FMLA ... double edged sword?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Shalala, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    I got a letter today from my employer. I asked for STD 2 weeks ago and the letter is "implying" that I have to use up my 12 weeks of FMLA first. How can I pay my bills and buy my meds? I have already used up all of my sick, vacation, and personal time. I will probably have at least one month of unpaid leave!?!?!?! This sucks. Anyone else run into this?
  2. achingbytch

    achingbytch New Member

    Hi shalala
    At my job we're told the same thing about FMLA. My experience being out 2x on disability, once over 3 months but not for 6 months, was employer paid, in full. Is that the same for you?

    It is amazing that there is no clear place to find out what to do, how to do it, when to do it, no place. Every detail is "Look what I discovered!" or "Thank you for sharing that fact..."

    The only reason I don't go, and probably other people are scared to go directly to SSI for info, is out of fear of sending out some red flag to either our employers or our SSI account. Doctors certainly are very little help in giving direction...you have to assume whatever they suggest is in your interest, which may not be the case.

  3. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    What state are you in? I am in Ohio.

    It is my understanding that you are only protected from being fired with FMLA.

    Getting paid is based upon what you have in the way of sick leave, personal time, vacation time, etc. If you are out of those then you are out of luck ... NO PAY.

    If you got paid with you time off you were probably lucky. I think it is up to the employer.
  4. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    Usually STD and FMLA run concurrently. In other words if you are on std for 12 weeks, you then have used up your FMLA for that year. Ask to see your employers std policy. It may tell you that you need to be off of work for the same condition for a total of X amount of days before std kicks in. If you have been missing work because of the same condition over the last 6 months and your doctor can verify that, they may let you use those days toward your unpaid leave.

    Just as a side note to anyone with a chronic condition. Always know your employers medical leave policy. It's probably on your companies intranet site or in a handbook. Policies change frequently so keep up to date.

    I work in HR and I ran into the same issue when I went out on STD in October. I had to use my sick, vacation and personal time first. Well that was gone because I was missing so much work because of my FMS and used it at that time. They counted my days off for the previous 6 months that were due to my illness. It was a total of 18 days. I then had to go 10 more days without pay and after that recieved 60% of my salary until I returned to work. I've always been up front about my illness. My managers know that I have a chronic illness. They know that I will continue to have flares and they have been really good about working with me.

    I would call and talk to your benefits manager and find out what they can do for you. If you do have to go a month without pay, check with your doctor about gettign free samples so that you don't have to pay for your meds. Call your creditors and tell them that you are on disability and you will try and make payments as soon as you can. They will typically work with you.
  5. achingbytch

    achingbytch New Member

    I'm in NY
    Maybe that's why my employer always makes it sound like a gift they're allowing me to receive when telling me they're giving me disability, even that's not clear. The only thing clear is its six months full pay, 6 months half pay, and then you should 'consider LTD....why dontcha?"
    We have an older man with a cane who wants to retire and takes 6 months disability, comes back tgo earn credits, take another 6 months. This is going on for 5 bloody years. He wont quit because he needs full medical benefits in retirement and they wont fire him...its a waiting game, clearly cruel and needless because he's useless. He set up a fax machine at home and get 45 faxes a day from staffer asking him what to do because technically, he's still a boss.
    This is what I'm up against.

    I just read what footballmom wrote, I want to add: we DO NOT have an HR department, we have one harried woman who fields these issues as well as our medical insurance messes. I'll check our employee handbook. But FBM writes what our policy is too, everything has to be used up, vacation, personal, etc.
    I was NOT up front because we're a gossip mill where anything, but anything, that could be used to arbitrarily avoid raises, promotions was held over us for years. [This Message was Edited on 02/24/2007]
  6. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    I guess I better do some reading? It is really difficult to get to a person in HR.

    I have been upfront with my illness too. I have been battling to stay on the job all of January (missed quite a bit though) ... then by Feb 12th I just couldn't face going in another moment. I have been under the DRs care for 6 years. She totally supports me on the FMLA and on STD. I am seeing a neurologist on Weds (is that March 1sst?).

    Maybe I should go for LTD? I don't know if you have to do STD first? I have to do some research.
  7. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    Every employer is different. I agree that sometimes they act like they are doing you a favor because they are giving you a benefit. At my previous job I was out on STD for 3 months, my employer paid me and didn't hassle me too much but as soon as my FMLA ran out they started telling me that my doctor wasn't sending enough information to verify my std claim and that their doctor evaluated my records and came to the conclusion I could work. (He never met me or talked to me, as a matter of fact I asked to meet woith hem and they denied me) Eventually they told me to come back to work or your fired. I couldn't go back to work, I couldn't get out of bed. So I was fired. In hind sight, I should have gotten an attorney and fought it but I didn't know any better. I do now. But like I said, my current employer is good to me.

