Paralegal Injured At A Law Firm Job
I was injured while working for a major law firm as a paralegal. I ended up with back fusion surgery and implantation of a morphine infusion pump in my side for the unrelenting back pain after failed conservative care.
First, my employer attempted to fire me by use of a stupid excuse that "my" position was being "eliminated." They backed off after a reminder from my attorney that their position was a little suspicious.
Next, I was, in my opinion, "blackmailed" by the attorney for the employer who indicated he would withhold his consent to important "Utica-Mohawk" language from any Order (which would cost me several hundred dollars a month in SS disability) if I would not give up my right to lifetime medical benefits for my back. I did not believe I could give up that right and he did withhold his consent.
The employer really has no dog in the fight over this language because he neither benefits nor is he hurt by the language. But, because of his objection, I was not given the language that is routinely given to almost everyone who asks for it.
After surgery, I worked half days while trying to get back to full time. The employer's attorney wanted credit for paying a "week of compensation" even though they paid exactly one half week thereby costing me many, many weeks of comp and dollars--I am entitled by law to 500 weeks but will not receive anywhere near that amount unless we win on appeal. Had I known that I would be charged as having received a whole week rather than a half week, I would never have tried so hard to return to work. I cried almost every day from the pain while trying to work 4 hours. If I had known what they would do, I would have just stayed home and avoided the additional pain that I received while trying to work.
Then, I was told by my attorney that I should apply for SS disability. I worked for more than 25 years paying SS taxes so I applied. I was approved for disability, but my benefit was cut by 2/3's as a result of receipt of WC--but that isn't even the bad part. S.C. law and the U.S. Code of Laws state that workers' compensation is not taxable. When filing my taxes, I paid taxes on the SS disability I received. I have now received a letter from the IRS stating I owe tax on part of the WC I received.
Everyone I spoke with said that was impossible since WC is not taxable, but what I have finally discovered is that when SS cut my benefit by 2/3's, they are allowed to take credit for paying me that 2/3's that they did not pay by drawing in for themselves credit as if they did pay me by charging off on paper that amount from my WC payments. In other words, they were supposed to pay me $900+ a month. They only paid me $300+.
They then are allowed to tax me for the $600 that they did not pay to me by taxing $600 of WC benefits. This is very bizarre that even though I found countless references to WC being not taxable, they were able to do this. For those who receive the exact same injury as the result of an auto accident, as long as their settlement papers state that the money is being paid as anything other than for wages, they will not pay one penny of taxes on that money and they will receive full SS disability benefits. It is only the injured worker who is unfairly discriminated against in this way.
For those of us unfortunate enough to have been injured while working, we receive unrelenting bad treatment from employers, attorneys, insurance companies, and our own government. I wanted to share the above information so that perhaps someone will benefit from it and be aware of the kind of rotten tricks that may be pulled on them once they get to the end of their cases. Perhaps by being forewarned, they may be able to avoid the pitfalls that got me.
Thanks for letting me sound off. If anyone else has incurred the tax situation, I would love to know about it. I am contacting my senators regarding this discrimination situation and the obvious conflict in the law that states unequivocally that WC is not taxable, the SS definition of wages specifically excludes WC as wages so how can it be taxed, but have little hope considering my luck this far, but if there is anyone else who has had this happen, perhaps we could attack this obvious discrimination together.