• Should i leave work and take disability payments? I am divorced, 2 young children, and my life centered around work.

    Asked by jREINHARDT on Monday, December 3, 2012

    Should i leave work and take disability payments? I am divorced, 2 young children, and my life centered around work.

    I will try and lay this out in a nutshell. Basically I have a big decision to make in the next 3 or so months and I am looking for help. I was able to return to work 7 months after my diagnosis and I have been doing great ever since. I have one hurdle left I have not been abe to concur and that is the seizures and driving. I have LTD that pays 60% of my pre tax earnings as post tax payments, basically a very nice amount, and a life insurance policy that would allow me to take an 80% policy payout and keep the rest for later, hopefully much later. My position requires quite a bit of driving, so unless i can drive at my pre -cancer levels, ie 2-300 miles a day I will never be allowed to retake my old position, not much chance of this happening, as it would be a real moral shortfall on my part. My life to this point has revolved around my work, but I do know my diagnosis changes everything as i found out when my wife left me 60 days post diagnosis. Suggestions?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • karen1956's Avatar

      It sounds like you are trying to talk yourself into taking the LTD.....the way you lay it out, it sounds reasonable....but I'm no expert in this area. If you take LTD, would you be allowed to work in another other field without sacrificing the LTD benefit? How will you feel about your sense of self if you are on LTD vs not being able to do your job that you previously had. I guess I'm one to go with my "gut" feeling as I believe it is never wrong.....I also like writing the pluses and minuses of both choices and see what comes out the strongest....and then sit on your decision for a few days/weeks and be sure it is the best decision for you...good luck with your decision and wishing you many years of good health....

      over 8 years ago
    • jREINHARDT's Avatar


      You are pretty perceptive. I have never been one to sit back and take something from anybody. Call me a diehard republican, but right now I am torn between #1 taking the LTD which would bar me from anytype of for profit work in the future, but would give me a basic COLA raises every year, or option #2 trying to continue working, but in a possibly modified capacity that I am working with my employer on. Not sure this would be the greatest of situations, based on what we have discussed to this point, ie pay decreases, business needs, etc. I feel like I owe my employer as they have stuck by me from day 1, even though i was not eligable for FMLA (8 months on the job), i was granted a solid 7 months of leave and never missed a dime of pay, they actually ran fundraisers for me to cover my out of pocket medical costs 100%.

      I am also a bit scared of what i would do with all the extra time. I currently work 10-12 hours a day, very minimal amount of hobbies (I am sure i could find a few :-), but I do have 2 young girls (ages 2 and 4) that i am sure i can lean on to fill my time. It will ultimatly be my decision as i dont see my employer forcing me out, but rather placing the burden of not only making the best decision for myself as well as the best decision for the business, ie. adding value while not sucking up a bunch of payroll.

      As for the life insurance, I will probably take that at the beginning of next year and set up a trust for my girls as there isnt much point in waiting until my passing to get that set up.

      over 8 years ago
    • RachelB's Avatar

      I'm sorry you are facing these difficult decisions. I would contact a disability attorney. My husband had a very serious car accident and went on long term disability and the insurance company took advantage of his diagnosis and long story short just stopped paying. He legally had every right to collect but this is the dirty insurance world. We had to have a law suit for 4 years and began to loose eveything we had. He could not work during this time because of the way the policy was constructed. Really make sure you have all your ducks in a row first before you make any permanate decisions. WE had to prove he could not do what he used to do in the financial world. He did not win.23 years of paying the insurance premiems. Then I get cancer and health innsurance ended because the employers let him go because he really could not come back after all this time, and woah we could not afford the insurance. We were just getting back on our feet and getting up to speed with buying insurance and I got Cancer.He still now needs work and now he can't take advantage of his old position. We are starting over.Get council.Take your time deciding.. I'm really praying for you and your precious family.

      over 8 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I'm sorry you find yourself having to make a difficult decision like this.

      The LTD company may force you and your employer to fully explore them giving you a modified position within the company (or force you to seek a new position with another employer.) I would contact an attorney who specializes in this area before you make any decisions.

      over 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      If you are working and your only disability is that you cannot drive, it is highly unlikely that you will qualify for LTD. I would definitely discuss the situation with professional financial adviser.

      over 8 years ago
    • Sugarshine's Avatar

      I am so sorry you have to make these kinds of decisions. It is really hard to decide what to do when you are also trying to deal with the fact you have a life threatening disease. That being said, it sounds like you are almost resigned to your passing. It is a good thing to get your girls set up, but cancer doesn't mean you are absolutely going to die from that. There are lots of survivors here. I haven't reached that point but I would like to. I wasn't supposed to be here now though and I still am. The only absolute is we will all die someday, just don't know how or when. Like everyone here says, get some information so you can make the best decision for you and your girls. This is a very good supportive site, lots of information from people who have been there done that so can commiserate or give you ideas you might not have thought of. I wish you best of luck with your journey. Your children will help keep you centered, I know mine have me.

      over 8 years ago
    • jREINHARDT's Avatar

      Just to give everyone a bit more info since I only had so many characters to explain the first time.

