Legal Question in Workers Comp in North Carolina

Collecting WC and SSD payment...

I am currenting receiving the maximum weekly WC benefit and have been since Oct 2005 following an unsuccessful neck surgery. I had a double fusion and now suffer from Chronic Pain and nerve damage. I have not been released and my treating Pain Management Dr has eluded that I may never be able to return to active employment in the same field, and perhaps not at all. My question is: Am I eligible for SSD? If so, do I need to speak to my Dr. before filing?

Question #2: If I have settled with WC and am approved for SSD, can I receive ANY other money from working a small job such as sitting for children in my home?

Thank you all for the time you devote to this board.

Regards

Asked on 10/17/06, 1:52 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

George Lennon Lennon, Camak & Bertics, PLLC
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Re: Collecting WC and SSD payment...

It is always a good idea to get the medical opinion in writing before filing. You may be eligible for SSD if disabled from ALL work. WC just requires disability from pre-injury work - at least initially. Do not settle your wc case without putting SS "offset" language in the agreement. Never settle a permanent total disability case without having an attorney involved. You're walking through a minefield.

Good luck.

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10/17/06, 5:26 pm
Judy Tseng Wake Law Office
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Re: Collecting WC and SSD payment...

SSD eligibility depends not only on whether you have enough work credits to qualify, but also if you cannot do ANY substantial gainful activity. You are not required to talk to your dr. about it before filing, but it would be extremely helpful if your doctor will back you up. www.ssa.gov has a lot of helpful information and a link to help you find the Social Security office closest to you. The answer to #2 is probably- there are limits that change periodically as to how much you can earn each month and still be eligible to get SSD benefits. As the other attorney said, you should not settle your workers' comp case without an attorney's advice because the way the settlement agreement is worded will affect your SSD payments, even if you're not yet getting SSD at the time. Again, you should consult an attorney about your specific situation. If you need a referral, email me and tell me what town you're in. Best wishes.

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10/17/06, 6:06 pm
Stephen Camak Lennon, Camak & Bertics, PLLC
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Re: Collecting WC and SSD payment...

1. You are eligible for both WC and SSDI, but will likely be unable to collect full SSDI benefits unless and until you settle your wc case with the right settlement language. The SSDI process takes forever, so go ahead and apply. Should try to get some written support from a doctor that you are incapable of performing any competitve work 5 days a week, 8 hours per day. We have a form to give to the physicians in our office.

2. If you medically improve and are physically able, AFTER your wc case is settled, and AFTER you have started to receive SSDI, you can earn up to about $850.00 per month and still legally receive SSDI benefits.

Go to ncdisability.com for links to NC Industrial Commission and Social Security Admin. Good luck!

S. Neal Camak

Attorney at Law

Raleigh, NC

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10/22/06, 3:50 pm

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