Megabus crash on I-65 injures 35 and calls into question the common carrier’s standard of care

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 9:59 am    

Indianapolis, IN October 14, 2014: According to the Greenwood Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Harrell, 48 passengers were on board a double-decker Megabus bound for Chicago when it crashed at 4:30 a.m. on I-65 just south of the Greenwood exit.

Authorities indicate the Megabus driver was swerving to avoid an earlier collision when the accident happened. Sgt. Shawn O’Keefe, with the Indiana State Police, said “the [bus] driver apparently didn’t see it because of the rain or something and swerved to avoid it [going over the median].”

35 patients are being treated at Eskenazi and six people are in stable condition at IU Health Methodist Hospital. The bus was traveling from Atlanta and made stops in Chattanooga and Nashville. It was on its way to Indianapolis and the final destination was Chicago.

“Common carrier” vehicle accidents are becoming more prevalent in recent years. Common carrier refers to a business or entity that is responsible for transporting passengers, goods, and services from one location to another. According to Charles Hankey, injury attorney in Indianapolis, “common carriers owe a heightened duty of care to passengers. This means they must exercise a high level of care and exhibit caution when transporting passengers.”

“Our hearts go out to the injured victims,” said Hankey. “We are reminded of how important it is to adhere to safety standards in order to prevent these kinds of tragedies. We are wishing all involved a safe recovery.”

Retired New York City police busted for scamming SSDI

Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 2:07 pm    

A former police officer in New York City was nabbed by authorities on October 1 after being suspected of scamming Social Security Disability (SSD), an article on lohud.com reported.

Several charges, including theft of government property, were filed against James Carson after allegedly raking in over $300,000 in SSD benefits during the past 10 years while also holding a security director job. Carson, 50, retired in 1991 and reportedly began to receive disability benefits after claiming that he could no longer work because of a debilitating back injury. Carson also claimed that he could not walk without an aid of a cane. However, investigators found that Carson had been working for a watchmaker since 2004. Last month he was also found to be able carry on tasks like driving and walking without assistance. Carson may face 20 years of imprisonment if found guilty of the charges.

The lawyers of Hankey Law Office in Indiana believe that those suffering from real disabilities are very much entitled to receive their SSD benefits. Because many people have abused the disability program, getting a lawyer’s help is important to further strengthen your claim or appeal. Find out how we may legally assist you today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Report: Social Security disability fraud caused by obsolete records systems

Posted on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 12:26 pm    

A recent investigative report by an inspector general revealed that the Social Security disability benefits program is vulnerable to fraud due to its obsolete payment systems, The Washington Times reported on September 14.

In the report released on September 12, it was suggested that the disability program is susceptible to fraud because the agency still utilizes handwritten records that cannot be analyzed digitally. The report also accused the agency of not taking the issue of fraud seriously. Representative Sam Johnson (TX-Rep) stated that majority of disability frauds could be detected if the SSA utilized an automated analysis tool.

Although there are many cases of disability fraud, the attorneys at the Hankey Law Office know that many people depend on these wages when they suffer from a disability. If you are planning to apply or appeal for your Social Security disability benefits, it is important that you enlist a lawyer’s help to make sure your application is as complete and accurate as possible. Call our Indiana office today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may advocate for you.

Disabled worker waited three years to get SSDI benefits

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:43 am    

A disabled New York woman recently started receiving her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after three years of waiting, wivb.com reported on September 3.

Worker Kathy Nobilio reportedly filed for her SSDI benefits in 2011 after sustaining  debilitating neck and back injuries. Nobilio’s claim was heard by a Social Security judge as recently as February 2013 and only now received her first payment. Reports state that the procedure for procuring SSDI benefits in Buffalo is one of the longest in the U.S. Nobilio was worried that the wait would cost her everything, including her home. However, a new judge assigned to her case awarded her two years worth of retroactive benefits.

