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Fibro & Long Term Disability

Hello All,

I was diagnosed with Fibro about 2 years ago. I also have RLS, Chiari, Scoliosis, bladder issues, female issues, migraines and suspected MS.

Currently, I am on Short Term Disability through my neuro, due to cognitive problems I also have. I am/was a programmer - :P - not anymore! No brain capacity whatsoever to write code.

Any type of work (right now) would be pure hell. I can barely take care of myself and my two young children - let alone regular household responsibilities. My house used to be spic-n-span. I have no energy to do it. I am in pain constantly; even though I take pain meds. By the time I get my children ready for school, I'm "done-for" for at least 2 hours. I need to rest.

Anyway, my STD has been approved until May 1st. But, I am in no way capable of going back to work. I am fortunate that I have both STD and LTD through my employer.

Are any of you on LTD through your employer? Is it combined (or can it be combined) with SSDI?

I just don't know how to proceed. Any advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

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Avatar universal
I'm sorry to hear you're having so many problems.  I, too suffer from fibro and several other health issues, including other chronic pain issues - so I can definitely relate to the horror of the daily pain and fatigue.  I am on SSDI for these multiple health problems, including the fibro.

I'm not 100% positive, but I don't believe that you can combine LTD with SSDI - the reason being is that LTD, although long-term, still pretty much has an ending point.  Whereas, in order to qualify for SSDI, one qualification is that you have to not be able to work at all any longer.  So, basically, if you're still on your employer's payroll in order to still be able to draw the LTD, then you are technically still "working" and therefore, would not be able to get SSDI.  

If you're not able to return to work in any capacity (your doctor will need to verify this), then I suggest you start the process of applying for SSDI.  It can be a very lengthy process, so the sooner you get started, the better off you'll be.  However, keep in mind that you may not be able to continue drawing on the LTD while the decision on your SSDI is being made - this is probably something you would need to ask Social Security directly.

Best of luck and let me know if I can be of any assistance.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for responding Geminigirl! (Are you? - I am too!)

I've never NOT worked, but I just can't see anyone wanting to employ me when I know that my sx's would cause me to miss a great deal of work.

There is no way I can go back to my "current" position - and I'm pretty sure at this point the company just wants me to go away. Before I went out, HR was actually pushing me to go on STD and then have it transfer to Long Term. In a way however, I'd rather have them terminate me with Unemployment and severance (I've been with the company 11 years). Then I'd at least feel like I was "done with them" as they have caused me a great deal of stress for the past 3 years which, as you know, worsens my condition(s).

I've heard the nightmares of applying for SSDI, so I was hoping that the LTD would be a more viable option at this point. There may be things I can do on the side that will generate extra income. (Which I know has to be reported.)

Ugh. Oh well, just a wait and see, I guess...

Thanks again!
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Avatar universal
Yes!  I am a Gemini!  Hello fellow "twin"!  LOL

It actually works to your benefit that you've not had times that you haven't worked when it comes to the SSDI - another of the qualifications is that you have to ahve worked a certain number of quarters in the past five years (I think it's five, but it might actually be 10) - and the amount that you receive is based on your earnings (which is different from SSI, which is based on financial need).  So in that regard, the longer you can stay on the LTD, the better.  But as I said, I'm not 100% sure how that works while the application process for SSDI is going on - whether it counts as you actually "working" or not.

The SSDI process can be difficult and long, but there are ways to make it a bit easier.  Keep in mind that majority of people who apply for SSDI get denied on their first go-round.  That's very common.    If you do get denied after your initial application, don't give up - I suggest you get the assistance of a legal group that works on disability claims.  I used one - had no out upfront out of pocket expenses - they simply got paid a portion of my back pay from social security when my claim was approved.  It's a shame that you basically almost HAVE to go that route, but it really does help.  If nothing else, they know what paperwork to submit when and anythign else that will help your claim be approved.  They also do all the phone work, leg work, etc., with social security, so you don't have to worry about doing that stuff.  unfortunately, these groups usually will not take on your case until after you have received a denial from social security, so you can't get their help right from the get-go.

First thing I would suggest is makign a call to social security (they have an 800 # on their website) and asking them how it works for aplying for SSDI if you are currently on LTD with your employer.  You should be able to ask an anonymous question and not have to give them your name or anything, so you wouldn't be compromising yourself by getting this information (or giving them a heads up about anything)

Please let me know if I can answer any more questions about hte SSDI process.  It's been a while since I went through it (mine was approved in 2002), but I can probably still answer some questions if you have them.  Also feel free to message me any time if you just need to talk or vent - I know how frustrating and lonely it can be when you're dealing with all the pain and fatigue and nobody around you seems to really understand - how could they if they don't have to deal with it themselves?

BTW - where in PA do you live?  I lived in Warminster (Bucks County) for several years when I was in junior high and high school and then when I was married to my ex husband, we lived in Loysburg (Bedford county).
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Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with Fibro 5 years ago. I was on short term incapcity benefits for a year, supplying sick notes from my doctor every 8 weeks or so. Then I was transfered onto long term incapcity and no longer had to supply the sick notes. I have to attend reviews with the job centre but that is all. The dept of works and pensions did all the work, maybe it would be worth while calling them. I have been unable to work so I understand how you feel. My last boss didn't believe that I was ill and she still tried to work me like a dog (I was a riding instructor) Finally I just walked out and I was covered because of the sick notes. I also claim housing and council tax benefits and I have a H2 form which allows free perscriptions, dental and glasses. After a while you will learn what triggers the pain and avoid. I have just started a new career as a novelist so benefits might be a thing of the past with me. I'll have to see how the first book sells. Good luck and I'm here for a chat whenever.
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Avatar universal
You can get LTD while you apply for SSDI. I have. After I applied for SSDI and got denied my LDT offered to get me an attorny at no charge to me. Remember you can make your claim start date for SSDI the first day that you start on LDT. But when you win SSDI you will have pay LDT back because you can have at the same time that is called double dipping. Also when start getting LTD you are no longer employed by  the company you were working for. Another thought ask your human resource person about the rules and other things about LTD. They should know about as it is your right to know the ins and outs of LTD since it is a jenifer to you like health insurance.
Sorry so long but been on this roller coaster for about 6 years.
Hope this helps you
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Avatar universal
Hi Ya,

Just an update; I saw my neuro yesterday; and apparently, I have to exhaust my Short Term first; then we'll see about LTD...

I'm going to give my employer a call tomorrow to discuss... This next round of Short Term could take me until 8/28; at which time, I hope, but do not hope, that I have a more definitive dx, as my neuro basically told me no way would insurance approve Fibro... Ugh.

That, and I need to see a shrink, I'm in pain - because I'm depressed - NOT! Although I'm not too happy after my visit to him yesterday!!! - Mostly because of the way he discarded a lot of my questions.

Sorry - I guess I'm a Fibro person but also a Limbo-Lander as the probably MS still lurks.

Thanks for all the info everyone!


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