Harassed by Employer for STD

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by LadyC, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. LadyC

    LadyC New Member

    I have been trying to get my Short Term Disability approved for more than a month now. I am at my wits end. Today I received a call from a disability nurse at my job. I actually feel like I was interrogated by her.

    She asked me if I had attended church since being out of work. If I had gone on any trips? Who does my house work? She wanted to know if I was diagnosed in 1999 why was I just having problems now? During the whole conversation I felt like I had to defend myself because she had already made up her mind that I wasn't sick enough. I was insulted and confused by her questions.

    If I am unable to work does that mean I have to be house bound and bedridden? Am I supposed to give up all aspects of a normal life? Although I can't do everything all the time, whenever I can do something it's a good day to me.

    I can't believe all they are putting me through. They take deductions from my paycheck for Short Term Disability and Long Term. I can't believe it's this difficult. I almost feel harassed by them.
  2. momof471

    momof471 New Member

    I didn't have LTD OR STD but I did deal with Worker's comp and that was a nightmare. The church thing really got to me. My doctor's knew I couldn't work, but encourage me to do things when I can like church and the YMCA. I'm through with worker's comp now, and waiting for SSDI hearing, how can people get better when they have to be so focused on what they can't do? Yes, I go to church when I can, I'm usually down for the count for about 2 days afterwards. I have kids, I have to do certain things, other things just don't get done. I think its hard for the doc's because they want to see your quality of life improve, but disability doesn't expect you to have 'any' life. I can certainly relate to your frustration.

    God Bless
  3. Empower

    Empower New Member

    I went through that with my employer. The doc had me in tears, and told me what I needed was a good psychiatrist!! Do you believe that?

    Some social interaction is ESSENTIAL to your mental and physical health.

    What, are you supposed to be chained to your bed? Ridiculous!!!!

    They just try to intimidate you. It is really disgusting
  4. kagom

    kagom New Member

    LadyC,

    I had to deal with the same thing. The representative from my STD company was very firm and nasty to me. The first words out of her mouth were "Why are you out of work!". I couldn't believe here tone. I felt like I had to defend myself just like you. When the doctors determined I had FM and CFS they still took forever to approve my STD. I was facing eviction, car repossession and I had to go to food pantries for help with gas and electric and food. They finally approved my STD after I called them and got on their case and told them about how I felt and how I was handled. I feel your pain. I had to deal with a lot of doctors that didn't and still don't care. I wish you the best of luck LadyC and I will keep you in my prayers.
  5. LadyC

    LadyC New Member

    Momof471, Empower, Kagom, thanks so much for your responses. It helps to know somebody understands exactly what this is like.

    I'm still feeling upset and this was hours ago. At this point I don't hold out much hope. My manager even told me that they want the last check back that they paid me because I shouldn't have received it. My days off now are without pay.

  6. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    If you live in a state where it is legal, get you a recording device for your telephone AND RECORD ALL INTERACTIONS WITH HER AND ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR JOB OR THIS STD COMPANY.

    You may need it. Additionally, one can be totally disabled in terms of working but be able to sit in church for ONE HOUR.

    I know they ask you about your day, ability to do things, etc. One can put in a load of laundry, and then rest for three hours, but try to work like that.

    That is the way you need to approach this and be firm with them, and tell them that you are not gong to speak with them if they are nasty or offensive. They have a right to question you, but not be threatening or demeaning.

    Be very, very careful. They are, undoubtedly, having you watched or monitored at this plase. They did this to me and asked how I could carry two grocery bags, when one bag had a light magazine and one a tube of lip gloss.

    Keep a journal of your activities, and keep a log of what your doctor tells you to do. I was so sick and in so much pain, that trying to the therapy and go to the doctor used every bit of my strength and still does. Make notes as to what you did and how it made you feel, but be brief. One can write a little while in bed lying down.

    Then, if they are harrassing you, dragging, delaying, failing to meet deadlines, look for the INSURANCE COMMISSION of your state and file a case, NOW, and ask for their assistance. They will fill you in on your rights, and once you have filed, the company will watch their behavior.

    Good luck.
  7. Lichu3

    Lichu3 New Member

    Hi, I am sorry we all have to deal with this.

