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The New York Disability Law Blog

Information and Help for Disabled Individuals with Workers' Compensation, Social Security Disability and Construction Accident Claims

Social Security Disability Attorney Henry Shapiro Lectures Students at St. John’s University School of Law

Posted in Firm News & Events, Social Security Disability

 

Social Security Disability Attorney Henry Shapiro recently lectured a group of law students at St. Johns University of School of Law in Jamaica, Queens on Social Security Disability. Mr. Shapiro spoke  about starting a career in the field of Social Security Disability Law and what it’s like working for Turley, Redmond, Rosasco &Rosasco. Although Mr. Shapiro touched on a variety of subject matters such as the administrative process, drafting appeals and legal memos, he also stressed why it is important to hire an attorney when fighting for Social Security Disability benefits and the major differences between a Social Security Disability Attorney and a Social Security Disability Advocate.

Getting Social Security Disability benefits is becoming harder than ever before to get a favorable decision without a lawyer. Mr. Shapiro says, “In an evolving climate where Administrative Law Judges are enlisting medical and vocational experts on the majority of their cases, it has become increasingly difficult for a claimant to obtain disability benefits without representation.  He adds, ” A skilled and experienced attorney can cross-examine and interrogate the experts and work to lay out the evidence in your case to develop a winning theory that will allow the Administrative Law Judge to approve your case on the merits.  The importance of having an attorney and bringing your ‘A’ game at the administrative hearing is magnified when reviewing the level of success at the Appeals Council for claimants denied at the hearing level.”

For the eager litigators and those looking to hone in on their interrogation skills, Mr. Shapiro shed some light on the structure of Administrative Law Judge hearings, which are generally known as a non-adversarial process, although that is changing as well. Mr. Shapiro stated, “Over the last year, the Social Security Disability program has been receiving publicity for the wrong reasons. Fraud perpetrated by a select number of physicians and claimants in an effort to obtain disability benefits has altered the disability culture that we have come to know. As a result, the Social Security Disability program has become the new whipping boy for Congressional debate.”

As a precaution going forward, many Administrative Law Judges are using resources that were previously far from common practice. While the Social Security Administration does not employ an attorney to represent its interests at the hearing, medical and vocational experts are growing in popularity as a tool to give judges evidence in the form of expert testimony that often times will result in medical or vocational findings contrary to what your treating physician indicates. Mr. Shapiro said, “The well-versed attorney will need to thoroughly review his or her file and evidence of record and develop a theory and strategy in anticipation of cross-examining the expert witnesses called by the Administrative Law Judge. The attorney must think on his or her feet, have the ability to conduct a direct examination of his or her client, as well as a cross-examination of potentially multiple expert witnesses, including physicians. The attorney must research and learn about various medical conditions so he or she can question a physician about something the physician has been practicing for decades – a difficult task but one that requires the preparation akin to that of a trial.”

Mr. Shapiro also cautions about using a ‘Social Security Disability Advocate’ rather than an attorney in Social Security Disability Claims. The Social Security Disability application process is a very delicate structure, involving claimants who are facing dire financial and medical straits and often are looking for legal assistance and someone who will listen. Turley, Redmond Rosasco & Rosasco has become known throughout New York as being a firm that does not practice as an assembly line.  Mr. Shapiro says, “The attorneys and paralegals take the time to answer all questions and a personal touch is provided throughout the application process. This is not the norm however, as many non-attorney advocacy groups have increased in size and enlist “advocates,” not attorneys, to handle the serious process of Administrative Law Judge hearings.”

The hearing will determine the outcome of your claim and have a major effect on your financial status because by the time of the hearing, a claimant has likely been out of work for well over one year. Advocates are sent to do whatever hearings are on the schedule that day, and do not have the ability or the knowledge of the Social Security laws and regulations to invest the same amount of time and file preparation into a claimant and his or her file when compared to an attorney.

Mr Shapiro explains, “It is becoming far too commonplace where claimants receive an ‘Unfavorable Decision’ from an Administrative Law Judge after appearing with an advocate and then call an attorney explaining that they did not even meet or speak with the advocate until the morning of the hearing, they were not prepared for their testimony and the Administrative Law Judge did not know everything about their medical condition and impairments.” He adds, “An advocate tends to be a hired gun rather than an attorney who invests time and effort into every file and helps guide you from the initial application through the administrative hearing. When your financial  future is on the line and you are forced to testify in front of an Administrative Law Judge, wouldn’t you want an attorney who practices law and specializes in Social Security and its programs rather than a non-attorney representative who just knows you as a name on a piece of paper?”

