Medicare-Can I Apply While on Sick Leave?

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Jay Q

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I am a federal employee who recently started using my accumulated sick leave after working for the first two plus years after diagnosis. In my preparations for filing for Medicare/SSDI, I cant tell if I have to wait until I have exhausted my accumulated leave before I apply since I will still receive a paycheck until the leave is exhausted. Ideally I’d like to get the five month clock started if possible.

If anyone has any experience, advice or information, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
 

Nikki J

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I think as long as you have the diagnosis and are not working you should be ok. Do your leave papers say you are returning to work? That might make it tricky.

A lot of people have got back benefits though even when they stopped work before formal diagnosis if they could document it was ALS that made them stop.

Sorry you had to stop but 2 plus years post diagnosis is impressive!
 

MVFinVA

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We did that with my PALS. We went into the SSA office while he was still on sick leave. ALS is on a list of items that automatically qualifies for SSDI. Make an appointment before you go and ask what paperwork they need. My PALS claim was decided in less than a month.

Have you looked into Civil Service Disability Retirement? My PALS also received that. They took an offset from it for the SSDI. If you qualify for that apply as soon as possible. It took 7 months for them to find him disabled, with one line that he had ALS!? The VA and SSA worked at lightening speed, not OPM. Talk to your personnel office. the OPM disability was a lot more paperwork than the others and more complicated. If I can be of any help let me know.
 

KimT

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I stopped working and used up all my sick leave while waiting for SSDI to kick in. I had accumulated over six months sick pay so the college was still paying me when I got my first SSDI check. It was approved in less than two weeks. It took another three months for my long-term disability through the college to approve me. I fought hard and ended up needing more than one doctor to sign off on it but it's a good thing I stopped working when I did because getting my financial affairs in order was a full-time job for me. It all worked out.
 

blitzc

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I just had my SSDisability/Medicare appointment last week. I was told to apply the very first day I am not working-no earned income . Even if I use sick leave, my employer would consider me actively employed. So it is what the employer tells SS. The five month waiting period for medicare really stinks the gentlemen told me but at least it is not two years. Having never paid into SS, I cannot receive disability. However it can take place for others within days for ALS once you have no "earned income".

Hope this helps. We were very confused until we talked with SS. They expllained everything and were helpful, compassionate, and understanding.
Cathy
 

KimT

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When you fill out your SSDI form, your doctor will put on it your last day of work. My staying on the payroll and using up all my sick leave had nothing to do with my ability to work. I was collecting full benefits for my whole five-month waiting period. When Medicare kicked in I was still on the college's health care plan and used it as secondary until it ran out. Then I bought a Medicare supplement.
 

Jay Q

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Thank you all for your replies. I have an appointment this week with SS.
 

dldugan

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Thank you all for your replies. I have an appointment this week with SS.
Not all SS employees know all of the rules to the extent they should. It is important for you to understand what you believe you are entitled to before your appointment. If there is a difference between what you expect and what you are told you are due, politely ask for a review by a supervisor.
 

KimT

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I agree. You need to go to SS with all the information. The MOST important piece of info is your doctor's letter stating that you have ALS and are no longer able to work. I put a huge cover sheet that read, "THIS CONDITION IS CLASSIFIED AS TERI FOR DISABILITY PURPOSES." These claims are expedited. It only took me a couple of weeks to get approved.
 
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