Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MYTH #2: The Employer’s Role Ends Once the Workers’ Comp Claim Is Paid

Once an injured employee’s workers comp claim is paid, the employer’s most important role begins. The employer should maintain frequent contact with the employee to monitor their healing progress. By doing so, the employer will be able to gauge when the injured employee will be able to begin the return to work program.
According to the 2009 RIMS Benchmark Survey, 86% of companies have a return to work program. However, many small to mid-sized companies lack efficient programs that enable recovering employees to return to work in a limited, but productive role. Most smaller companies feel that setting up a return to work program will require too much effort for the few injuries that occur each year. This is simply not true.
Return to work programs reduce the number of lost work days for just about every employee involved. By doing so, it accomplishes two goals. First, it reduces the company’s future increases in workers’ comp or disability insurance since such policies pay out large claims for lost wages. Therefore, by reducing lost wages, claims will drop, which will reduce premiums.
Second, return to work programs are directly correlated to productivity benefits. On average, individuals receiving disability benefits are paid between 50% and 70% of their normal wage. By bringing employees back to work at 100% pay, the company is only paying 50% to 30% more while benefitting from 40 productive hours each workweek.
It is in the best interest of the employer to keep close contact with the injured employee during their recovery phase. Using a return to work program not only makes sense from a financial standpoint, but it’s the right thing to do. It enhances the employee’s recovery both physically and psychologically.
Original Source
Contact Neil O'Toole and John Sbarbaro
Phone: 303-595-4777
Located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

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Any content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only.It is not intended to solicit business, provide legal advice from The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. and does not serve as a medium for an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. is not responsible for the information on this blog which may not apply to every reader. Always seek professional counsel if you have any legal matters. Contents within the blog of The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C., logos and other related media are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Definition of Permanently and Totally Disabled - Workers Comp Tips and Info

Definition of Permanently and Totally Disabled
From the archives of the Law of Office O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C.


Under applicable law, a claimant is permanently and totally disabled if she is “unable to earn any wages in the same or other employment.”  Section 8-40-201(16.5)(a), C.R.S., 2005; Christie v. Coors Transportation Co., 933 P.2d 1330 (Colo. 1997); Lobb v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office, 948 P.2d 115 (Colo. App. 1997).  The determination of whether the claimant is capable of earning wages is a factual determination to be made by the ALJ based upon consideration of a number of “human factors.”  Christie v. Coors Transportation Co., supra.  These factors include the claimant’s physical condition, mental ability, age, employment history, education, and the “availability of work” the claimant can perform.  Weld County School District RE-12 v. Bymer, 955 P.2d 550 (Colo. 1998).

Contact Neil O'Toole and John Sbarbaro
Phone: 303-595-4777
Located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

Disclaimer 


Any content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only.It is not intended to solicit business, provide legal advice from The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. and does not serve as a medium for an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. is not responsible for the information on this blog which may not apply to every reader. Always seek professional counsel if you have any legal matters. Contents within the blog of The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C., logos and other related media are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Self Administration Toolkit for WCMSAs

On April 11, 2014 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services added a Self Administration Toolkit for Workers' Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements to its CMS.gov website. It can be viewed here.

The resource is designed to aid workers' compensation claimants in the self administration of their MSA accounts with the proper establishment of, and expenditures from, their WCMSA account. It describes self administration guidelines and procedures including the need to establish an interest bearing account for the funds and explains the payment of medical bills using MSA funds to reimburse providers and annual accounting requirements. It includes form letters to be provided to medical providers and sample transition records for MSA expenditures. Additionally, it explains circumstances where an MSA is temporarily and/or permanently depleted based on lump sum or annuity funding.  Read more...  

Original source by Gould & Lamb 

Contact Neil O'Toole and John Sbarbaro
Phone: 303-595-4777
Located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

Disclaimer 

Any content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only.It is not intended to solicit business, provide legal advice from The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. and does not serve as a medium for an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. is not responsible for the information on this blog which may not apply to every reader. Always seek professional counsel if you have any legal matters. Contents within the blog of The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C., logos and other related media are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

Why "efficiency" and "productivity" really mean more profits for corporations and less sanity for you.









Want more rage? We've got 12 charts that show how the superrich spoil it for the rest of us.
In the past 20 years, the US economy has grown nearly 60 percent. This huge increase in productivity is partly due to automation, the internet, and other improvements in efficiency. But it's also the result of Americans working harder—often without a big boost to their bottom lines. Oh, and meanwhile, corporate profits are up 20 percent. (Also read ouressay on the great speedup and harrowing first-person tales of overwork.)

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR GAINS

Productivity has surged, but income and wages have stagnated for most Americans. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000.

GROWTH IS BACK...

...BUT JOBS AREN'T

SORRY, NOT HIRING

The sectors that have contributed the most to the country's overall economic growth have lagged when it comes to creating jobs.

THE WAGE FREEZE

Increase in real value of the minimum wage since 1990: 21%
Increase in cost of living since 1990: 67%
One year's earnings at the minimum wage:$15,080
Income required for a single worker to have real economic security: $30,000

WORKING 9 TO 7

For Americans as a whole, the length of a typical workweek hasn't changed much in years. But for many middle-class workers, job obligations are creeping into free time and family time. For low-income workers, hours have declined due to a shrinking job market, causing underemployment.

