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Disability - how did you decide it was time to let go of working in the near term?

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Old 02-27-2017, 11:16 AM   #1
maygin
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Confused Disability - how did you decide it was time to let go of working in the near term?

Edit: The more relevant question may be, has anyone seriously considered or actually returned to work after being on disability for a period of time? How did you make that decision? Was the return to work successful?

Anyone who has seriously considered or went on disability, would you be willing to share how you came to that decision? What things did you consider? Who did you talk to? How did you think about what might change in the future? My situation is a little different in that I've been on LTD since July 2015 and know I cannot return to work today, but doctors are still hopeful things will improve so that I can return to work. My work just decided I am permanently disabled based on 2 letters from doctors stating I was temporarily disabled and 6 months of medical records supporting that I am making progress and may be able to return to work in the near future. I need to decide relatively soon whether to appeal this decision to remain on LTD and have my position available for me when I return (on permanent disability the position is no longer held for me). The process my employer has is a bit confusing, but LTD is 80% of salary for up to 18 months with health insurance and my position held for me while disability retirement (permanent disability) is 9% of the average of the last 3 years of my earnings (including the time I've been on LTD) without health insurance and my position filled by a new employee. So, the decision to appeal mostly hinges on whether I think I will be well enough to return to work by June 15, 2017, when LTD runs out and I'd have to go on disability retirement (permanent disability) or be fired regardless. I'm trying to figure out whether it is worth the hassle of appealing because I think there is a strong change I can return to work by June or letting it go (even though it's BS) because it would happen in June anyway (although, if I apply after June 3, 2017, I'd get another 3% of my salary) and would greatly appreciate any insight anyone has!

In way of background, I developed CRPS in July 2014 and a whole host of other medical and psychological issues since then. Things were horrendously bad for awhile, but have slowly improved and now, I have a bit more capacity to do things, though I still cannot keep up with all my day to day tasks and the like. There may an autoimmune component for me as I am now testing positive for autoimmune markers.

Last edited by maygin; 02-27-2017 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:42 PM   #2
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It might be helpful to explore our Social Security Disability forum- the sticky threads are full of info/tips -
https://www.neurotalk.org/forum28/
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing that forum information, but this is not really a SSDI question. 1) currently on my employers private disability options, 2) my doctors have documentation in my medical file stating I am not permanently disabled and need to be reassessed in 6 months, so I wouldn't qualify for SSDI.

My question is more about how one personally went about the process of making that determination for themselves. I respect that it is an individual decision and I will ultimately being the one making it, but being able to hear what other people considered may help me consider things I am currently overlooking or not considering. It's a bit more challenging deciding to return to work than to leave as I didn't have much choice to leave, but after almost 2 years on disability, I'm finally feeling better, but am I feeling better because I am doing less or because I am health-wise better?
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:14 PM   #4
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Hi Maygin,

I'm so glad that you've had improvements and are feeling better than you were. That is wonderful news!

I can't answer if it is because you have the ability to take care of yourself but it seems that would factor in. I find that even though I'm doing quite well considering, my symptoms do increase when I'm stressed and overloaded.

I want to clarify what the permanent disability would pay - your post says 9% of 3 year average. Obviously that isn't going to go very far and would require you to apply for SSDI in addition. Is that what you meant to put?
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Old 03-03-2017, 01:21 AM   #5
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Ok...so responding to your updated questions...has anyone returned to work after being on disability for while.

At one point...I was off work for about a year and a half. My RSD spread and I was in a wheelchair for about 6 months...couldn't stand or walk at all. I did a lot of physical therapy and eventually got myself back to a point where, with the aid of a walker, I could be on my feet for long periods of time and could function better. I was able to return to a job where I was on my feet for 9+ hours a day most of the time and did that for about 3 years...then I fell off a ladder at work and have been off since then trying to get myself back to that point. My goal was then (and is now) to get myself back to work. That goal keeps me focused on regaining function.

This time around...I am struggling more than before...mostly because the new pain since the fall has affected my shoulder and arm...and I cannot use the walker. Without the aid of the walker...I cannot be on my feet for any length of time (15-20 minutes tops before the pain elevates to a non-functional level). It's definitely been frustrating. I cannot even take care of myself most of the time and I also have a 2 year old...so any energy I have is usually spent taking care of her (she has to be in daycare 40 hours a week because I cannot take care of her on my own and someone always has to be with me to help care for her when her dad is working). I am currently awaiting approval for DRG stimulation and am hoping that will give me the functionality that I need to get back to things.

The situation is definitely worse now than it has ever been. Even in my worst times when I was off work before I always knew I would return. This time...I just don't know. I am hopeful that the DRG stimulation will work...but I don't know when that will happen. This is the first time I have even let myself consider the possibility that I may not be able to return to work. I think you just kind of know...deep down...when it's just no longer possible for you to work. I'm not quite there yet...as I said I am hopeful that this procedure will help...but if it doesn't then I just know I can't return to working as things are. I cannot take care of my own daily needs...how on earth could I work? Those are some hard truths to have to face...but there it is.