Unfortunately many disabled workers have to wait an unreasonable amount of time for them to receive their much needed SSDI benefits. In this difficult situation that you feel your claim is being ignored, a lawyer may work for you. Find out how the Indiana attorneys of Hankey Law Office may help you today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Epilepsy and the Family Medical Leave Act

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 10:29 am    

If you or a loved one suffers from epilepsy and is also employed, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may be able to help you overcome the challenges that you may face when working with a serious health condition. The FMLA was initially enacted to help working individuals deal with the stress and difficulty of balancing work and family life when health problems arise.

The FMLA applies to “qualified employees” of a “covered employer.” A covered employer is an employer in a private industry with 50 or more employees in the current or preceding year, and public agencies (including schools) with any number of employees. A qualified employee must meet the following requirements:

  • Employed by the employer for at least 12 months before the start of the FMLA leave;
  • Worked for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period immediately preceding the start of the FMLA leave; and
  • Worked at a site at which the employer has 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.

If an employee is qualified and they work for a covered employer, he or she is eligible to apply for FMLA leave. Under the FMLA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks per year of job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • They need to care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious medical condition, which is considered to be an illness, injury or condition, either physical or mental, that requires care in a medical center or ongoing medical care from a medical provider;
  • Need to take care of himself/herself due to developing a serious health condition; and/or
  • Need to care for a newborn child, or a child that was recently placed under the employee’s care through adoption.

One common misconception is how the FMLA leave must be used. The 12 weeks per year do not have to be used in one block of time. The 12 weeks may be taken intermittently, in increments of minutes, hours, days, or weeks. Intermittent leave is typically appropriate for someone suffering from epilepsy. Such an individual would need to be absent from work only when they suffered a seizure, during any recovery time, or for doctor visits. At all other times the individual could be present and working. The same can be said for an employee caring for a child, spouse, or parent suffering from epilepsy. If you believe you need to request FMLA leave, you should promptly contact your employer and request the appropriate documentation.

If you or a loved one suffers from such debilitating epilepsy that you cannot maintain employment, the FMLA leave has expired, or the FMLA eligibility requirements were not met, another avenue you should consider is signing up for Social Security Disability. The Social Security Administration has “Listings” related to epilepsy. A Listing for a particular condition contains detailed requirements that the Social Security Administration uses to assess whether a condition is disabling. If an individual’s condition meets the severity requirements outlined in the Listing, he or she should be found disabled. The exact listings for epilepsy are as follows:

  • Listing 11.02 covers Epilepsy (convulsive type, grand mal or psychomotor). This Listing requires documented detailed descriptions of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena, occurring more frequently than once a month, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment with: a) daytime episodes (loss of consciousness and convulsive seizures), or b) nocturnal episodes manifesting residuals which interfere significantly with activity during the day.
  • Listing 11.03 covers Epilepsy (non-convulsive type, petit mal, psychomotor, or focal). This Listing requires documented detailed descriptions of a typical seizure pattern, including all associated phenomena, occurring more frequently than once weekly, in spite of at least 3 months of prescribed treatment with: alteration of awareness or loss of consciousness and manifestations of unconventional behavior or significant interference with activity during the day.

Even if the requirements of the above Listings are not met, an individual suffering from epilepsy might still be disabled if he or she is unable to complete a normal workday or work week due to the symptoms of epilepsy, symptoms from other treatment, side effects of medications, etc. For example, if an individual’s side effects from medication cause them to be off-task frequently while at work, or if an individual’s 1 seizure episode per month required additional days of recovery, the individual could still be found disabled under Social Security Disability rules.

If at any point your FMLA leave is violated in some manner, or if you are denied Social Security Disability benefits you believe you are entitled to, we recommend you promptly speak to an attorney. Hopefully you will never need our services, but if you find yourself in such a situation, we would be happy to discuss these matters with you in a free consultation. Call the Indiana Social Security disability lawyers of the Hankey Law Office today at (317) 634-8565 to learn more.