Should you have any questions about social security disability or need help with your claim, please feel free to call, click the chat button or contact us at the top of this page.

Bill Turley to Run 5K in support of Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk

Posted in Firm News & Events

Attorney Bill Turley runs for charity

 

On Saturday, May 10th, Senior Partner Bill Turley will be running the 14th Annual 5K Race/Walk Fun Run in support of the Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk (VNSHS). Bill started running back in High School as a member of the track team and has been an avid runner ever since. He runs every other day and has participated in many races over the years including the popular Cow Harbor Run in Northport.

This is Bill’s third time running in support of the VNSHS. He says, “I am by no means a championship runner. I usually wind up somewhere in the middle of the pack. For me it’s all about supporting this wonderful and caring organization. This year I am running in memory of my sister-in-law, Donna Andrews, who died of cancer in 2011.” Bill’s wife Elaine, who is an Elder Law and Estate Attorney, will also be participating and walking to lend her support to the organization.

The race begins at 9 a.m. and includes 1.6 miles of the historic Cow Harbor course. All proceeds of the race supports the VNSHS Annual Bereavement Retreat for Children. If you would like to show support or participate in the race go to www.visitingnurseservice.org.

Good luck Bill! All of us at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco are rooting for you in this great cause!

Workers’ Compensation Attorney Jaclyn Simmons to Speak at Suffolk Academy of Law

Posted in Firm News & Events, NY Workers Compensation Claims

Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco workers’ compensation Attorney Jaclyn Simmons will be presenting a lesson at the Suffolk Academy of Law on Tuesday, May 6th in Hauppauge.  The class program, “Workers’ Compensation for the Conscientious Practitioner,” is part of the academy’s spring continuing legal education curriculum. Ms. Simmons will be speaking about the financial penalties and liability exposure for uninsured employers.

The program will be helpful to other workers’ compensation attorneys, personal injury attorneys and those who represent employers.  Ms. Simmons says, “Employers are heavily fined for not carrying  workers’ compensation insurance when required. This lecture gives an overview of when it’s needed, when it’s not, and what to do if you are faced with a penalty.”

Jaclyn Simmons has been with Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco for 10 years and has given many lectures on workers’ compensation law throughout her career. To learn more about  our workers’ compensation department and other practice areas click here.

The class is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  If you would like to participate in the class, see  the SCBA website for tuition information.

 

Scaffold Law: The Argument Between Workers and Contractors Continue

Posted in Construction Accidents, Labor News, Uncategorized

The long debate over whether or not the Scaffold Law should be reformed or repealed continues. In short, contractors, property owners and insurers want it repealed because they feel it is antiquated and biased against them. Labor advocates want it to remain and continue to protect the safety of New York construction workers.

The Scaffold Law was enacted in New York back in 1885 to hold employers accountable in upholding safety measures for workers that were laboring at dangerous heights during the skyscraper boom. Over the years, there has been some lobbying in an attempt to repeal the law, but in recent months there has been a growing push from opposers to eradicate the Scaffold Law.

Contractors, property owners and insurers maintain that the Scaffold Law doesn’t hold workers responsible for their own safety if they are not following  proper precautions on the job. If a worker gets injured on a construction site due their their own unsafe work habits, contractors claim that the Scaffold Law still holds them accountable for the worker’s accident resulting in substantial payouts for lawsuit settlements.

Workers and advocates have been fighting back just as hard to keep it in place. Unions are standing firm about the Scaffold Law being a  necessary component to ensuring safety in the above ground construction workplace. Supporters of the law say that it forces contractors to adhere to safety rules and regulations.

Advocates also argue that if the Scaffold Law is repealed then property owners and contractors will fall short in ensuring safety for construction workers.  They also assert that this will put  minority and immigrant laborers in harm’s way.  The Scaffold Law protects both union and non-union workers. Minority and immigrant laborers are more inclined to work for non-union contractors and as a result, may not get the proper safety equipment and training needed. It’s not uncommon for immigrant laborers to fail in reporting unsafe working conditions for fear of being fired.

