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Author Topic: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.  (Read 5623 times)

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Offline wardo

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« on: November 04, 2011, 05:22:57 PM »
I am new to this site so I hope I can navigate it. I have after 11 yrs of very hard work rebuilt myself to where I think I can return to work. I have ssd as well as private disability. It was a horrible legal battle to get that 11 yrs ago. My relations with unum provident have always been adversarial. I recently moved back to New York after living in southern California for 14 years. Does anyone know of any physicians who specialize in helping people in my position? The dr I picked off of the Internet is not working for me. He doesn't listen to me, he seems to have answers before I am even finished speaking. I am affiliated with gmhc and they have been great for support but are not able to steer me in the direction I need. I am fearful that I will be given the bums rush so to speak by my disability company before I can fully function in society after basically being absent for 11 years. Thank you to anyone who would have any input on this subject for me. Hopefully I can access the site well and read responses.

Offline rondrond

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,712
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 05:54:25 PM »
Hi, wardo,

welcome to the forums.

What have you done for the past 11 years?  I mean, in rebuilding yourself? Do you mean healthwise, social skills, updating your education (how old are you and do you have a High school diploma, college grad) to the 2011 workforce?

I live in Texas, so am not familiar with the disability requirements for returning to work in New York...but I would think more along the lines of   part time? That way you can keep the benefits you have while assessing whether you can handle whatever you are afraid of.

..then, if it is too much, too soon, you won't be out of the system.

As for the doctor, I find that I have to develop a relationship with them...the first meetings are not the best..they have to get to know me, and me them...then I can make a decision if they are the right choice.

I hated DrG when we first met, and for the same reasons you listed (esp...not listening to me)  but now, I love her.

Good luck in your moving to a new life and your endeavors....

Ronnie

"I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I sure as Hell am not where I was"
Wynnona Judd

Diagnosed/HIV
1993
AZT
Norvir
1994-2001
Crixivan/Epivir/Zerit
No Meds for 7 Years

04jul07/DVT-right leg/Bi Lateral PE's     
16oct08/DVT-left leg
Sept '09  6 blood clots in left arm
Coumadin 5mgs
                                     
Atenolol/50mg/2x
Hydrochlorth 25mg/1x
Gemfibrozil/300mgs/2X
Symbicort
Proventil Inhaler
Potassium
Rhinocort


*APR 08~Viramune/Truvada
March08  CD4 330 23% VL 452.000 
*Jan09 Med change~Epzicom/Viramune

Aug09   CD4 523 23%  VL<48
Diagnosed: COPD
Dec 2013: CD4 645 45% VL 49
Med Change: Viramune/Epivir/Ziagen/Isentress

Offline wardo

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 07:21:04 PM »
I have physically rebuilt myself. It took almost 8 years to find a set of meds that worked. 3.5 yrs now undetectable and my t-cells have recently jumped to an astronomical 522. I have a BA with emphasis in environmental chemistry and an AS in physics with a minor in fine arts.  I have a total of almost 10 yrs of corporate experience at high end retailers in visual merchandising. Both positions managerial. My private disability company offers return to work, but I need to get my act together fast. Due to my history with them I have no faith that they will act in my best interest. It was a 2 yr battle after being diagnosed with full blown aids before I was approved for disability to begin with. I am 44 now. I feel like I am just now coming out of a decade length nightmare. I am nothing but hopeful for the future- truly. I just know there has to be a Dr in NY that somewhat specializes in helping people pull everything together. How do I explain an 11 yr gap in my resume and portfolio?  Thank you for taking the time and effort to respond to me.

Offline deibster

  • Member
  • Posts: 153
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 02:22:25 AM »
Hi, It sounds like you are talking about a life coach or therapist, not a medical doctor, if you are talking about resumes. There are people who return to work after dealing with cancer, after caring for dying parents for a decade, etc.
Try going to Friends In Deed, www.friendsindeed.org
on Broadway just below Houston Street. They have a big group, support group & everyone there is dealing with life threatening conditions. Ask them if they have an occupational therapist, or life coach. If they don't, ask for an appointment with a therapist, counselor. I found the people there to be friendly & helpful when I lived in the area.
If you need a new medical doctor, try seeing Dr. Dennis Karter on Washington Square West. Just try to remember, it takes a few visits to get used to every new doc.
Hugs from cape cod, Deibster
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 02:28:09 AM by deibster »
Poz since Dec 1992. Meds since 1995. Disability since 2005.

Prezista/Norvir, Epzicom, Cytomel, Prevacid, pravastatin, Fenofibrate, Remeron, Zoloft, Concerta, doxazosin, Allegra180, Nasocort, Centrum, Flax Oil, Fish Oil

Offline BT65

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9,847
  • Vegas baby!
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2011, 04:36:01 AM »
I returned to work after being on SSDI for 17 years.  I started part time, as Ron suggested, which was best especially since I hadn't worked for so long.  You may want to contact Vocational Rehabilitation if there is one in the area, which I'm assuming there is.  They can assist you with getting back to work, and put you in touch with someone who should be able to help you navigate through the whole benefits/returning to work part.  But, make sure, if you ever do go back to full time and earn over the $1000/month you're reporting every month of that to Social Security.  The benefits counselor I had had given me some wrong information (not intentionally I'm sure) and I ended up owing Social Security quite a bit (luckily they're letting me make small payments). 

