National Institute of Health Reports Millions of Americans Suffer Pain Every Day

According to a recent finding based on research conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2012, it is estimated that 25.3 million Americans suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis.  Additionally, those who suffered from such severe pain were more likely to have worse health, use health care more and suffer from more disability than those who did not experience severe pain.

The survey was conducted on a sample set of 8,781 adults and asked participants to answer questions concerning the frequency and intensity of pain that was experienced in the prior three months.  The results of the survey also found that many of those who experienced chronic pain turned to other health approaches such as yoga, massage, and meditation.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must be able to prove that your pain is so severe that it physically or mentally impairs you.  This is determined through medical evidence that includes documented symptoms and lab tests.  Additionally, to qualify, it must be proven that the condition is expected to last twelve months or more.  Although chronic pain is not a condition in and of itself to qualify a person for SSDI, such pain may be caused by another qualifying condition.

To read more about the NIH survey, click here.

If you suffer from pain so severe that you cannot work, and have medical evidence attesting to your condition, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Insurance.  Contact an attorney who is experienced in helping clients obtain the benefits they deserve.  Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866)557-7500.

New Regulation Would Protect Workers Exposed to Beryllium

OSHA has recently proposed a new regulation that would help protect workers who are exposed to beryllium.  The chemical, which is released through dust, fumes, mist and in other forms, can cause a fatal respiratory disease in those who are exposed.  Annually, 35,000 workers are exposed to the chemical and 245 new cases of illnesses related to beryllium exposure arise each year.  Such illnesses include lung cancer and chronic beryllium disease- a condition causing inflammation and scarring of the lungs.  Officials estimate that implementing new regulations would prevent 100 deaths and 50 new illness cases annually.

The new regulation would lower the allowed exposure limit from 2.0 to .2 micrograms per cubic meter of air- 1/10th the current level.  The maximum amount of exposure time legally allowed is currently 8 hours.  Additionally, workers would be medically monitored to assess whether they exhibited early signs of beryllium related illness.

Beryllium, a naturally occurring element, is commonly found in the aerospace and electronics industries.  Additionally, it is also used in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.  In fact, the Labor Department compensated 2,500 nuclear workers who were exposed to beryllium at a total cost of $500 million, to date.  The chemical can also be found in dental lab work and foundry operations.  The proposed regulation would not apply to those who work in an industry in which beryllium is found in raw materials, such as at coal burning power plants, or aluminum producing facilities.

The proposed rule is open for public comment between August 7, 2015 and November 9, 2015.  To read the proposed rule, click here.

Exposure to beryllium, or any other toxic chemical in the workplace can cause serious health conditions.  If you have suffered adverse health effects from being subjected to exposure to a dangerous substance or condition at work, contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies.  Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866) 557-7500.

Three New Bills Aimed at Improving SSDI Program

Two senators have recently introduced legislation that is aimed at improving the quality of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. As it is expected that the reserve fund will be depleted by next year, the purpose of these bills is to ensure that funds are being used legitimately. A 20% cut is currently scheduled for next year which would adversely affect the 11 million Americans rely on SSDI. If passed, the proposed legislation could positively reform the current state of the program.

The intent of the Promoting Opportunity for Disability Benefit Applicants Act grants the Social Security Administration the power to provide those who were denied SSDI benefits with information on other support services. As the application process typically takes 100 or more days, workers are forced to wait for a decision regarding benefits when they could be re-entering the workforce. The goal of the Act is to ultimately help workers successfully re-enter the workforce and avoid the application process cycle.

Another bill introduced, The Improving the Quality of Disability Decisions Act of 2015, requires the Social Security Administration to review decisions made by Administrative Law judges in order to guarantee that they are complying with the law, as well as SSA’s policies. While the bill does not have a direct effect on spending, it does ensure uniformity in the consistency and quality of decisions that are made.

The third bill, The Disability Fraud Reduction and Unethical Deception (FRAUD) Prevention Act, imposes monetary penalties on those who attempt to defraud social security. The bill expands upon Social Security’s ability to protect the taxpayer’s money by exposing and punishing fraudulent activity. In addition to increasing the monetary penalty of a misstatement to $7,500, those who defraud could also incur a felony conviction and a sentence of ten years in prison.

Especially considering the pending legislation, if you are unable to work due to illness, mental or physical disability, contact an attorney who is experienced in obtaining Social Security benefits for their clients. Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866)557-7500.

VA May Expand Benefits to Camp LeJeune Veterans and their Families

The VA is considering the expansion of the 2012 Act passed by the Obama Administration that grants benefits to veterans and their families who lived at Camp LeJeune for at least thirty days between 1953 and 1987.  Although the current Act covers 15 diseases that could result from exposure to water toxins at the base, the expansion would establish “presumptive status” for those who were exposed.  This means that veterans and their families would be able to more easily receive benefits because it will be presumed that certain illnesses are the result of the exposed veterans’ military service.

Service members and their families who lived at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to a number of toxins as a result of well water tainted by industrial chemicals.  The water was discovered to have contained cancer-causing toxins in the 1980’s, leading to a shut down of the wells.

Despite many veterans seeking benefits for diseases linked to their service at the base, the VA continued to deny such claims until 2012 when the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act was passed to provide veterans with benefits for illnesses linked to Camp LeJeune.  The Act was spurred by the tragic death of a 9 year old who was born on the base and succumbed to a rare form of cancer.

Currently, illnesses covered under the 2012 Act include esophageal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, renal toxicity, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, miscarriage, scleroderma, neurobehavioral effects, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The VA will reimburse veterans and their family members for out of pocket medical expenses related to treatments of those conditions.  For more information regarding Camp LeJeune benefits, click here.

If you have suffered a workplace injury or have incurred a disability connected to your military service, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights.  Call the disability and Workers’ Compensation attorneys at The law McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP at (866)557-7500.