    My mom had to go through worker's comp at one point in her career with the U.S. Postal Office and it was tough.

    Her advice to me with disability insurance carriers was that I should just expect to have a hard time and to have some degree of harrassment. These people are not out to help you, their motive is to save their employer $$$$.

    Hardly fair to us of course but adjust your expectations accordingly. And contact your local political representative or disability lawyer if it gets to be too much.
  8. poeticbobbi

    poeticbobbi New Member

    What they want is for you to get frustrated and go away.But since the illness won't go away,don't you either.I tell them like this.Sure I can get a job and work some days but how can I keep the job when I can become terribly ill at anytime and remain that way for days.As for trips shopping and house work,well we do what we can when we can.I used to tell them to stop by my house and see the shape I am in once I finish most of daily lifes tasks.Sometimes it takes days to recoop after normal activity.Like when I moved,I thought I would die! I did all the necessary things and then for a week I could only lay around.
    As my 20 yr. old daughter(my monster) would say tell them to "BITE YOU"---------lol
  9. broadkill

    broadkill New Member

    I can work part time at the moment because my job allows me to make the schedule and change it as needed.I am finding days where even this is a problem.My job is basically taking my client to the laundromat,grocery shopping and daily life stuff.She does the lifting,but the DRIVING is killing me.I recently emailed an attorney about whether you can work part time and get diasbility.or if I have to wait until I can not work at all.I've gotten no response yet.
    I remember the hell they put me thru for unemployment years ago.I wanted to give up,but went thru the hearings etc.I got that.I am doubting if I apply dor disability that I would get it.
    Best of luck to you LadyC!
  10. LadyC

    LadyC New Member

    I was surprised about the way I was treated but after reading your experiences, I see this is the norm. I guess right now I'm kinda fragile and don't feel like I can go through some of what you all describe. I was actually considering just giving up and allowing them to fire me for being out so long. I have no idea what we'll do without my paycheck. I have a daughter in college and like mose people many bills.

    I actually did feel like they were possibly watching me. Yesterday my daughter had a job interview at a mall not far from my house. I dropped her off and told her to call me when she was ready to be picked up.

    When I walked out of my house (no bra and looking like I didn't own an iron)there was a strange truck parked a few doors down on the other side of the street. I couldn't see if anyone was in it. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac so most of the cars are reconizable. I was trying not to be paranoid so I tried to just blow it off, but kept looking in my rear view mirror. I didn't see the truck following me. I picked up my daughter and returned in about 20 mins. The truck was gone.

    I don't know if that was someone that was hired to spy on me or not. If it was, hopefully they saw the short distance I went and how long I was gone.

    My family is supposed to go on a long weekend getaway to Orlando in a few weeks. It's about 2 hrs from here. The car ride will be hard but I will take the strong drugs before we head out. My husband arranged it and everyone is looking forward to it. Even though I know it will be difficult and I'll pay for it afterwards, I'm looking forward to it also. We've already jokingly discussed that we might need tandem wheelchairs to accomodate me and my grandma who lives with me. Maybe all I will be able to do is to lay by the pool like a beached whale. But now I'm actually afraid to go.
  11. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    I have had so many problems with my insurance companies of late, that I asked for their chain of command, as to supervisors, full names, titles and then I asked where their offices are located.

    I think it scared the hell out of them.

    I just wanted the information so I could include it in an official complaint against them with the state insurance commission and Medicare's coordination of benefits office.

    However, I did tell them that I had seen an official in Mississippi on sixty minutes, who after Katrina hit, said that there should be a registry online, like the one for sexual predators, for insurance CEO'S, and I had to agree with that.
  12. LadyC

    LadyC New Member

    TXfmmom, maybe interrogating the interrogator is the answer. Thanks!
  13. LouiseK

    LouiseK New Member

    It is torture. It is very hard on the self-esteem because underneath it all you feel guilty just because you are being treated like a criminal, even though your conscious mind knows they are just trying to drum you out and save their money.

    I don't know if you care to try not to lose your job but at my place as soon as I went on STD (by the way I kept dragging my butt in for the whole time to keep up my work) they started harrassing me about was I getting better. If you are not getting better at a certain point they let you go. So there I am, leterally dying (lost 25 pounds and the whole business) and trying to convince my doctor to write my employer notes saying I was improving.