    Although I feel pretty good right now I am keeping good records of everything my doctor tells me and getting copies of my charts so that when the inevitable comes and I can no longer work, I will have built a good case for my LTD and SSDI. I hope it doesn't happen too soon but I need to be prepared.

  8. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    This is a nightmare. Here we are in unbelieveable pain and unable to focus worth a hoot and we have to basically be warriors. I don't know what else to call it.

    My employer did the same thing to another lady with chronic illnesses (diagnosed with COPD) who was in and out of the hospital even ... told her to come back to work or be fired. Shee was turned down for LTD. In reading through the boards someone said they got an atty and won their LTD. I pay for LTD. If you can't get it why pay into it? And hiring an atty would cost a fortune!

    I could maybe try to go back part time but that would still be too much income to apply for SSD. That minium is ridiculously low.

    Where I work ... once you have a chronic condition you are a "marked person". Most leave on their own due to the stress.
  9. achingbytch

    achingbytch New Member

    Shalala:
    Not only do we have that older man whose been taking disability for 5 years, we now have a woman whose been in hosptial for a month, waiting for a liver transplant and rumors are floating they're trying to get her out. They never want to be seen with dirty hands or fingerprints, they rarely fire anyone, its a water drip of delayed answers, procrastination, confusing responses...the only thing that increases is the demand we put in more time. The new thing my boss supervisor does is 'ask' us to be available for late hours..."I'm not requiring you to stay, I'm asking you to be available." Which translates into I'm not authorizing overtime, so if you're not available, you're not being part of the team working for the progress of the institution..be sure it'll show up on the summer evaluation forms.
    I can't believe I condemned myself to 20+ years wasted in academia to end up like this.
  10. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    And have a civil suit against my LTD insurance company .They only want to pay me for 2 years say its a mental disability and not physical.

    I do not pay the attorney unless they win.If they win I pay them 30% of what I am going to get over 10 yrs.

    Ido not care if all I get is 1.00 as long as they have to pay something for putting me through hell.

    FM and CFS plus DDD and OA are all physical not mental .But like you there doctors say its mental and I have never met any of them what a joke.They try everything to get out of paying.My four doctors all back me on this and so do my records .

    I need to stop venting now.

    Good Luck
    Sue
  11. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    I think it is just terrible that people who pay for insurance cannot rely on it. Yes, I would say a liver transplant is an extremely serious condition!!!

    Maybe Ahhhhhhhhnold Swarzenegger will champion our cause ... lol. He wants to improve health care for illegal immigrants.

    I will have to search for the company policy and will post it as soon as I can. I am rather doped up right now. I just woke up from a nap and I have a hard time functioning for a while.

    I did not know you could get LTD through SS? I thought that was through an employer? Maybe I would be ahead to do what you are Froggy?
  12. achingbytch

    achingbytch New Member

    It may sound selfish and I dont mean to flame anyone, but I'm telling you every word written, read that you think is a "vent" is therapuetic and a lesson for others.
    Please vent, you'll feel better and believe it or not, it makes some of us feel better and get ready.
    Now that I have some better insight into my HR policy, I'm going to war.
  13. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    Oh great ... I am trying to access our HR info and my password is not working. That is just ducky. Now I have to dig through info and try to find it. That means walking (if you can call it that) upstairs.

    No one is going to help us so we have to be our own advocates obviously? We have to just give each other pointers and moral support.

    I have read so many different things on here about SSD, SSI, State disability (who knew?), etc. I am really confused. And with all the confusion we suffer anyhow ... geesh. I wish there was a FMS Advocate group for us.

    My kitty just stuck her nose in my water glass ..... grrrrr. Lucky for her she is a cutie-pie ... lol. I'm just glad I saw her do it (ewwwwwwwww). Now she is all snuggled up on my lap. She steals my chair (when I get up). She loves my heating pad. :)

    I'll be back after I locate info.
  14. achingbytch

    achingbytch New Member

    Shalala
    mine is 18 yrs old and snores...long hair calico. she also likes to investigate what's in the mug, as long as no steam is rising:) i've caught her lapping at my cup of milk last week, something she never drank as a kitten. so i gave her a bowl...she turned her nose up. her latest stunt when i sit here to write, is to go into the bathroom and howl until i show up and run the shower so she can slip into the tub and play around. i am always amazed at the unqualified love animals give us.
  15. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    My baby girl will be 16 in May. We lost her sister (true sister) in September and now this little one is constantly on me or with me. She really misses her sissy. She even went nuts and hissed and attacked me when I had to remove her sister's body :-( I think she is very lonely. I am too sick though to take on a new one. Sometimes it is also hard to introduce a new cat into the family ;-) . Yes they are a real joy and good entertainment.

    I have to find that HR info tomorrow. I have a terrible sore throat and migraine (to go along with everything else) and my baby girl is all snuggy on me :) so I think we will take a nap. I will get back with you hopefully tomorrow on the HR stuff.