How do i apply for long term work disability? Please advise.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by nastaranjune, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. nastaranjune

    nastaranjune New Member

    Hello all, and thank you for your advise.
    I have been a nurse for the last 17 years, and have of course fibro, herniated disc in neck and lower back, chronic fatigue, and bad migraines. I started short term disability on 11/28/09 as my condition was worsened, and i reached my breaking point. I could not longer hover over patients, or even sit behind a desk and do advise nursing. By the end of this month (Feb) my short term disability will end. It will be 3 months. I have an appt with my primary tomorrow, and i feel like i have to go in and convince her that i need to go on long term disability. This is not the state disability, just the long term disability which i can get for 120 months if doctor fills in necessary paperwork, and agrees to do that.

    I am sooooooo nervous and afraid she would not agree. For those of you who have been there and done that, please advise me on what to say, and how that works. How do you get your MD to agree to do that. So far she has been great, and very generous with medication for pain and otherwise. I just don't know how to present myself. Please help me, and tell me about your experience.
    Thank you
  2. HeavenlyRN

    HeavenlyRN New Member

    * I am also a nurse
    * I started on my STD from work on Dec 23rd (but already had 7 weeks of disability from Sept 24th to Nov 16th d/t foot surgery on Sept 24th.
    * I was just informed by my employer that I have to apply for LTD
    * I also have FM, low back problems (bone spur between L2-L3 and sacroiliitis, and just found out that I have something called straightening lordosis (my cervical spine is straight instead of curved)
    * sounds like we're "twins separated at birth"!!

    Caledonia gave you good advice. Talk to the folks in HR. Talk to your doctor. Be assured that this is not the first time your doctor has had a patient who needed to ask for assistance in applying for LTD. And, if you feel it will be necessary, start the SSDI process as soon as possible. It's not an easy process - nor a quick one. And yes, get a lawyer involved. Here in New York, the lawyer only gets paid if you "win" your case. I don't know how it is in other states, but in NY, approximately 90% of applicants are denied the first time they apply. It's nice to know that someone else is handling all of the grief for you.

    Good luck.

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I really don't know how the hospitals run their insurance programs involving STD and LTD, so I would take the others' advice and talk with your HR department.

    As far as talking with your doctor, just be honest. Tell her how badly you feel and that you just are not able to perform your job on a daily basis -- whether your days are 8-10-12 hour shifts. Tell her that you are not able to go back to work and would like to start the LTD process at your place of employment, then maybe apply for SSDI, and ask if she would support you.

    I had exhausted my STD and was approaching the time to apply for LTD when my company offered a VRIF (voluntary reduction in force). They needed people to volunteer for layoff and older employees to retire. They offered an incentive package for both. For the retirements, they "gave" you so many extra "points" on their retirement if you had the required number of years, but were not old enough.

    That is where I fell in. I had 30 years service, but was not old enough to meet their required number when you added age + service. So, they gave me the required points, and I took an early retirement and did not go on LTD.

    So, one year after I retired, I applied for SSDI. I was told by my local Social Security office that I had to be "disabled" for one year before I applied for SSDI, or my disability had to last at least one year to be considered disabled. To make a long story short -- I applied for SSDI by myself (I did not involve a lawyer and was suggested that I did not need one until I was denied for the first time) and WON on my first application! It took 4 months from the time I applied until the time I was notified that I got it. And ... my application was randomly chosen to be evaluated by the regional office as part of the district office's internal audit program!

    During the year before I applied, I did everything that I could to see if I could improve my health to be able to go back to work, because I really enjoyed working. I asked my doc for a script to go to physical therapy. It didn't help me. I had a series of 3 lumbar epidural spinal injections, and they did not help, etc. That way, I could include that on my application for SSDI to show them that I had made an effort to feel better. I also went to a rheumatologist and other specialists for the same reason and did as they suggested. There were more doctors to list on my application and for them to contact.

    I think there is a section at the very beginning of the posts about applying for SSDI and tips. Also go to the site and read up on it before you apply. As the other posted said, about 90% of all cases are denied the first time. I think they deny the claims and make you re-apply one or even twice just to see if you are really disabled and want to fight to get it.

    It took my sister, who has a ton of problems, a total of 3 years to get it -- she was denied twice and the process is just very time-consuming. A co-worker of my husband was also denied 2 times and he had to take an early retirement, too, due to his health.

    The biggest problem is that once you have left your job, you are left without medical insurance unless you still maintain insurance thru your employer, which you probably will if you go out on LTD. But some people just have to quit their jobs when their health gets that bad, and when they quit, they don't have any insurance. You are not eligible for Medicare until you have been determined to be disabled for 2 years.

    Good luck with your doctor's appointment.
  4. nastaranjune

    nastaranjune New Member

    Thank you for taking time to reply and give me such helpful hints about what to do. Heavenlyrn, that is incredible how close our issues are. I got the application for LTD already since i posted and filled it out. Hope all goes well tomorrow.
    Have a blessed and painfree evening.