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Old 07-06-2016, 03:20 PM #5 (permalink)
KimT KimT is offline
Extremely Helpful Member
 
Join Date: 2014
City: The Beach
State: South
Country: US
Diagnosed: 08/2015
Interest: I have been diagnosed with ALS.
Posts: 2,040
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KimT KimT is offline
Extremely Helpful Member

Join Date: 2014
City: The Beach
State: South
Country: US
Diagnosed: 08/2015
Interest: I have been diagnosed with ALS.
Posts: 2,040
KimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud ofKimT has much to be proud of
Default Re: When did you decide to stop working?

I was officially dx in August 2015. We were just starting a new semester (I was a college professor with close to 26 years with the same public college.) Unfortunately, my immediate supervisor retired a few months before my dx. The new boss, an attorney, was not very accommodating. My first move was to get approved under ADA to work 100% from home. I had a solid case because I had developed and oversaw a program that was 100% online and I had a home office with everything I needed. They went back and forth for a week or two and then approved me for one semester. Same time they started requiring me to do huge amounts of administrative work (I had been a Department Chair before so they knew I could do it.) They claimed it was to make up for my not serving on committees but the amount of work in itself was a full-time job. So I went out on FMLA and bought myself 12 weeks. I had enough sick time to carry me until March and the 12 weeks would get me to the end of the semester, then I had three weeks off for Christmas. During the first few weeks off I knew I could never go back. There was too much else to take care of and my best friend just had a pacemaker implanted, my 79-year old brother was here for the Winter (his condo is 300 steps from mine.) Both of them needed help and I was it. So I went to HR and pleaded my case. The HR Director agreed to let me stay on the payroll until my sick leave ran out. That was a blessing because they paid 100% of my medical and it didn't run out until Medicare kicked in. As soon as my short-term disability (sick leave) ran out, my long-term disability kicked in. I had to fight more for that than anything else and they are still trying to reduce it to the minimum because they say my pension (which I converted into a payout IRA) COULD have been taken monthly.


Here are some things I've learned:

No matter how much of a star you are at work, cover your butt.

Use FMLA to protect yourself and make sure you follow up on any forms your doctor sends in.

Once you have stopped working, apply for SSDI immediately (read sticky.) Get your doctor to write a cover letter with your diagnosis. I was approved within 2 weeks and Medicare started five months from the last day I worked (month following.) You can go online to see how much your SSDI benefit will be. My estimate was within $50 of what their site said. That will start the month after Medicare starts because they pay one month in arrears.

If you have a work long-term disability plan, make sure you get your doctors to fill out their portion correctly. Same with any life insurance demand for accelerated benefits.

Your Federal students loans will be forgiven BUT you will have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven. IRS debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy nor can student loans. What CAN happen is they have hardship "settlements." I've gotten these for clients in the past (I'm a CPA.) But you do need to consider your finances.

Keep any funds that you now have in your 401k or IRA in those funds for protection against creditors.

The bottom line is weighing the pros and cons as relates to your quality of life. You can't beg or buy one day back. I thought I would miss my job, the students, my colleagues. Aside from a few colleagues who keep in touch, I regret working all those Summers when I could have been doing things I liked better.
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