There has been some buzz about Governor Cuomo having a hand in possibly making changes to the law, but at this juncture it looks like the Scaffold Law will remain as is.

 
 
Angela Luongo, a Paralegal with Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco contributed to the writing of this post.

New Study Finds Low Back Pain Leading Cause of Disability

Posted in Construction Accidents, Health Info, Uncategorized

Low back pain

A new study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal reported that low back pain is a leading cause of disability not only in the United States, but worldwide. 1 out of every 10 people suffer from some type of low back pain. Out of 21 regions studied, the top regions for disability were Western Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The lowest numbers in disability from low back pain were in the areas of the Caribbean and Latin America. The study was conducted over a 6 year span and used data about back pain from other studies dating back as early as 1990.

Study author Damian Hoy from the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health in Australia says, “Low back pain is something that almost all people experience at some point in their lives.” He adds, “It is something common across sexes, age groups, countries, socioeconomic groups, education levels and occupation.”

The global study looked at 300 other disabling conditions compared to low back pain. Many different circumstances may lead to the risk of low back pain but some of the contributing factors may be higher than others. In the US,  a leading contributor  to those with low back pain had jobs that involved heavy lifting or were extremely stressful. It was also found that men as a group have a larger risk of developing low back pain than women.

Dr. Anders Cohen, Chief of Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York concurs with the findings. He says, “Back pain is the number one cause of lost work days in the U.S.”   The problem is expected to become more common as the world population ages. The author of the study notes that governments and  health services  need to pay more attention to the disability problems that low back pain causes.

 

Troy Rosasco Quoted In Newsday On Long-Term Disability Benefits

Posted in Firm News & Events, Long Term Disability / ERISA, Social Security Disability, Uncategorized

Disability Attorney Troy Rosasco

Recently, Attorney Troy Rosasco of the New York Disability Law Firm Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco, was asked to give his legal advice in Newsday’s  “Help Wanted” column.  The column, run by business reporter Carrie Mason-Draffen, is the “Dear Abby” of work-related issues.

One Reader wrote in to the column to ask whether or not it is legal for a long-term disability insurance company to reduce monthly payments to workers if they are also receiving social security benefits. In short, Mr. Rosasco’s answer was that unfortunately it is legal. His full explanation as to why it is legal can be read in the column here.

Over the years, Mr. Rosasco has been quoted in many other Newsday articles as well as numerous media periodicals about the disabled worker and disability law. He is a much sought after resource for his expert legal knowledge of social security disability, workers’ compensation and the 9/11 Zadroga Bill.

Craig Rosasco in Newsday on Farmingdale Village Trustee Election

Posted in Firm News & Events

Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco Partner Craig Rosasco is making his final push this weekend to win his election for Farmingdale Village Trustee.  See yesterday’s Newsday article about Craig Rosasco and the current Farmingdale Village Trustee incumbents.

Craig and his family will be out in force this weekend knocking on doors in the Village to hear what residents have to say.  Please remember to vote for Craig Rosasco as Farmingdale Village Trustee at Farmingdale Village Hall this Tuesday, March 18, 2014 on Row “B”.   Thanks.

Craig Rosasco Announces Run for Farmingdale Village Trustee – Vote March 18, 2014

Posted in Firm News & Events

Craig Rosasco, the Managing Partner of our firm’s Garden City office, has announced that he is running for Trustee in the Village of Farmingdale, Long Island, where he lives.  Craig is no stranger to Farmingdale and has been a “Daler” his entire life.  The election will take place on March 18, 2014 at Farmingdale Village Hall.

He has also launched a new website for his election at www.CraigRosascoDaler.com .  On the website, Craig says it is “Time for a New Start in Farmingdale” given the most recent difficulties that have faced the Village.   He also pledges to “keep taxes low and preserve the quality of life in Farmingdale Village”, while “facing the new challenges in the Village head on”.

Needless to say, all of us at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco, LLP  are proud of Craig and he will have the firm’s full support in this important race.  Like other partners in the firm who have held leadership positions in their communities, whether through Lions, Rotary Club or their churches, Craig’s community involvement is part of the firm’s strong belief in “giving back” to our neighbors.

