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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Mental disorders can qualify you for Social Security disability

May 27 2015

Because May is Mental Health Awareness month, we are going to look at some of the mental disorders that can qualify a worker for SSDI (Social Security disability insurance) benefits. As you know, SSDI is for people who are prevented by an illness or injury from working. Among the qualifying illnesses are mental disorders. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says it evaluates the disorders in three main ways: examining the documentation of the diagnosable disorder; considering the degree to which the condition might limit a person’s ability to work; and considering how long the condition might be expected to last….

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How do eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSD benefits differ?

May 20 2015

There are many requirements a person must meet in order to qualify for either SSDI or SSI benefits through Social Security. When residents of Colorado become disabled, they may be able to receive benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program or the Supplemental Security Income program. To ensure they apply for the right program, it is a good idea that potential disability benefit recipients make sure they understand the eligibility requirements for each. Social Security Disability Insurance The SSDI program is the standard disability program through Social Security and applies to people between the ages of 18 to 65…

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What do you live for?

May 19 2015

For some people, life would not be complete without the soaring, intricate agony of Italian opera. For others, a Colorado Rockies ballgame or a Denver Broncos rivalry battle is what it’s all about. Still others love old movies, new books or travel to exotic places. We all have things that we live for; the passions that propel us forward in life. The National Safety Council encourages everyone to join thousands of organizations next month in promoting safety at work, in play and on the road so that we can all enjoy our passions with our loved ones. Though June is…

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Colorado employees get small legislative victory

May 12 2015

Some of our readers might remember a joint announcement some years ago by the Colorado Department of Labor and the U.S. Labor Department. The two teamed up to say they stood together against the misclassification of employees. As you know, the misclassification of employees — often done in the construction business — is many times a ruse designed to lower costs for the employer at the expense of workers who are injured on the job. Because the workers are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees, they can be ruled ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits by the state. The executive…

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It’s time to raise ALS awareness

May 05 2015

The Denver chapters of the ALS Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association want everyone to know that May is ALS Awareness Month. Both organizations are devoted to raising awareness of how amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, affects people. The disease of the nervous system has a devastating effect on voluntary muscle control. That’s why the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the disease on its Compassionate Allowances list. The listed conditions are severe ones that trigger rapid claims and benefits responses from the SSA. The SSA says on its website that ALS “is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal…

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Oil business: Big money, big risks

Apr 30 2015

It’s common knowledge that oil is big business here in Denver. A number of energy companies have offices in tall, gleaming buildings downtown. And a number of those companies have workers with calloused hands and sweat-stained shirts working on rigs not far from those gleaming offices. As the group Conservation Colorado made clear earlier this year with its maps showing oil and gas leases being sold in Aurora and throughout Arapahoe County, more drilling operations could be here in the near future. There’s no doubt that the oil business is lucrative — it accounts for more than $80 million per…

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Simple form is start of complex process

Apr 24 2015

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of Workers’ Compensation has a pretty simple form with a pretty innocuous name: Notice of Contest. Denver Broncos’ fans might hope that the form relates to a match-up against the Patriots, but unfortunately, it is the form sent to workers’ compensation claimants when an insurer or employer has decided to dispute (contest) your claim. The form has some basic information: your name, Social Security number, workers’ comp claim number and the like. The section that will immediately draw your attention is the one in which it says your “claim is contested/denied for…

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