For the past 10 years, the armed forces have had to learn, the hard way, how to deal with increasingly complicated injuries and disabilities. A Wisconsin Air Force base recently hosted a conference about a new system, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, that could very well serve as a model for private sector long-term disability initiatives.
The U.S. House of Representatives has hammered another nail in the coffin of the CLASS Act. A House subcommittee recently voted to repeal the law that the Obama administration had hoped would provide financial relief for seniors and people with long-term disabilities. The committee member from Wisconsin voted against repeal.
The new general trend in long-term disability benefits and short-term disability benefits is that employers are asking employees to shoulder more of the cost burden. Not only are employees being asked to pay more disability coverage, the length of coverage for short-term disability is shrinking and the wait for long-term disability to start is growing longer. Workers in Wisconsin may have experienced this new trend during the current enrollment for 2012 benefits.
Many workers in Wisconsin come to rely on their long-term disability benefits at some point in their working lives. Under some long-term disability benefit plans, the ability of workers to receive continued benefits may be reviewed after treatment. One doctor who became addicted to a potent painkiller initially lost her long-term disability benefits after she completed treatment for drug abuse. Fortunately, a federal court ruled in favor of returning her benefits.
Today more employers are trimming long-term disability benefits and at the same time pushing the costs of long-term disability coverage to employees. The sea change in how the cost of long-term disability benefits coverage may go unrecognized by many employees because a number of employers in the past covered the whole cost of long-term disability and because many employees focus more on healthcare coverage. Employees should be sure to review their long-term and short-term disability benefits.
In a long-term disability (LTD) benefits case, the district court has discretion to grant an award of prejudgment interest. Prejudgment interest has become a familiar remedy widely recognized by federal courts as a means to make a plaintiff whole against a malingering. The reason for adding interest to the award of LTD benefits is that money has a time value, and prejudgment interest is therefore necessary in the ordinary case to compensate a plaintiff ERISA for a loss suffered on a certain date but not compensated until later. Moreover, prejudgment interest is a well-established remedy for LTD claimants. Interest is not recovered according to a rigid theory of compensation for money withheld, but is given in response to considerations of fairness, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A long-term disability benefits case involving a former professor from the University of Missouri System will go back to the trial court level after three appellate court judges overruled the initial decision regarding the case.
Today many office jobs are generally considered sedentary and sometimes that classification can make it hard for an injured or disabled worker to gain long-term disability benefits. It turns out that some jobs believed to be sedentary are more active than generally believed. A federal judge recently restored the long-term disability benefits of an attorney whose insurance company labeled his position sedentary and ceased his benefits.
Many workers today do not envision experiencing a long-term disability or even a short-term disability before they retire. The workplace reality is that one out of four employees in Wisconsin and in the United States will be disabled before retirement. Disability insurance and the ability to earn an income are extremely important issues since the average worker's largest asset is their ability to earn an income. Once disabled, the likelihood of returning to your previous position is greatly declined.
Workers who suffer from back pain in Wisconsin and across the United States may want to seek out their local massage therapist based on the results of a new study. The new study shows that massage therapy reduces lower back pain and therefore prevents incidents of related long-term disability and income loss.