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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  • Workers' Compensation

    • How do I know if I am covered by workers' compensation?

      New York workers' compensation law is very broadly defined. Nearly every employee in a for-profit enterprise is covered. Additionally, the law covers county and municipal employees engaged in a hazardous occupation, public school teachers outside of New York City, state employees, and certain domestic workers and farm workers. Unless the law specifically excludes your industry or occupation, you are very likely covered. If you are unsure about coverage on your job, contact our office for a confidential consultation with an experienced New York workers' compensation lawyer.

    • What is a Section 32 Agreement, and how do I know if I need one?

      A Section 32 Agreement is a waiver agreement between you and your company's workers' comp insurance carrier. If you negotiate a Section 32 Agreement, you agree to settle your claim in exchange for a lump sum cash payment, and you waive your rights to pursue the claim further. Once a Section 32 Agreement is negotiated and approved by the Workers' Compensation Board, your case is closed and cannot be reopened.

      You should discuss the pros and cons of a Section 32 Agreement with your attorney before you sign one. For instance, a Section 32 wavier may not be good for you if you might need further treatment or therapy down the road, but it might be in your best interests if you have a permanent partial disability, due to the cap on how long you can collect benefits. A Section 32 waiver agreement is a complicated legal document, and you should definitely have legal advice and representation in negotiating, drafting or reviewing one.

    • Can I receive any benefits while my claim is being appealed?

      If you are seeking review of an unfavorable decision, the carrier does not have to pay benefits during the review process. If your award is being appealed by the employer or workers' comp carrier, then you should receive medical payments and wage benefits during the appeal. If only a portion of your award is being contested, the uncontested portion will continue to be paid to you during any appeals or review process.

    • Do workers' compensation benefits make up for the wages I miss while I cannot work?

      Along with reimbursement for your medical expenses, wage replacement is a big part of your worker's compensation benefits. Exactly how much of your lost wages can be made up by workers' compensation depends upon a number of factors, including the date on which you were injured, the severity of the disability, and the terms of any negotiated agreement you may be covered under. In most cases, benefits are determined by a statutory formula that multiplies two-thirds of your average weekly wage by your disability percentage rating, up to a maximum amount. Some employees, depending upon their contract, are able to receive 60% of their wages for up to nine months as part of a Supplemental Pay Program, or up to six months of full wage replacement.

  • Social Security Disability

    • How is disability defined by Social Security?

      The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses its own definition of disability, which may be different than disability as used by New York workers' compensation or NYS retirement systems. The SSA definition requires that you have a physical or mental condition (or both) that makes you unable to work or "perform substantial gainful activity." In addition, the SSA definition of disability requires that you have a medical condition that is expected to last for a year or more or eventually result in death.

      The SSA uses a multi-step process to determine if you are disabled. You can find more information on this process by following a link on our Resources page.

    • How Does Social Security figure out what my disability benefits are?

      Benefits are determined based upon your age and your work history, including how long you have worked and how long it has been since you last worked. Benefits are based in part on how many "work credits" you have accumulated. Your monthly disability benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings, but the SSA uses several different formulas to arrive at the precise benefit amount. Workers' compensation or other payments that you receive can also affect the amount of SSD you can get.

    • What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?
      SSI (Supplementary Security Income) is a needs-based program that pays monthly benefits to people who qualify due to low income. SSDI is the program which pays benefits for people who cannot work due to a disability. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance.
    • Can I collect Social Security Disability while I am temporarily disabled from working?

      SSDI is only intended to pay for people who are permanently disabled. If you are only temporarily disabled, your best bet for benefits are workers' compensation if your injury is job-related or a civil claim/lawsuit if your injury was caused by another's negligence or misconduct. We can help you determine your possible sources of compensation and represent you in any area.

    • I'm not sure if I can go back to work. Will I lose my Disability benefits if I apply for a job, even if it doesn't work out?
      Under Social Security rules, you can return to work for a trial period while still receiving disability benefits. If it turns out that you can work, you will stop receiving disability, but if you find you cannot work, then your benefits will not be terminated just because you returned to work for a trial period. See an attorney for the specific rules before you try to return to work.
    • Are there any disability benefits available to a widow or widower?

      There are Survivor's Benefits which may be available based upon your spouse's earnings record. In addition, if you are 50 years old or older and become disabled within seven years of the death of a spouse who qualified for Social Security, then you may be eligible for Disability benefits.

Still Have Questions? View More of Attorney Peter M. Answers to Common Questions

What Makes Us Different

  • Respected in the Legal Field

    Not only does Peter M. Cordovano have a profound respect for the legal profession, he has earned an esteemed reputation for his tireless dedication to Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability clients.

  • Valuable Medical Insight
    Attorney Peter M. Cordovano has a solid grasp of the medical issues involved in his clients' cases and can effectively engage with medical providers and insurance company representatives.
  • Thousands of Clients Helped
    Over the years, our firm has had the pleasure of helping more than 1,500 clients navigate complex Social Security Disability and Worker's Compensation cases.
  • Over 35 Years of Experience
    Since 1987, Attorney Peter M. Cordovano has fought for distressed clients who need capable case management and calm reassurance.

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Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation Today

For your legal matters in the mid-Hudson Valley, from benefits claims denials, count on Peter M. Cordovano, P.C. to meet your needs. Call today at (845) 262-4957 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation. My office is conveniently located on US Route 9W, just north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, near the NYS Thruway Exit 18 in New Paltz. We service the Hudson Valley, including Poughkeepsie, Arlington, and Kingston NY.

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