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Rockford Illinois Workers' Compensation Law Blog

New Illinois law helps workers with latent illness from asbestos

On May 17, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed SB 1596, a bill that gives employees who developed work-related diseases that did not manifest until 25 years had passed from exposure to asbestos or radiation the right to file a civil lawsuit against their employers for the harm.

If such an illness develops before 25 years from exposure have passed, the worker must file for workers' compensation benefits because that is the exclusive remedy.

Bill would provide financial relief to terminal SSDI claimants

When a disabled person's application for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is approved, there is a five-month wait period before monthly cash benefits begin. This time can be difficult financially for those waiting for payments to start because their regular income was likely interrupted by their disabling conditions.

Most tragically, for those claimants with terminal illnesses, there is a risk of passing away during the five-month waiting period without seeing a dime of benefits, which has happened.

How can you prevent workplace sprains, strains and tears?

No one wants to get hurt. This is especially true if the injury would lead to time away from work. So how can you prevent the injuries that are most likely to keep you away?

In Rockford, manufacturing employs nearly one-third of all workers, so it's worth noting that the most common injuries in the manufacturing industry are sprains, strains and tears. That's according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reports that the injuries led to a median of 10 days away from work, so it pays to avoid them--literally.

SSDI claim may be successful even with alcohol or drug use

It is important to know that a drug or alcohol addiction should not prevent you from applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, known as SSDI and SSI, respectively. The existence of drug addiction and alcoholism, or DAA -- the official term the Social Security Administration uses -- triggers a particular analysis of your disability claim.

SSA says limited English ability not relevant to ability to work

The Social Security Administration, or SSA, proposed a change in February to its Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income regulations that would remove limited English proficiency, called LEP, from consideration as a factor impacting whether older people with severe medical impairments and other restrictions can work.

Could you be fired for filing a workers' comp claim?

If you are injured at work, you deserve compensation. However, it can be intimidating to tell that to a "too-big-to-fail" company. They may try to make you feel like you are replaceable, or that they might retaliate if you claim your injury was their fault.

Under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, it is illegal for an employer to fire you solely because you filed a workers' compensation claim; this would be considered an act of retaliation. It is, however, up to the individual employee to prove that it was a purposeful retaliation.

What jobs have the highest risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Most people use their hands so much at work, the idea of not using them is like not breathing. Most jobs involve so much pressing, grabbing, twisting, pushing and pulling that we don't give our hands a second thought until something forces us to think about them.

Carpal tunnel can force you to think about how much you use your hands at work. It's marked by burning, numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers, and it can even move up into the forearm. The pain and discomfort can interfere with your ability to work, and people commonly apply for workers' compensation as they try to recover.

Concussions: The invisible workplace injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with a concussion every year. Concussions, also known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), can have long-lasting effects on a person's job performance and their long-term mental health.

Safety and the prevention of injuries still present daily obstacles for many people in the workplace. If you work in the service industry or a blue-collar industrial job, you could also be at risk of suffering a concussion via a slip-and-fall, falling object or motor vehicle accident.

Social Security's five-step process to assess disability

When an injured or ill claimant applies for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income based on disability, the Social Security Administration or SSA in most cases uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine whether the person is disabled under federal law.

Could the SSA be changing its criteria for assessing pain?

Applying for disability benefits through Social Security can be a complicated, stressful process. It can be even more complicated for people with conditions that are not immediately identifiable as disabling.

Chronic pain sufferers often fit into this category, as chronic pain is subjective and all but impossible to measure. Therefore, many people with chronic pain have a difficult time securing disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration is examining solutions that could make this process easier.

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