      I have Grade IV brain cancer, with a pretty grim prognosis. While that part sucks, I AM NOT GIVING UP ON LIFE, just altering how i go about living the rest of it.

      There are no issues getting approval from the insurance company for LTD, as my diagnosis is considered terminal, again I AM NOT GIVING UP ON LIFE.

      over 8 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      What to do when you can make more money going on disability than you would if you continued to work? I can certainly see your dilemma. In my opinion, you should take the disability and spend as much time with your daughters as you possibly can. Live your life to the fullest!!

      over 8 years ago
    • mtolady's Avatar

      First let me tell you I will be praying for you...My farther had the same cancer 7yrs ago...I agree w/tickelingcancer spend time w/your girls they are what is important now again my prayers and thoughts are w/you......

      over 8 years ago
    • Bellamore's Avatar

      Spend your time with your girls! Did you know little girls learn most of their self esteem from their daddies? It is a precious responsibility to be a Dad. Give it your all! God Bless

      over 8 years ago
    • Sugarshine's Avatar

      Way to go! I know how you feel, I was told I would have maybe a year, that was a year ago. I have stage IV pancreatic cancer. I decoded never to give up just keep on trying whatever there is. I learned what was important and that I have to put myself and treatment first. You have the opportunity to put yourself and your girls first. Go for it. Live life to its fullest and enjoy your babies!

      over 8 years ago
    • KarynBe's Avatar

      I'm sorry about the decisions you are forced to take as you begin this journey. I was a single mother working three jobs to put my son through college at the time of my diagnosis. I had to work. I would take some time off right now and think about this if I were you. Give yourself some time to think about what's important. What other options do you have? I was able to work for a few days after chemo and right before my next chemo round. I took sick days when i couldn't get out of bed. Do you really think you can drive at your pre-cancer levels? If I could do it all over again, I would have taken full disability. It's too hard on the body if you don't rest. I wasn't 100% at any of my jobs, and it took it's toll on my mental health. If you can financially afford to take some time off, please do it. Blessings to you. Stay strong. I share my experience here: http://onepinkwarrior.blogspot.com/ if you're interested

      over 8 years ago
    • merr's Avatar

      Contact the Cancer Legal Resource Center (part of Lloyla University in Los angeles). they have been a wonderful resource for legal matters about employment. There are federal laws protecting you and they are able to connect you with a free lawyer for advice while you are going thru treatment.

      over 8 years ago
    • lalaluc's Avatar

      My brother was diagnosed with the same type of cancer/ tumor 10 years ago... and by the grace of God, not to mention his positive attitude he is still with us. He also has a 6 year old child and is a great dad. Recently his tumor cam back and he is now dealing with this, but lots of love and support around him. I am sorry that you are going through all that you are, make sure you find support somewhere so important.

      over 8 years ago
    • GBM's Avatar

      I was in the exact same situation last year and decided to take disability as I could no longer do the "material and substantial duties" of my job. I was lucky to not have any seizures and cannot believe your Dr. has not insisted that you should not be driving. I am sorry to hear your wife left you after diagnosis but you need her to help you with the kids and put them first. Money wise, since you will be collecting disability tax free you won't be that far off from what you were making before, especially with the new tax rates. Also, depending on the carrier you have, you can probably take another position to supplement your disability. I would suggest hiring an attorney that specializes in disability claims to lead you. Good luck.

      over 8 years ago
    • stillerfan7's Avatar

      Do you have your children you may be entitled to a larger amount of Social Security benefits. Luckily for me my wife is my primary caregiver and can be sure my family gets all the help we are entitled to. We have a 14 yo son and a 3 yo daughter. I tried to keep our family life the as it was prior to my diagnosis which was not so hard as I have a good amount of STD from my company. Lately I have felt a shift at work as my balance issues have increased and my tasks have become limited. I go to work every day as long as I do not experience a seizure ( I need 3-4 days to get back to myself) I have experienced 2 seizures and 1 ministroke which limits my ability to the point where I have not driven in 2 and 1/2 years. I also have balance issues which limits my time in the plant where I work. I am 49 and have worked since I was 15. So the idea of not working is hard for me to handle.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Fusionera's Avatar

      I would confer with your physician, because it sounds as though your diagnosis may well affect your ability to perform your job safely. I don't know what state you live in, but here in CA an employee can receive disability payments through the state for up to 12 months. After that there is SSDI available. It sounds as if you have other financial resources as well.

      I would also advise what resources are available to you to retrain for something that does not require that level of driving. The Dept. of Rehabilitation in California, for instance, is paying for classes to update my skills and help me get back into the workforce. I too had a career that enveloped my life, and I decided that life was more than working myself to death.

      I do NOT understand what you are saying about a "moral shortfall" on your part. You can only do what you are able to, so don't beat yourself up about not being able to return to your old job.


      over 7 years ago
    • PerryLowell's Avatar

      I would take it to have more time with my kids.

      For your work ethic, do volunteer work.

      about 7 years ago

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