Federal Workplace Laws are Failing Injured Employees

Federal Workplace Laws are Failing Injured Employees

Construction Workers

Kevin Schiller is one of millions of workers who don’t have state-regulated workers’ compensation to turn to when they are injured at work.

After more than 20 years on the job as a building engineer for Macy’s department stores, Schiller’s career unexpectedly ended when a mannequin fell on him from the top of a 12-foot high shelf, causing him to hit his head first into a shelf and then into the concrete floor.

Five years later, he is still struggling with memory loss, persistent headaches, disorientation, and extreme sensitivity to loud sound and bright light. He has hardly been able to work since the accident, and now describes himself as “next to poverty.”

Kevin is one of many employees left out of the workers’ compensation system who has been failed by federal workplace law, and many more may join him if more states choose to opt out of state workers’ compensation laws.

While states considering this option argue that state laws result in costly litigation, delays in treatment, and expensive long-term benefits, the truth is that it makes it easier for companies to cut and deny benefits and limit appeals of their decisions.

Proponents of state opt-outs contend that the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) still protects injured workers. Schiller, however, said that he was unable to get valuable help by going this route, claiming that the people he spoke with and the doctors he saw doubted the legitimacy of his accident and injury.

Then, in legal filings, Macy’s even claimed that the accident never happened, or was staged, and cut off all benefits for lost pay and medical care. This devastating loss caused him to lose his house and truck.

Schiller spent $90,000 out of pocket to visit specialists, who concluded that he suffered from a traumatic brain injury. He has been declared disabled by a Social Security judge.

In mandatory arbitration, he was awarded only $713,000 to pay for his lifetime care. “Thank God for Social Security Disability,” he says, but the truth is that Mr. Schiller did not receive any justice at all in this case. Instead of protecting workers, as ERISA was originally intended to do, it has turned into a shield for employers operating their own plans.

To read more on Mr. Schiller’s story, please click here.

How Can Social Security Disability Help When Workplace Protections Fail?

When workplace protections fail, Social Security Disability (SSD) can be an important source of financial support for injured workers. SSD provides a monthly benefit to disabled individuals who have paid into the system in the form of payroll taxes, making it easier for people like Mr. Schiller to continue supporting themselves when they cannot work due to their injuries. The amount of money received will vary depending on the individual’s past earnings.

Additionally, SSD benefits can help injured workers pay for medical care and other needs. For instance, Schiller was able to use his monthly disability payments to cover living expenses and medical costs not covered by his workers’ compensation settlement.

In addition to providing monthly benefits, Social Security Disability also provides access to Medicare coverage for those who qualify. This coverage can help cover the costs of necessary medical treatments and medications.

Can You get Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation at the Same Time?

Yes, it is possible to receive both Social Security Disability (SSD) and workers’ compensation benefits at the same time. Depending on the individual’s situation, they may be able to receive money from both sources of income.

In most cases, an injured worker can receive up to 80% of their current wages from workers’ comp while also collecting SSD. The amount of money they are able to collect from each source of income will depend on their individual circumstances.

Additionally, when an injured worker receives both SSD and workers’ comp benefits, the Social Security Administration may reduce the amount of SSD benefits they receive based on how much money is received from workers’ comp. This process is known as a “wage offset.”

What Steps Can Injured Workers Take to Ensure They Receive Fair Compensation?

Injured workers should take steps to ensure that they are properly compensated for their injuries. The first step is to seek legal advice from an attorney who specializes in workplace law. An experienced lawyer can help maximize the chances of a successful outcome and make sure that injured employees receive the compensation they deserve.

In addition to securing legal representation, injured workers should also take the time to research their rights and options.

Federal laws and regulations can be complicated, but understanding them is essential for achieving a successful outcome in any workplace dispute. Familiarizing oneself with the laws and applicable regulations can help ensure that one’s rights are protected.

It is also important for injured workers to collect as much documentation as possible. This includes medical records, doctor’s reports, and documentation of lost wages.

Having this information can help strengthen a claim and increase the chances of receiving a fair settlement.


Federal workplace laws are failing to adequately protect injured employees, leaving them with few options for seeking recourse and financial assistance. In many cases, employers can deny benefits and limit appeals of their decisions, making it difficult for injured workers to secure the compensation they need and deserve.

Fortunately, Social Security Disability (SSD) is available as a source of financial support to those who have paid into the system .

SSD provides a monthly benefit and access to Medicare coverage, allowing injured workers to cover their living expenses and medical costs. Additionally, it is possible for individuals to receive both SSD benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time.

If you have been injured in the workplace and are struggling to get the benefits you deserve in either Social Security Disability or Nevada Workers’ Compensation give our experience Las Vegas lawyers a call to see if we can help.

The consultation is free and you pay nothing unless we succeed. Call us at (720) 570-0000 or fill out the form for a free consultation.