Former NYPD officer pleaded guilty of scamming disability funds

Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 8:38 am    

Ex-NYPD police officer Joseph Esposito pleaded guilty to being part of scamming Social Security, an article of the New York Times reported on August 27.

The 70-year-old ex-cop is accused of being one of the masterminds of a large-scale scam that resulted to over $27 million in disability funds lost from the government. Esposito pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny in the Manhattan Supreme Court, under the terms of a cooperation agreement that he will testify against three other accused persons who had pleaded not guilty. Esposito’s sentence upon pleading guilty might result in seriously reduced penalties.

The lawyers of the Hankey Law Office understand that many disabled workers in Indiana deserve to get their disability benefits. Now, when the government is getting stricter in the application process due to massive scams, a lawyer can possibly help you strengthen your disability claims. Find out how we could assist you in the filing process today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Disability trust fund to exhaust in 2016

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 at 10:38 am    

According to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the disability trust fund will be depleted in 2016, although the financial condition of Medicare has strengthened, the Washington Examiner reported on July 28.

Public trustee Charles Blahous said the disability program is heavily burdened as a result of increased rates of disability among baby boomers before retirement. In previous years, the Congress reportedly prevented the reduction of benefits. Though Medicare funds have strengthened due to slow increase of health care cost, trustees noted that the program should also be improved. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew stressed the need for immediate reform in the disability program to prevent future problems. Lew supported the idea of salvaging the disability program by getting funds from payroll tax.

The lawyers of the Hankey Law Office believe that many disabled Indiana residents should get their much needed Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits while funds are still available. If you are considering filing for disability benefits, call us today at (800) 520-3633 to find out how we may assist you along the process.

Understanding Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

Posted on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 3:17 pm    

When reviewing applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits the Social Security Administration evaluates applicants’ eligibility through numerous factors, like determining their SGA or “Substantial Gainful Activity.”

SGA determines the applicants’ capability to render an income through work by using their physical or mental abilities. Under SSDI, the SSA evaluates the working activities of applicants and beneficiaries. The SSA may find an applicant eligible for disability benefits if their SGA is poor, meaning they can cannot perform any work that can earn them income. However, the agency may deny a disabled applicant’s claim if he or she can earn a monthly income while being disabled.

The SSA also provides a “trial work period” for SSDI beneficiaries who wish to go back to their previous jobs where they could still get benefits and income from that job.

The Indiana lawyers of the Hankey Law Office believe that individuals who can no longer earn an income due to disability should be entitled to get help with their SSDI benefits. If you are a disabled worker in Indiana and you are not familiar with the application process, we may assist you. Discuss your situation with us today by calling (800) 520-3633 to find out how we can help you.

Social Security process for determining disability eligibility

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 11:52 am    

The Social Security Administration (SSA) utilizes strict guidelines to determine whether a disabled person filing for benefits can no longer do his or her job.

The SSA initially checks the work history of disabled individuals for the past 15 years, including the activities they may still be capable of to earn income. The SSA will need a full detailed account of applicants’ work tasks to determine how they performed their job before they became disabled. The SSA denies applications by individuals that can perform their jobs, even if they are disabled. If the SSA was convinced that the applicant’s disability hindered the person from doing his or her job, they would still attempt to determine if the individual could perform other jobs.

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a complex and time-consuming process if you are not familiar with the procedure. If you are a disabled worker applying for benefits in Indiana, the lawyers at the Hankey Law Office may work for you. Find out how our lawyers may assist you in the filing process today by calling (800) 520-3633.

Different parties represent different interests in workers’ compensation cases

Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 2:16 pm    

Anytime a workers’ compensation claim is filed, there are numerous different parties that play a role in handling that claim, all of which approach the issue with very different perspectives. As an injured worker, it is important for you and your attorney to understand these different perspectives and to act accordingly. To learn more, you can click here.