DECEMBER 2018 KunkelCase Files 800-467-5272 • www.KunkelLawFirm.com • GKunkel@KunkelLawFirm.com
FROM THE DESK OF
Gregory Kunkel, Esq.
THE IRE PROCESS IS BACK!
Just in time for Halloween, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 111 into law on Oct. 24, 2018, reinstating the “Independent Rating Examination” (IRE) provision to the Workers’ Compensation Act. The IRE process is a popular procedural method that employers relied upon to reduce an injured workers’ wage-loss benefits by changing their status under the law from total to partial disability. In the Protz decision handed down last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the IRE provision was unconstitutional. The new law was supported by business groups, and it immediately reinstates the IRE process. However, it requires examining physicians to rely exclusively on the 6th Edition of the American Medical Association’s “Guides to the Evaluation of Partial Impairment” to rate impairment. On a positive note, the new law lowers the threshold to retain total disability status from 50 percent whole body impairment to 35 percent.
WELCOMEHOME! Navigating Winter Break With Your College Kid
Thanksgiving break was just a test; now you have a whole month with your college kid! It’s exciting when your child returns home for winter break, but you have to be prepared. This isn’t the same teen you dropped off this summer. They’ve had new experiences, been thrown into awkward situations, and fended for themselves for months. One thing will never change, though: They will always be your kid. They’re the same person who grew up causing a ruckus in your home, teasing their younger siblings, and laughing their way through plenty of family memories. If you’re worried about your college-aged kiddo returning home, remember these tips for a stress-free winter break. Thanksgiving break wasn’t enough time for you to experience the intricacies of a relationship with your newly independent kid. When they come home this winter, they may push against any rules you have in place. In contrast, they’re also going to soak up all the wonders of home that they missed, like meals, cable TV, and a familiar bed. When your kid first comes home for the month, celebrate the successful semester! Then set some guidelines. Will there be a curfew? Will they be expected to feed and clothe themselves? Is their room still theirs or is it now your home gym? Can they drink or smoke at home? Whatever works for your family is fine, but if you don’t establish some ground rules ‘MOM, I’M AN ADULT NOW…WHAT’S FOR DINNER?’
If you or a family member has
questions or concerns about your benefits, we encourage you to call our office for a free review of your claim.
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Social Security Disability • Worker’s Compensation • Employment Rights
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