LABOR PAINS

Median yearly earnings of:
Union workers: $47,684
Non-union workers: $37,284

DUDE, WHERE'S MY JOB?

More and more, US multinationals are laying off workers at home and hiring overseas.

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

The US is part of a very small club of nations that don't require...

DIGITAL OVERTIME

A survey of employed email users finds:
22% are expected to respond to work email when they're not at work.
50% check work email on the weekends.
46% check work email on sick days.
34% check work email while on vacation.

THE SECOND SHIFT

Working moms pick up more child care and household duties than working dads—about 80 minutes more every day. Meanwhile, dads enjoy nearly 50 more minutes of watching TV and other leisure activities on a daily basis.

CHORE WARS

Thanks, guys—you're pitching in more than twice as much as you did in the '70s. But women still get stuck with the majority of work around the house.

















Sources
GDP/jobs: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; Stephen Gordon, Universit√© Laval
50 hoursCenter for American Progress (PDF)
Second shiftBureau of Labor Statistics (PDF)
Contact Neil O'Toole and John Sbarbaro
Phone: 303-595-4777
Located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

Disclaimer 

Any content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only.It is not intended to solicit business, provide legal advice from The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. and does not serve as a medium for an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. is not responsible for the information on this blog which may not apply to every reader. Always seek professional counsel if you have any legal matters. Contents within the blog of The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C., logos and other related media are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

5 Things You should know about social security

Know your Social Security

For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income. Yet future retirees could find themselves on shaky ground. The Social Security Board of Trustees, in its latest annual report, estimated that the retirement program would only be able to pay out 77 percent of scheduled benefits starting in 2033.
You can't control how the government might fix that problem. But you can educate yourself about Social Security to ensure that you claim the maximum amount of benefits to which you are entitled. Here are ten essentials you need to know.
It's an age thing

Your age when you collect Social Security has a big impact on the amount of money you ultimately get from the program. The key age to know is your full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. You can collect Social Security as soon as you turn 62, but taking benefits before full retirement age results in a permanent reduction of as much as 25 percent of your benefit.
Besides avoiding a haircut, waiting until full retirement age to take benefits can open up a variety of claiming strategies for married couples. (More on those strategies later.) Age also comes into play with kids: Minor children of Social Security beneficiaries can be eligible for a benefit. Children up to age 18, or up to age 19 if they are full-time students who haven't graduated from high school, and disabled children older than 18 may be able to receive up to half of a parent's Social Security benefit.
How benefits are factored

To be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must earn at least 40 "credits." You can earn up to four credits a year, so it takes ten years of work to qualify for Social Security. In 2014, you must earn $1,200 to get one Social Security work credit and $4,800 to get the maximum four credits for the year.
Your benefit is based on the 35 years in which you earned the most money. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at zero. You can increase your benefit by replacing those zero years, say, by working longer, even if it's just part-time. But don't worry -- no low-earning year will replace a higher-earning year. The benefit isn't based on 35 consecutive years of work, but the highest-earning 35 years. So if you decide to phase into retirement by going part-time, you won't affect your benefit at all if you have 35 years of higher earnings. But if you make more money, your benefit will be adjusted upward, even if you are still working while taking your benefit.
There is a maximum benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2014, the maximum monthly benefit is $2,642. You can estimate your own benefit by using Social Security's online Retirement Estimator.
COLA isn't just a soft drink

One of the most attractive features of Social Security benefits is that every year the government adjusts the benefit for inflation. Known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, this inflation protection can help you keep up with rising living expenses during retirement. The COLA, which is automatic, is quite valuable; buying inflation protection on a private annuity can cost a pretty penny.
Because the COLA is calculated based on changes in a federal consumer price index, the size of the COLA depends largely on broad inflation levels determined by the government. For example, in 2009, beneficiaries received a generous COLA of 5.8 percent. But retirees learned a hard lesson in 2010 and 2011, when prices stagnated as a result of the recession. There was no COLA in either of those years. For 2012, the COLA came back at 3.6 percent; for 2013, the COLA was 1.7 percent, and for 2014, it is 1.5 percent. The COLA for the following year is announced in October.
The extra benefit of being a spouse

Marriage brings couples an advantage when it comes to Social Security. Namely, one spouse can take what's called a spousal benefit, worth up to 50 percent of the other spouse's benefit. Put simply, if your benefit is worth $2,000 but your spouse's is only worth $500, your spouse can switch to a spousal benefit worth $1,000 -- bringing in $500 more in income per month.
The calculation changes, however, if benefits are claimed before full retirement age. If you claim your spousal benefit before your full retirement age, you won't get the full 50 percent. If you take your own benefit early and then later switch to a spousal benefit, your spousal benefit will still be reduced.
Note that you cannot apply for a spousal benefit until your spouse has applied for his or her own benefit.

Original Source

Contact Neil O'Toole and John Sbarbaro
Phone: 303-595-4777
Located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

Disclaimer 

Any content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only.It is not intended to solicit business, provide legal advice from The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. and does not serve as a medium for an attorney-client relationship. Therefore, The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. is not responsible for the information on this blog which may not apply to every reader. Always seek professional counsel if you have any legal matters. Contents within the blog of The Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C., logos and other related media are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.


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