    Just be strong and try to do your best and then try not to think about it. It's a real intense mind-game.

    Best wishes.
  14. 2psnapod

    2psnapod New Member

    Hi - I am new to posting here but not new to FMS unfortunately. The poster who advised you to record everything was right. I had an attorney give me the same advice. Talk to the people in person - not on the phone - and have a small tape recorder concealed somewhere in your pocket or purse.

    If I had done that I would be a lot better off financially than I am now. While still employed (I'm a CPA) my doctor told me that I had to reduce my work load to 40 hours a week - a normal work load, Right? But the problem was, I was working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day Monday - Thursday, 9 hours on Friday, 8 hours on Saturday, and 6 hours on Sunday (a total of 71 hours a week). I had been doing this for over 6 months. A healthy, non-FMS person would be worn out by that type of schedule - I was nearly dead! So I take a note from my doctor to my work that says I can only work 40 hours a week. Period. No exceptions. Well, stupid me, I let them pressure me into continuing the overtime although they did give me Sundays off (nice of them wasn't it?). Then after about 4 or 5 weeks the personnel director called me into a meeting with my boss and his boss. The PD said I had to start working my full schedule again and that they could not allow me to work at all until I got clearance from my doctor that said there were no limitations on the number of hours I worked. I asked "What if my doctor will not agree to that?" The PD looked me dead in the eye and said "There are always other doctors." Meaning, of course, just find some doctor, any doctor, to sign off on it and forget it. I wish to this day that I would have recorded that. I could have sued that company and would probably be on easy street right now (money wise - not health wise). They then made me leave the premises and told me not to come back until I had a note from a doctor saying I could work unlimited hours. I went home in tears. I called my doctor's office and he worked me in immediately when they relayed to him what was going on. My doctor (who I love dearly) told me that he didn't want we working at all because I was too sick (he told me that when he gave me the note for reduced hours but I am the one who wanted to try to keep working) and there was no way in H E double hockey sticks that he was going to write a note saying I could work unlimited hours. He talked to me for almost 2 hours (and I was a work-in). The note he finally wrote said that I could not work at all and that I would need 6 weeks off (I asked for the 6 weeks - my doc wanted me not to go back at all but I was still delusional that I could eventually go back to work). I then went back to my office, laid the note on my boss' desk and said "I'll see you in 6 weeks" and left.

    After 6 weeks, my doctor cleared me to work half days for 2 weeks to see how I would do (again, my request - doc didn't want me to go back to work). When I came to work with that note, they said if you can't work full time we don't want you at all. Again, I leave in tears and my wonderful doctor works me in. This time I finally listened to him and took a note back to them that said I was unable to work at all. I received STD for 3 months. My LTD was denied. And my appeal for LTD was denied. Eventually, 2 years later, Social Security approved my disability. I have tried unsuccessfully through the years to hire an attorney to sue the LTD company (Provident) but I cannot find anyone to take the case on contingency and I cannot afford the retainer and legal fees. Because my LTD was through my employer (although the premiums were deducted from my pay) and not an individual policy I don't qualify for the class action suit against Provident.

    So, after all that, I guess I am saying - record the b@stards, if you cannot record them, take detailed notes as the conversations are happening; don't believe a word they say; if your doctor is not on your side or completely sympathetic, get another - NOW; and don't count on LTD because you probably will not get it - the insurance company will do everything they can to deny you. The next time they want to question you about your health, ask they to write the questions down tell them you will forward them to your doctor who will reply to the questions. Then, make an appointment with your doctor, and answer the questions together. Also, if you do quit work because of disability, apply for SSDI ASAP. They will probably deny you in the beginning but you can fight this - the attorney will not charge you to fight Social Security - they take their cut in the end from the settlement.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/20/2007]
  15. LadyC

    LadyC New Member

    2psnapod and Louisek your responses are much appreciated. It seems that every response I receive on this post is more frightening than the last. The experiences you mention are unbelievable.

    It all seems so unfair and just plain wrong. I guess I will have to search Florida law to see if recording people is legal here and then if so, invest in a tape recorder,