Good luck, Craig!

How To Fill Your Prescription Under Workers’ Compensation

Posted in Medical Care and Prescriptions, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Uncategorized

If you have been injured on the job, you may require medication in order to heal and cope with pain. As you would expect, your medications will have to be filled by a pharmacy; but if you have filed for Workers’ Compensation  for your work-related injuries or illnesses, there are specific guidelines in which to have those prescriptions filled.

The following is a simple breakdown of the process in having your prescriptions filled by a pharmacy under Workers’ Compensation Law:

  • Filling Medications: You have a right to obtain medications that are needed for your work-related injury or illnesses under Workers’ Compensation Law. However, it is important to note that the law enables only insurance carriers and those who are self-insured to choose the pharmacies that you will be able to use in filling your prescription. In order for your prescription to be covered by the insurance carrier, you must use the designated pharmacy.
  • Insurance Carriers:  Under Workers’ Compensation Law insurers can choose the establishment in which your medications are to be filled. This includes pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies and pharmacy networks. Your insurance carrier will have to make you aware of the establishment they have chosen via written documentation. Under Workers’ Compensation Law, all insurance carriers are required to provide you with the name and location of the pharmacy. They must also disclose any other stipulations to having your medications filled. Insurance carriers are to assign a pharmacy that is in reasonable distance to you or that offer mail order service.
  • Insurance Carriers Controverts Claims: Under Workers’ Compensation Law, an insurance carrier or self-insured employer does not have to pay for your prescriptions or medical care if they have  contested the claim. Should your claim be recognized as work-related, then the carriers or self-insured employer will have to pay for medical treatment and medications.  In the event that your claim is controverted and the assigned pharmacy will not fill your prescriptions, you are able to use a pharmacy of your choice.
Attorney Bill Turley talks about reimbursement of medical expenses. 

  • Your Current Prescriptions:  Your insurance carrier cannot stop you from receiving the medications that you are currently taking. Under Workers’ Compensation Law, insurance carriers can only decide where your prescriptions will be filled, not what prescriptions you are allowed to take. If an insurance carrier denies payment for a specific drug your doctor has prescribed for your work-related illness or injury, then the Workers’ Compensation Board will make a decision in the dispute.
  • Reimbursement of Prescription Costs: There is no set time frame for which your carrier has to reimburse you for the cost of your prescriptions. However, under Workers’ Compensation Law, the carrier does have to pay any undisputed portion of any claim within 45 days of receipt, unless a claim is disputed. If a claim is disputed, the insurance carrier must still pay any undisputed portion of the claim within 45 days. They must also notify you that the claim is not being paid and the reason why.

Should you need more information about prescriptions under Workers’ Compensation Law or assistance in filing your Workers’ Compensation claim, contact us toll-free at 1-877- NY-DBLAW for a free claim evaluation.

$21.4 Million Alleged Social Security Disability Fraud by Lawyer and Retired Police in New York

Posted in Disability Pensions, Labor News, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Social Security Disability, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims

Today is a terribly sad day for all disabled retired New York police officers with integrity who have legitimate psychological disabilities related to their heroic service during and after the 9/11 tragedy. As reported in the NY Times and other media outlets across the globe, one lawyer and certain police  “facilitators” have allegedly been engaged in this disability scam since 1988 (one year before I graduated from law school)!

It is also a sad day for the overwhelming majority of New York Disability lawyers with integrity. The lawyer who allegedly orchestrated the decade’s long scam, Raymond LaVallee, was a person I never met despite being a Social Security disability lawyer myself for over 22 years.  I never saw him at local or national Social Security Bar Association events or seminars.  Like many such alleged fraudsters, he appears to have slithered in the isolated murky waters that often accompany those who live to scam – rather than live to serve.

This is still a breaking story and I will have much more to say about this shameful scheme in the coming days on this blog.  For now, I will head out to teach my first class tonight of “Protective Legislation for Workers” at St. John’s University School of Law.  As you can see from the attached syllabus, Protective Legislation for Workers – Spring 2014, I will be teaching law students about representing clients vigorously, but ethically, in Social Security disability claims, while sadly acknowledging the relatively few bad apples in our midst who tarnish all our reputations.