Workers Compensation Newsletters
Social Security Disability Benefits Evaluation for Disabled Widows and Widowers and Surviving Divorced Spouses
Social security disability is open to disabled widows and widowers as well as surviving divorced spouses of wage earners who died fully insured under the terms of the Social Security Act. Determining the eligibility of these individuals is a complex matter and requires the consideration of a multitude of factors.
When an employee is injured in the course of his employment and thereby entitled to bring a cause of action against a third party, the right to pursue such action can be assigned to the employer or its workers’ compensation carrier. The key to assignment in many jurisdictions is the actual payment of workers’ compensation, while other states require a “claim” for compensation. Once the requisite criterion is satisfied, the employer is subrogated to all the rights of the employee.
The provision for medical benefits is a substantial component of workers’ compensation. Many states consider palliative measures to be included under the umbrella of “medical benefits.” Basically, palliative measures are those extended to the employee for pain and discomfort when there is no hope for recovery. The language of each state’s statute is central to whether palliative measures are covered. For example, when a state authorizes medical benefits for the cure and recovery of the injured employee, many courts will consider “recovery” separate from “cure.” Thus, the door is opened for palliative measures despite the lack of curability in the employee’s condition.
When an employee undertakes an activity that is outside his regular or established duties, the question arises whether an injury resulting from such activity was incurred during the course of his employment. Though compensation is not altogether likely when the act benefits the employee, there are instances where it is possible for an employee to recover workers’ compensation benefits. With respect to self-improvement activities, courts have allowed compensation where the employee was injured while attempting to register for a vocational class. The decision hinged on the fact that the vocational education was called for in the contract for hire. Additionally, an employee required by his union to take educational courses, which were paid for by the employer, was allowed compensation.
The “odd-lot” doctrine is an avenue by which a worker may be found to be totally disabled based on unemployability rather than just the degree to which he is injured. It provides that, although a worker is not completely unable to work, his condition is such that he will not be regularly employed in any reasonably stable area of the labor market. The hallmark of placement in the “odd-lot” category is a job prospect that is irregular and unpredictable.