Long-Term Disability

Has anyone else left working and applied for long-term disability with a private carrier? I would like to know what your experience has been. I will lose my State Disability in May. My long-term is approved until March. They have all my medical records and have decided I should be fine by then. I am not sure they understand the complexities of having three syndromes and being in ridiculous amounts of pain. Thank you in advance for your comments.

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I work (or worked) for a great City. We have disability coverage through Cigna. In January I started short term disability while I had an MVD. I used up all of my FMLA before I was able to go back to work part time in April. The MVD was partially successful, but still left me in a lot of pain. I worked part time until the end of October. After short term disability expired, long term disability automatically kicked in to fill the gap in my pay. I had a gamma knife procedure in July, it did nothing for the pain but left me with numbness around my eye, nose and chin. I missed a lot of time from work, on top of only working part time. In October when my doctor wanted me to take another 4 to 8 weeks off to rest and try to find meds that would control the pain. That was the last straw for my supervisor. She terminated me on October 30th. I don't blame them, I work in a very busy office and it was a real hardship for my coworkers to continue to cover me. I was petrified, we can not afford to be without my income. I found my HR department to be very helpful. My Long Term Disability will pay me 67% of my pay until I am 65 or declared well enough to return to work. It has not been hard at all, once I did my part they now just send update requests to my doctor every couple of months. When I first completed the phone interview with disability people the gal said she was not sure that trigeminal neuralgia was covered, that she had to check with their staff of doctors and nurses. She called me back within minutes and said that it was covered, so they obviously recognize it as a serious health issue. When this all started they would only approve me for 4 to 8 weeks at a time. Now it is every couple of months. I hope that is what your carrier is doing - that they will re-evaluate your case in March if you are not well enough to return to work.

Thank you for all of the information. I sent my Carrier a few links last night so that they might take a moment to learn more. I too am sure they will approve an extension in March. I am applying for SSI next month. I am a fifty year old single parent with two teenage sons. One graduating in the fall and the other the following year. The 60% of pay was up to a maximum that I was well over. With SSI and the gap from the LTD company it is still about a 60% pay cut plus I have to get my own insurance. My fear is just as you state. I really don't want to have to renew or extend every 3-6 months for the next 15 years. Although I am hopeful to one day be pain free, I will never be at the capacity for my career. It is just frustrating to have to go through the paperwork month after month. I don't need to see my doctor as often as I do but i feel I need to just to keep the paperwork completed. This situation is bad enough without having to prove to people I am in pain every few months or to fear that if I start to feel better, I will be cut from the benefits on the street. I know. Baby steps.

I hear you. We had to roll me over to my husbands medical insurance, that costs us several hundred dollars a month. I am 56, you are right regarding careers. I worked 35 years to get to where I was and if I am able to go back to work some day it certainly would not be at the pay or benefits that I previously received. I hate living month to month, but what else can we do. My doctor says she "has my back" every time I visit with her, which helps a lot. You are right - one day at a time. Take care of yourself or you a no good to your kids.

It has been a while, that's my fault. I am sure you can appreciate how quickly time goes by when you spend most of it asleep or in pain. I was approved for California State Disability for one year. That expires in May. At the same time, after 90 days, I applied for my company's LTD which like others, covers 60% of my salary up to a point, There is a cap. They have been more difficult as they continually request my doctor files every month, every doctor. They approved me until March 2014. They pay the difference between my State Disability and their maximum cap. Unlike State Disability, the LTD is taxed. If your employer provided it, they tax it. If you purchased it on your own, they do not. My LTD Carrier just gave me a one-year extension until March 2015. They will never just award you benefits until you are 65. They check each year and I assume the checking becomes less frequent. However, since it looked like I would be out for at least a year, the LTD forced me to apply for Social Security/Disability. If their staff Specialist thought I could be awarded Disability, they would deduct that amount from their payment whether I apply or not. It is such as scam as their lawyers offered their services to file my SS Claim for 25% of the first retroactive check. I am fortunate that I can fill out paperwork and have three organized binders of my condition. SS also went after all the files and doctors, contacted my friends and family etc. They have been very nice on the phone. I filed on 12/27/13 and they are just about ready to render their decision. I would not allow them access to my mental health files with my psychiatrist as it is not their business. As a result, Social Security is sending me to see a psychiatrist in the area, at their cost, later this month. They will also let me know this week if they want me to see their doctor. It is so difficult to explain that I am able to get up, sit down, move my arms and make a fist. I couldn't drive a forklift before this happened and I still can't. Their forms and reviews are not geared towards pain. I am hoping for the best. If I am fortunate to receive SS and my LTD is extended a year, I am going to try and put this behind me for a while. I do nothing but go to doctors to make my case for these people when I already know what is happening. My doctor said I have a 70% chance of managing or reducing the pain significantly in 5-7 years. I will brush my teeth then! It has been a horrific process taking two years of my life. As a single parent with two teenage sons and two dogs, it has yet to be about me. Even if everything is settled, I will be bringing in 60% less salary. I also had to get my own medical insurance at $600 a month to find out that all my doctors and their hospital pulled out of Covered California and I have to pay out of pocket, look for new doctors or marry someone for their group insurance at work. Ridiculous. My old way of life, chance or returning to work, providing for my kids etc., is over. They don't understand the emotional toll for something they cannot see when they look at you. As soon as my boys graduate I am planning on moving to a very small town about 700 miles up the California Coast near the Oregon border. I just want to sit with the dogs, watch TV, read and play Words With Friends.