ILNews

Social Security doesn't go toward threshold

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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Social Security benefits can't be counted toward the threshold amount of benefits that a person has to get in order to be eligible for benefits from Indiana's Second Injury Fund, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The court tackled the issue of first impression in James Kohlmeyer v. Second Injury Fund, No. 93A02-0711-EX-1000, in which James Kohlmeyer argued Social Security benefits he received after becoming permanently totally disabled as a result of a work accident should count toward the threshold dictated under Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-13(h)(2).

In order to become eligible for Second Injury Fund benefits, the applicant has to exhaust his or her benefits, which in Kohlmeyer's case was a total of $154,665. The worker's compensation benefits he received only totaled $136,381.82; however, if he factored in the nearly $30,000 he received in Social Security benefits, he would reach the threshold amount.

The Indiana Court of Appeals admits Kohlmeyer makes a plausible argument in favor of counting Social Security benefits - he argued the terms "benefits" and "compensation" in the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act are separate terms with separate meanings. He claimed that because the act specifies he is entitled to "compensation" from the Second Injury Fund, that term must mean worker's compensation funds, and that "benefits" include those funds and Social Security benefits.

Because "compensation" and "benefits" aren't defined in the act, the judges determined that when viewed as a whole, those two terms used in Section 22-3-3-13(h) are synonyms with respect to this issue, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander.

"We conclude instead that the best interpretation of the Act is that it addresses only Worker's Compensation benefits and compensation. In so doing, we necessarily reject Kohlmeyer's claim that the Act neglects to mention Social Security benefits because the statute was written long ago and no one made this argument before," he wrote.

The opinion also addresses the argument Kohlmeyer made that he is entitled to payments from the Second Injury Fund. In the agreement between Kohlmeyer and his employer, it stated he was able to apply for Second Injury Fund benefits, but not that he was entitled to them. When he applied, he didn't meet the threshold requirements, so he was denied, the judge wrote.
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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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