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Disability and Working or, more importantly, Getting Paid

Goalie's picture
Posts: 184
Joined: Sep 2010

This is my first post (though not my first try at posting). I suppose it should have been on my situation but this is something else on my mind.

I have checked into my company’s disability policy and it seems that it won’t cut it for me. At its maximum it will only pay about 40% of my salary while saying that I can earn up to 20% without losing benefits. This leaves a fairly significant 40% uncovered obviously. The work folks have been wonderful and I can work at home practically any time I want but I really can’t afford to lose the income. There is also a Return to Work Incentive clause in the policy that says I can work up to 80% but the agents seem to be clueless about this. Does anyone have experience or thoughts on this?

BTW, I had a radical tonsillectomy about a month ago and now that I am well healed (but not, alas, well-heeled) we will start the treatment merry-go-round next week. I still have a cancerous lymph node on that side and so we are doing rad and chemo. I didn’t try for disability after the op because I knew we would have this month for scans and dr appts and dental work and such. The good news about the chemo is that it will only be weeks 1, 4, 7 so there is a slightly better chance that I will be able to work or at least plausibly fake it.

Anybody have thoughts, comments, suggestions? Thanks, Doug

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Sorry you are going thru all of this. Your question on whether you will be able to work, I don't think we will be able to answer for you. Some of us did, and some of us are still not back to work after over a year. It will depend on if your employer and job is flexible, mine wasn't, and if you can get time off during the day for treatment and days off that you might need, I couldn't.
I had my neck dissection in Jan of 2009. I took my FMLA and when that unpaid leave ran out, my disability insurance, which I purchased thru work kicked in. Although I got half of what I was making it was okay because i wasn't getting taxes taken out and I was not spending $50 or more on gas every week going back and forth to work. It really wasn't that much less after the tax, gas, and lunches I didn't have to buy.

My job was very physically demanding, long hrs, (minimum 48 per week) and mandatory 8 hr shifts. Two days were also 12.5 hr days. So I didn't even try. Just impossible.

If you can work from home, have a boss that is compassionate, and if your side effects turn out to be not as severe as some of us have been thru then you may be able to keep working.

If you need to apply for soc sec disability, there is a compassionate allowance for head and neck cancer. I was approved very quickly.

I wish you only the best.



dennis318's picture
Posts: 349
Joined: Feb 2010

I had to work threw the chemo and radioation treaments, my boss was compassionate at first, but unfortunately when her winning horses voice wasn't ocmming back, at her pace, my job days where counted, yes it happenes, it did sweet is right i filed for dissability, my first check is issued next month, this was earlier, and because of cancer i only had to wait 5 months, the thing is how not to lose your car, house, and feed the family, i managed. If you haven't got something stuck away, or a certain work health program, LIKE I DIDN'T, (RETAIL BUSINESS)...Your Screwed big time. I had to go to work and lay on the bathroom floor puking. or working short days and going to hospital for IV's.Hope it works out for you, Dennis

Posts: 363
Joined: Feb 2010

My company had a pretty liberal disability policy. I received 6 months at 100%. Then it went to 60% for the next 6 months. I was luckier than most here on this board and some were better and kept working. I was able to return to work at 7 months,
My employer had no light duty, so after I started to eat better and blood tests came back more on the normal side I was released by my med/onc.
I sincerely hope that you will be able to keep working thru the rads, are they concurrent with chemo? Mine were and most on this site were also.
I Hope & Pray that your positive attitude carries you thru with minimal side effects

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

I was in retail also as a manager for a national shoe store. Thus the long hrs and lack of flexibility. Also, I am living in a house my parents own so I am lucky. They probably won't throw me out and would make sure I had food if i needed it. :) My disability approval took less than two months I believe.

Posts: 97
Joined: Feb 2010

I really do not see how anyone could can work when taking radiation and chemo. I guess I was one of the fortunate ones who had a retirement income, a job and a cancer policy that probably is not even written anymore. Between my retirement income and what the cancer policy paid me my finances did not suffer. My employer told me to stay out as long as I needed even though there was no income of any type from them. My job would be there for me when I was able to come back to work. I was absent from work for a total of seven months. I probably should have filed for social security disability but I did not. After returning to work I have worked full time for a little over three years and still work part time for my company at home and draw my regular social security. As everyone knows on this site cancer can not only rob you physically, it can rob you financially unless you have good insurance. Again I was very fortunate and blessed to be prepared. It would be extremely hard to go through the physical difficulties and mental difficulties that cancer causes and then losing everything you have worked for. I pray for you and others who are having to make this very hard decisions.

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