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June 2012 Archives

SSA adds to compassionate allowances list for disability claims

Government benefits will be easier to obtain later this summer for certain disabling medical conditions. Starting in August, Social Security will add more than 50 compassionate allowances to its fast-track processing system.

Workers lose in Supreme Court overtime case

As the U.S. Supreme Court's session comes to a close, it feels as if decisions are released at breakneck speed. With so many rulings handed down each day -- and with one major opinion held until the last hour -- it can be easy to overlook one or two. The court's opinion in a Fair Labor Standards Act case earlier this month could easily be overlooked. However, the decision will affect an untold number of employees and will change the employment law landscape in every state.

May I collect unemployment if I quit because I'm moving?

Whether you may collect unemployment insurance depends on the reason for your move. In most situations, when you voluntarily remove yourself from the workforce, you may not collect benefits. However, if you quit your job to accompany your spouse to a new city where she has received a new offer of employment, you typically may collect unemployment benefits in Wisconsin. The only other stipulation in that law provides that you be prepared to demonstrate to the unemployment division that it would be impractical for you to continue commuting to your old job after your move. What is impractical or practical is subject to interpretation, and may depend on your rate of pay, your job or line of work, the number of hours you work, and of course, the distance of your new commute.

ADA does not extend to medical marijuana use

Wisconsin has not entered the medical marijuana fray, yet, but lawmakers here may want to take note of a recent development. A federal appeals court has declined to rule that the use of medical marijuana by severely disabled persons was protected by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The law protects disabled people in Wisconsin and throughout the nation against discrimination in employment, public accommodations, government programs and other important areas.

Picture this: Olympus settles whistle-blower case with former CEO

article-new_ehow_images_a04_r9_t2_definition-telephoto-lens-800x800.jpgThere may be irony in Olympus Corp.'s recent announcement, but about 3,000 workers may not see it. The company announced earlier this month that they have reached a multimillion dollar settlement with the former chief executive officer; soon after that came the announcement that Olympus will be eliminating almost 3,000 jobs. The executive claimed he lost his job in retaliation for blowing the whistle on the company's illegal accounting practices.

Recent court decision shows importance of disability insurance

A recent court decision from another state makes a few important points that Wisconsin workers can benefit from. The plaintiff in the case suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, a medical condition we discussed in our June 2 post. Unable to work, the plaintiff filed for and received long-term disability insurance benefits.

Music sharing service CEO claims retailer breached job contract

Both companies and employees are bound by the contents of a signed job agreement. The elements of the contract can sometimes extend past a worker's last date of employment, if the parties agree to certain provisions in a severance package. An employment contract remains in effect until the provisions are satisfied.

Retirement age changes; need for disability insurance does not (p2)

Most baby boomers will not have the retirement their parents had. To borrow a term from the headlines, the 99 percent of us who make an average wage and save an average amount for our "golden years" have watched our savings dwindle with the stock market over the past couple of years. Chances are good that we'll be in the workforce for a few years after our official retirement age.

Appealing an unfavorable Social Security disability decision to the Appeals Council

The process by which Social Security disability benefits are secured can be long and frustrating, requiring several levels of appeals. With a significant number of claims denied at the initial and reconsideration level, the best opportunity for an award of benefits is at Hearing Level before an Administrative Law Judges.

Retirement age changes; need for disability insurance does not

When the recession hit and the stock market plummeted, more than a few workers watched their savings disappear. Hard-earned retirement funds dropped in value by as much as half. For younger workers, the result was a change in investment strategy. For older workers, though, the result was a change in retirement plans: They would stay in their jobs for as long as possible if only to maintain their benefits.

Dog tired, people with chronic fatigue syndrome have no answers

For some time now, researchers have been looking for clues to what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. Without knowing what's behind it, the medical community can't treat the disorder. The disorder is very real, though, especially to the 25 percent of sufferers that are unemployed or receiving disability benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a family with a wage earner suffering from CFS loses $20,000 every year in earnings. Every year, the CDC says, the U.S. suffers $9 billion of lost productivity because of CFS.

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