Anyway...not sure if that answers your question...but before I fell off that ladder at work I was really doing great. I was happy, functioning, doing well at my job, etc. I had to use the walker and was in pain...but life was better for me when I was working because I was happier and felt a great sense of accomplishment being at work. I loved my job, was good at it, and was doing well. I would love to be able to go back to that...but at this point if I am honest with myself I just don't know if it will ever happen. I haven't given up on it...but as the months drag on with no improvement I have had to face these hard questions and truths...and have had to be honest with myself about the reality of the situation.
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catra121 View Post
Ok...so responding to your updated questions...has anyone returned to work after being on disability for while.

At one point...I was off work for about a year and a half. My RSD spread and I was in a wheelchair for about 6 months...couldn't stand or walk at all. I did a lot of physical therapy and eventually got myself back to a point where, with the aid of a walker, I could be on my feet for long periods of time and could function better. I was able to return to a job where I was on my feet for 9+ hours a day most of the time and did that for about 3 years...then I fell off a ladder at work and have been off since then trying to get myself back to that point. My goal was then (and is now) to get myself back to work. That goal keeps me focused on regaining function.

This time around...I am struggling more than before...mostly because the new pain since the fall has affected my shoulder and arm...and I cannot use the walker. Without the aid of the walker...I cannot be on my feet for any length of time (15-20 minutes tops before the pain elevates to a non-functional level). It's definitely been frustrating. I cannot even take care of myself most of the time and I also have a 2 year old...so any energy I have is usually spent taking care of her (she has to be in daycare 40 hours a week because I cannot take care of her on my own and someone always has to be with me to help care for her when her dad is working). I am currently awaiting approval for DRG stimulation and am hoping that will give me the functionality that I need to get back to things.

The situation is definitely worse now than it has ever been. Even in my worst times when I was off work before I always knew I would return. This time...I just don't know. I am hopeful that the DRG stimulation will work...but I don't know when that will happen. This is the first time I have even let myself consider the possibility that I may not be able to return to work. I think you just kind of know...deep down...when it's just no longer possible for you to work. I'm not quite there yet...as I said I am hopeful that this procedure will help...but if it doesn't then I just know I can't return to working as things are. I cannot take care of my own daily needs...how on earth could I work? Those are some hard truths to have to face...but there it is.

Anyway...not sure if that answers your question...but before I fell off that ladder at work I was really doing great. I was happy, functioning, doing well at my job, etc. I had to use the walker and was in pain...but life was better for me when I was working because I was happier and felt a great sense of accomplishment being at work. I loved my job, was good at it, and was doing well. I would love to be able to go back to that...but at this point if I am honest with myself I just don't know if it will ever happen. I haven't given up on it...but as the months drag on with no improvement I have had to face these hard questions and truths...and have had to be honest with myself about the reality of the situation.
Catra121, Thank you for sharing your personal struggle with us. Your courageous, realistic, and wise approach should be an inspiration to anyone dealing with similar issues.

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Old 03-04-2017, 11:44 AM   #7
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I'm a worker's comp situation with a June 2015 injury and off work since Oct. 2015. Docs are still hopeful I will regain enough function/reduction in pain to return to some form of work. I've been on disability this whole time (worker's comp disability). I am applying for SSDI on the advice of my doc/lawyer because they feel it will be a year or more before I will be there (and also just in case I don't get there...).

I don't know. Part of me isn't sure I will. Because of the mental issues (brain fog, concentration issues, memory issues) as much as anything else. The pain you can distract yourself from some of it when you are really focused on work (especially work you enjoy) but if your work isn't done well/right because your brain is jumbled, well...?? Then what??
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:43 PM   #8
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I didn't have a lot of choice. Working was living hell for me.

Not having to do anything in particular isn't always easy either and there are still obligations and doctors appointments but it's usually tolerable.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:48 AM   #9
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Also, you don't have to be permanently disabled to apply or qualify for SSDI. There must be an expectation that you won't be able to work at the Significant Gainful Activity level for 12 months (SGA is $1170 per month in 2017.) Substantial Gainful Activity

You can and should list your Alleged Onset Date as the month after you last made SGA. That would be 2 years ago, but you can only receive benefits 12 months prior to your AOD.

CRPS does not have it's own Listing which can make it unlikely to be approved unless you follow through with the process and go to a hearing. (Some are approved by meeting another Listing. If they require the use of a walker or wheelchair for example.) An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing will take 2-3 years after applying. So even if you expect to be denied if you apply now, starting the process is not a bad idea. If you wait to apply until your docs agree you can't return to work, don't assume you'll be approved quickly (6 months). So unless you have family or resources that can potentially support you for years while waiting for a SSDI claim to be approved, not filing can be a risky proposition.

Also, remember your Date Last Insured (DLI) is a factor. Check with SS. If you worked consistently, the maximum time would be a little more than 5 years from when you stopped working.

And lastly, even if you can return to work, you can receive an SSDI Closed Period Award for the period you were unable to work due to disability.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:58 PM   #10
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For me it was when I was let go from a few jobs due to me not being able to do the work. Even then I went on to look for work for about a year before I entertained the disabled option. Not an option is what I kept telling myself.

I try to stay mobile though. It is to easy to just lay around in pain. So I get up and motorvate around. I dont do much....but it makes me feel good inside.....and usually hurts more too. I think of it as .... no pain...no gain lol
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