Scared of losing my job Any advice?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Willow9, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Willow9

    Willow9 New Member

    After years of unrelenting pain, digestive problems and sleep issues, I have been diangosed with FMS. Early this year, I went on disability and felt supported by my company. I had fainted there quite a few times (from pain) and they told me I needed to find out what the problem was and fix it. Now they are telling me to come back to work since no "medical" test is showing what the issue is exclusively. I can not go back to work right now but am afraid if I do not try they will fire me. Disability denied my benefits because they said "I can not prove I am in pain." I do not feel supported by my company anymore - the last time I talked to my boss he said "I heard you looked really good - why are you not back at work." Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Empower

    Empower New Member

  3. dragon06

    dragon06 New Member

    If you have a diagnosis of FM then I would go back and fight your benefits. Get a lawyer if you need to. You have a diagnosis from a doctor so they shouldn't be able to deny you...they will try but you have to fight them.

    Next I would apply for SSDI. Get the ball rolling on that just in case you cannot go back to work. You want to have some back up.

    I would also have a doctor's report for your boss saying that you are not fit to return to work yet.

    You need your doctor's complete support on this.
  4. tony23

    tony23 New Member

    I wouldn't go back.Risking your health isn't worth it. If you lose, your job you can always find another one. If you die, you're out of luck. Why chance it? Talk to a lawyer before you do anything.
  5. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    you may be able to file for FMLA--Family Medical Leave Act.

    You can access info on the internet and this may give you additional time to sort things out.

    Good luck to you!!
  6. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    It sounds like you are in a bad spot, when a doctor is not backing you up for a medical reason for disability, then they assume you must be ready and able to work. Just a question, you did not say the type of work you do, but did your job contribute to your medical problems?

    If so, you may need to be filing a workers' compensation claim for what is called CT or continuing trauma. It is like getting sick over a long time from the work. With workers' compensation, if you are sick and off work, they will determine you percentage of disability. Companies have a "return to work" program where they make a job you can do with your disabilities.

    I know it sounds complicated but it isn't - it's the law.

    By the way, if you do have a job related illness and can no longer perform the same job duties, the insurance company can give you vocational training for a new job. You just need a good attorney. It is also helpful if you go to the personnel department and tell them if you ever need to see a doctor for a work related injury, you want to see your own doctor. If possible, give them the name of your own family doctor (if you like them).
    [This Message was Edited on 08/25/2008]
  7. Willow9

    Willow9 New Member

    Thank you greatly for the advice. Looks like I have a lot of research to do on these boards and the internet.

    I probably was not clear at first but my doctor is 100% supporting me saying I can not work. Right before I went out he was going to hospitalize me for exhaustion and pain. The disability company is the one denying my claim.

    I am getting a huge wake-up call. I have always had a good relationship with my manager and the company. Before this I hardly EVER missed work and when I did it was usually something with my kids. I have been there over 10 years and am rated at the highest level. I am a manager and my job is stressful but I think the long hours are what affects me the most. I am so disappointed in how I am being treated by people - I honestly can not believe it - I guess I need to stop whining and start doing something.

    Please keep the advice coming and thank you for listening.

  8. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    The federal Family Medical Leave act states that if your company has 50 or more employees total in all of it's locations, they have to allow you 12 weeks unpaid leave if you have a health related issue, and continue the same insurance benefits you have been getting for that time period. If you return before the 12 weeks are up, they have to give you the same job back.

    The problem is you won't have any income during this period, and because FM rarely improves much during that relatively short period, you should plan to be out longer than 12 weeks. Then your employer has the legal right to terminate your employment due to an "extended absence". This is perfectly legal as long as they never mention your extended absence is because you are sick. That is what my employer did to me, and they did it by registered letter so they wouldn't slip and reference my illness in an actual conversation. They consulted a labor law attorney before they did this. They are only going to be supportive for so long, which you have found out.

    Did your doctor fill out an "attending physician's statement" for your disability claim, stating she has diagnosed you with FM and you can't do your job duties due to constant debilitating pain, brain fog, and any other symptoms you may have that would interfere with your work?
    If she did, I don't see how disability can deny your claim.
    If this is the case, you should consult an attorney, as has been suggested above.

    One other thing I found out is that you need to at least initially put a "return to work" date on your claim, say two months out, even if you and your doctor are not sure if you will be able to return or not. This can always be updated on subsequent update forms they always request. I'm pretty sure they will just about always deny short term disability claims if they don't have a return to work date. If your claim didn't have this on it the first time around, try re-filing with a date.

    I am only telling you this stuff from my own experience.

    Based on what you have said, if you are out more than 12 weeks, you will probably lose your job. If you read my profile you will see what happened to me. Like you, I was a manager and had been with my company for a long time had been instrumental in its growth, long hour and all. I was devastated when it happened.

    But I finally realized my job was secondary to my health about 2 weeks after I got my termination letter. It takes a lot longer for some people to come to terms with this. It takes as long as it takes, and that is OK, and your going to go through the whole range of emotions in the process. Let it happen.

    So right now your focus has got to be on your health. If you get better, you WILL be able to find another job. I had to realize my job was just a job, not a matter of life and death. Your health IS a matter of life and death. You have to take care of yourself before anyone or anything else.

    I'm sorry if this sounds like a lecture. I just don't want you to be blindsided but what is likely to happen. Many others on this board have been through the same thing, so you don't have to go through this alone.

    You have our support!
    [This Message was Edited on 08/25/2008]
  9. acesk

    acesk New Member

    I am going thru deciding whether to stop working. I'm also a manager and the above posters have helped me tremendously during this difficult time of deciding what to do. Thanks so much! I also agree that it is not worth my health but it is hard to make the decision to stop working. I cannot keep up the pace the company has had me on! I need to stop for my sanity and my body.
    Thanks again.
  10. steach

    steach Member

    Have you had an independent medical exam which was "demanded" by your company?

    The reason that I ask, when I was on STD, my employer wanted me to see a general practioner for an exam! After reading my union contract, the ADA, labor laws, and civil rights act, I found out that my doctor and I had to be in agreement to the physician who they were demanding was to complete a physical exam.

    Anyway, after researching this further, I found that I could schedule an appointment with a specialist in the field of FM/CFS. I refused to see "their" doctor and we settled on an independent rheumatologist.

    Even if you have already been seen by the company's doctor, you can challenge that due to the fact the general practioner is not a specialist in the area of FM/CFS. DEMAND to see an independent doctor who is well-known. I had to travel four hours, one-way, and spend the night in a motel just to be seen by a wonderful doctor- Dr. Hal Blatman in Cincinnati, OH. He did an eval and capacity tests.

    You can challenge and appeal the company's ruling/requirements. I did and went on a disability separation from my employer but my benefits continued.

    Even if you had an attorney send a letter to the company on his/her letterhead asking for an independent exam, they probably wouldn't know what to do!! I bet they'd comply!

    Good luck and don't give-up,

    Just an "FYI"- When I returned to work, even after the disability separation, they had to give me a job in "equal duties" as I had before I left. I was teaching and they had to hire me back in a teaching position.

    Make sure to get an independent physical exam- don't use the comapny's doctor!!!

    When I had my independ exam, my rheumy gave me names of other rheumys that were well known in the state. I did some research on the net and gave the company a couple of names of doctors who my doc and I agreed upon! They set-up the appointment for me. Don't let them take advantage of you!!
    [This Message was Edited on 08/25/2008]