate for an agency that pays benefits to 63 million retired Americans and disabled workers. From the SSA: “…approximately 99.8 percent of all Social Security…

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