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disability stage iv

shyler001's picture
shyler001
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

I was diagnosed with stage iv squaumous cell lung ca in Janauary of 2011 (this year). I have worked for a teaching hospital since 1973. My chemo was spread out over 5 months, during which time I was unable to work or even unable to focus on applying for disability. Fortunately, I had a large bank of PTO (paid time off) to get me through this without interrupting my status as a full time employee or losing any pay.

Now that my chemo is over, I am much more functional, and my PTO is almost depleted, I have applied and been approved for disablility from a vendor employed by my company. Fortunately my boss has allowed me to work from home as I am able since May. Since my lung functionality is good enough to do this now, I would like to continue working as long as I am able, and my boss values my work enough to keep this arrangement indefinitely.

However, in speaking with my company HR, even though I jumped through all the hoops for disability (3 month waiting period; 6 month maximum elapsed time to apply since diagonosis, they are closing my claim because I am working. I would like to keep my employment activity in its current state until such time that I need, more chemo, or am unable to take the stress or meet expectations, etc. I would like to fall back on disability without elapse in salary (keep my approval dates). Ideally, I will not need to fall back on disability in the 10 years I have left before retirement age, but we all know cancer is too unpredicable to bank on this. So I've made up my mind that if they end up telling me in writing that I must re-apply under new circumstances, I will give up my dream and take the disability now.

Anyone had similiar situation, and if so, do you care to share what you went through and what the outcome was?
Cheers,
Shyler001

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I was advised by both HR and my trusted financial advisor to apply for SSD immediately upon a diagnosis of cancer and this was particularly reiterated second go-round, when the lung cancer was diagnosed.

I refused in both instances because my insistence was to go back to work (and, to be honest, I considered disability to be a handout). Even after being told I had as little as 10 months to live, I refused to get involved with disability, with the SSA, despite the continued insistence of those who cared for me and particularly for my financial well-being.

When I finally caved in, I learned that they would cover up to one previous year if warranted, in a lump sum payment, and then move forward. This meant, clearly, that I had lost probably more than $100,000 in potential payments because of my stubborness (although I must say I was instead receiving short term and long term disability from my company).

That said, working has its benefits that can't be measured in dimes and nickels as strange as that may be sound. Given the ability to work and a place to do it and do it well, I would choose that option every time.

Not sure I helped you at all :).

I am sure you will make the decision that best suits you.

Take care,

Joe

shyler001's picture
shyler001
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

You helped - thank you! And your 10 months since 2006 has really stretched out, hasn't it ;-)

Thank you again.

Sheryl

AlanRinHBG
Posts: 120
Joined: May 2011

I think you have to take your pick. Work or collect......

shyler001's picture
shyler001
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks for the response AlanRinHBG. My choice is clearly to work as long as I can.

However, if medical reasons cause me to want to transition from working to not working, I just don't want to have to go through the 3month waiting period again, and through the beaurocratic motions I just suffered through of getting all the paper collected from my employer and doctor again and then re-filing within 180 days of my new "treatment" status. I hope to never have to use the disability, but I don't want to keep having to do all this work for the vendor especially if chemo brain is making it nearly impossible to meet their requirements again at a future time when I really need it. I don't want to lose my home because I was too sick to file paper work when I needed to.

I was just thinking I had'nt been clear enough in my original post.

Thanks, Sheryl

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I am not sure what disability insurance you are talking about. If it is work-related, then nothing I say will be of assistance. But if you are referring to the Social Security Administration, they have an online site wherein you can complete the entire process. It is an extremely lengthy 'document' requiring much information, names of doctors, addresses of doctors, phone numbers of doctors, dates of procedures, the whole nine yards, and for that reason, while I realize the horse is already out of the barn in this respect, you should always ask for copies of your medical records, every time you see a doctor, every time you have a procedure of any kind. If you do not, when you ask for a large compilation of records they may insist on payment for paper, copies, etc. If you ask following every procedure, in my experience they have no problem simply supplying them.

The beauty of the online site is that you do not have to finish it at once. You can save what you have done and come back to it time and again after collecting additional information (or when you are no longer fatigued by all of the typing :)).

I said in a previous post that you could receive up to a year of 'backpay' when you apply, but I believe that only applies if you have not been working during that time. Still, it is nice to know, I hope, that there is a rather speedy way to apply for and begin benefits once you require them.

Here is the link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/

Best wishes for many years of productive employment in the meantime!

Take care,

Joe

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

A person will receive back pay from time of application to approval, less six months of back pay , this is how they do this in All cases.

Example, you apply now, in 7 months they approve you, you will receive one month back pay and then receive monthly checks from there, until the next evaluation, which could be 3-5 years.

Thanx
Dave
Stage IIIB adenocarcinoma, June 2010--Now NED !!!!

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I'm not sure exactly what you are trying to say, Dave, but it certainly was not the case for me. I applied, was accepted within one month (they WILL fast track some cases), and received a lump sum payment for the previous 12 months, advised at the time that they could not exceed one year by law.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

Joe

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