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Floridians Don’t Need to Be Confused about Vocational Rehabilitation Rights

Posted on Friday, November 14, 2014
Blog, Workers' Compensation

Disabled Floridians with some form of assistance that are willing and able to work, have certain vocational rehabilitation rights afforded to them under state and federal law. On a state level, those rights are spelled out in Social Welfare Statute 413.30. A person’s federal level rights, on the other hand, are clearly listed in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504. In general, they collectively ensure that every reasonable effort is made to provide eligible individuals with the assistance that they need to obtain and maintain gainful employment.

In Florida, disabled individuals looking to enter the workforce generally start by making contact with one of two state run agencies. They are the Division of Blind Services and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Once contact is made, individuals have the right to confidentiality and may appeal any decisions made by the agencies that they feel are unjust. They also have the right to request mediation services and question what they believe to be discriminatory practices on the behalf of those involved in the vocational rehabilitation process.

Each organization also affords applicants and program participants with additional rights. For example, Floridians who make contact with the state’s Division of Blind Services are entitled to receive an official response regarding their program eligibility within a set period of time. In the case that the individual is denied services, he or she also has the right to know why. Furthermore, individuals put on the state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s waiting list have a right to know what category they’ve been placed in. The category determines what position the applicant holds in line.

Clearly, understanding one’s vocational rehabilitation rights and the rules that impact a person’s path towards gainful employment may prove challenging for some. That’s where we can help. At DDB Law Attorneys at Law, we offer free case evaluations to Floridians who feel that their vocational rehabilitation rights have been infringed upon. To learn more, please contact us at our Lakeland location today.

Florida Bill HB 271 Regarding Company Workers’ Comp Penalties Heads to Governor

Posted on Thursday, May 1, 2014
Blog, Workers' Compensation

A bill that makes it easier for companies who don’t have enough workers’ comp to continue operating unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday, April 30, and was off to the governor’s office to be signed into law. According to an article from The Florida Current, construction companies and other businesses who are issued a stop-work order by the state for not carrying enough workers’ comp insurance will be able, under the new law, to pay a $1,000 down payment on their fine and agree to a payment plan. The stop-work order will then be released.

Additionally, the time that businesses have to respond to requests for records by the Department of Financial Services will be increased from five days to ten days. Under the new law, investigators will now have two years to review a company’s workers’ compensation records. Previously, the time limit was three years. The multiplier for determining a business’ fine will be increased from 1.5 to 2, the article stated.

If you’re injured at work, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that can help cover the cost of your medical bills and provide support to you while you are injured and unable to work. Although your employer is required to carry sufficient insurance to cover you, getting the amount of money that you’re due is often a complex issue. In addition to the employer not having the adequate amount of coverage, employees filing workers’ compensation claims often run into other problems with their employer, such as employers who don’t file the claims in a timely manner or give misinformation to the insurance carrier. Additional problems can be encountered when dealing with insurance carriers who don’t want to pay the full amount due.

A skilled attorney can level the playing field and help you to receive the maximum amount of benefits that you can receive. DDB Law puts decades of experience on your side. For more information on how we can help you with your workers’ comp claim, contact us today.

AFLAC Survey: Offering Voluntary Accident and Disability Insurance Can Decrease Workers’ Compensation Claims

Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014
Blog, Workers' Compensation

In a new survey recently released by AFLAC, “The Alfac Workers’ Compensation Report,” researchers found that 42 percent of all companies that offer access to voluntary accident and disability insurance reported that their workers’ compensation claims had declined. These are significant findings for American employers, who shelled out more than $77 billion for workers’ compensation payouts in 2011.

What is Voluntary Insurance?

Voluntary insurance consists of insurance products that are offered to employees at a discounted rate than what they could qualify for on their own. Voluntary disability insurance, for example, can help offset any income lost if an employee can no longer work due to sickness or injury (neither of which must be occupationally-related). Additionally, there are no restrictions with respect to what the money may be used for.

Survey Findings

The survey was conducted on behalf of Aflac by Lieberman Research Worldwide.The firm asked six hundred employers from companies of all sizes whether they offered voluntary disability, and if so, whether they had experienced a drop in workers’ compensation claims. Overall, the results were encouraging. Fifty-five percent of large companies (those defined as having 500+ employees) reported declines in their workers’ compensation claims. Thirty-four percent of small companies (3-99 employees) and medium companies (100-499 employees) reported declines.

Ultimately, the survey’s results offer solid evidence for the industry-wide anecdotal belief that offering voluntary disability and accident insurance correlates to a decline in workers’ compensation claims. According to Aflac vice president Tye Elliot, these findings “demonstrate that by making voluntary accident and disability insurance available to employees, companies can often decrease the frequency and expense of their workers’ compensation claims.” Employers will now have to consider the value of spending a little more on insurance against the potential costs of a workers’ comp payout.

If your employer doesn’t offer voluntary accident and disability insurance and you experience a work-related injury, contact an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate and assess your claim.

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