No one really wants to look into the future and see an onset of differences that can make life difficult. But the reality is many of us will one day have to deal with long-term disability. One quarter of all 20-year-olds today will become disabled before they retire, the Social Security Administration says.In a recent article, Time magazine urges consumers to be aware of the odds of disabilty, but not to be frightened by statistics into overpaying for long-term disability insurance.
Another state has joined the ranks in support of the injured and disabled. A doctor in a northern state had filed a long-term disability benefits claim stating that he was not able to work because of severe pain in his back. The insurance company denied his claim, so he appealed his case in federal court. His appeal was denied based on a discretionary clause in the insurance company's policy that required judges to review cases not on the merits of the claim, but on whether that denial met that insurance carrier's own standards. In Wisconsin and other states across the country, discretionary clauses like this one are still allowed, although it appears that this is changing rapidly.
When someone's long-term disability benefits claim is denied in Wisconsin, it may be important to seek legal counsel to determine whether the insurer is making a mistake or even acting in bad faith. Long-term disability insurance is a safety net so that workers will have a source of income should they become disabled prior to retiring, but unfortunately, it can be very difficult to obtain benefits.
Some people here in Milwaukee may have heard the news last week that the number of unemployed people with disabilities has recently surged upward. The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 2 percent more disabled people sought unemployment benefits in January 2013 compared to January 2012.
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.
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.
May is American Stroke Month, and we are taking this opportunity to offer some basic information about one of the most common reasons for long-term disability claims. So far, we have reviewed the types of stroke and talked a little about the physical and cognitive damage a stroke can inflict. During recovery, patients can also experience emotional ups and downs, because the stroke has damaged the part of the brain that controls emotions and, at times, behavior.
The actress Patricia Neal is one of the most famous stroke survivors. Having won an Academy Award and a Tony Award, Neal was at the height of her career when she inexplicably suffered a series of strokes. The physical and emotional toll of her illness and recovery prevented her from performing, from making a living for years after.
Stroke is not just a geriatric issue. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, about 28 percent of the people in this state who have a stroke are under 65. While strokes are often fatal, a good number of people survive a stroke -- a good number of working people, in fact, because stroke is one of the most common causes of long-term disability.
We are picking up our discussion from earlier this month of a U.S. Supreme Court case that provoked some strong feelings for commentators. As we explained in our April 5 post, the case was brought by a man whose HIV status became public knowledge at the hands of the federal government.