I don't regret going back to work, and I also have returned to school. And I'm 46, so I understand totally how you feel.  Good luck! :-*
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Theyer

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,481
  • Current ambition. Walk the Dog .
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2011, 05:38:14 AM »
Hello and Welcome to the forum Wardo

Cannot offer any practical help as I am a UK resident but I see your already getting advice from particularly fine heads.
Look forward to hearing more about your move and plans
Best wishes
mhtv
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline wardo

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2011, 10:10:51 AM »
Thank you to everyone for their advice. I have just started seeing a life coach thru gmhc. 2nd visit this next week and he had me book a double session. I am also seeing the legal dept of gmhc for advice as well. I am trying to be proactive to protect myself from any unforeseen issues. Due to having to sue my last employer (they fired me 3 days before LTD kicked in (causing the 2 yr battle) and also falsely stating my last day of work which gave the LTD company (unum) an excuse to deny my claim for almost 3 yrs. I have still after 11 yrs never received a booklet on my LTD benefits. If I asked the benefits dept.,  I was referred to legal. When I asked legal- I was referred to benefits. Hopefully gmhc legal will be able to help with that. Again, I thank everyone for taking the time to post their thoughts and suggestions. It is funny that Deibster mentions Dr. Karter. I found their website (Village Park Medical) and I was going to do a surprise walk-in visit to speak with their office manager. If I had done that with my current physician I would have turned around and left. I very much appreciate the personal recommendation. It is the first one I have had anyone give me. I will also check out Friends in Deed. Thanks a ton!

Offline wardo

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2011, 10:15:25 AM »
And hugs back! Your posts have made me feel so much better and less alone in all of this.

Offline Theyer

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,481
  • Current ambition. Walk the Dog .
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2011, 10:15:34 AM »
See I told you they where good.
"If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people ."  Tony Benn

Offline eric79

  • member
  • Posts: 1
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2011, 12:27:52 PM »
@Wardo  Just asking: What if it doesn't work out and you need to go back out on disability? Is your LTD company willing to work with you on this this?

Thanks and good luck!

Offline Jody

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,817
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2011, 09:26:40 PM »
Hi Wardo...some of the doctors and centers that have been mentioned on this great website fir NYC doctors are:

Astor Medical Group- Dr.  Litvinova
Mt. Sinai- Dr. Ky and Dr. Goldenberg
St. Vincents- Dr. Charles Paolino
NY Hospital of Queens -Dr. David Rubin

Also as a good friend here on the boards mentioned regarding your work history gap which in all honesty is probably the case for so many:

The good news is that in the time you've been gone resume-writing has become more interesting and a creative process. You can construct a resume that de-emphasizes the chronology of your employment and instead focuses on skills/achievements.

Is there anything you did during that time period that was of a volunteer nature or consultative? Any part-time work? Not that it can't be navigated, just curious.

You must feel like you are embarking on a great journey -- that's how it reads from here.

Jody
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline wardo

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2011, 11:41:35 PM »
Hello! And thank you for the continued replies. The way my LTD policy is written states that any vocational rehab etc must be agreed to by both parties. If I have to go back on disability within 6 months there is no re-evaluation. After 6 months there is the waiting period and then re-evaluation. I would be in the same situation I was in 11 yrs ago with regards to unum.  They offer a return to work program thru my former employer, but a stipulation of my lawsuit settlement was that I would never apply for a job with Tiffany and Co.  That and the amount of the settlement were the only stipulations.

Thanks for the Dr. recommendations, I will look into them. I will also be attending the big meeting for Friends in Deed this Tuesday the 8th. Sadly I have not been in a position to do anything of value the last 10 yrs (outside of rebuilding my body and health).  Quite literally I would have a cold or virus every other month. It has been quite a trip. I am exceedingly lucky in that to look at me you would never think I had ever been sick. All of my energy went into the gym and regaining my weight. I am just 8 lbs lighter than before my illness.

Yes. It feels like I am starting the adventure of my life. I am trying my best to be proactive as I take my first steps. I am meeting with gmhc legal department tomorrow to find out what I should and should not say to Unum, whom I have to speak to this Wednesday or Thursday about my latest lab results and the fact that I have not found a primary physician yet ( although I believe I will have one by this Friday from several different recommendations.

Thank you again to all for caring enough to share their insight and empathy. It is truly appreciated.

Offline TnMan62

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 05:06:10 PM »
I, too, am one of those people, who has been away from the "workforce" for many years, and I get Social security, but, would like to try to go back to work, but do not want to lose the benefits I am used to. I feel stuck ..... but, feel I am improved enough that I could at the very least do a part time job. Just not sure how to go about all this, especially after being out of the workforce for so long.

Offline rondrond

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,712
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 03:56:25 PM »
Hi TnMan..

Welcome to the forums. BT65 has some good advice on getting back to work. It's pretty daunting, I know, as it is such a battle to get the benefits in the first place.



Good luck

Ronnie
"I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I sure as Hell am not where I was"
Wynnona Judd

Diagnosed/HIV
1993
AZT
Norvir
1994-2001
Crixivan/Epivir/Zerit
No Meds for 7 Years

04jul07/DVT-right leg/Bi Lateral PE's     
16oct08/DVT-left leg
Sept '09  6 blood clots in left arm
Coumadin 5mgs
                                     
Atenolol/50mg/2x
Hydrochlorth 25mg/1x
Gemfibrozil/300mgs/2X
Symbicort
Proventil Inhaler
Potassium
Rhinocort


*APR 08~Viramune/Truvada
March08  CD4 330 23% VL 452.000 
*Jan09 Med change~Epzicom/Viramune

Aug09   CD4 523 23%  VL<48
Diagnosed: COPD
Dec 2013: CD4 645 45% VL 49
Med Change: Viramune/Epivir/Ziagen/Isentress

Offline TnMan62

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 05:02:07 PM »
Daunting to say the least..I don't even know where to start, or if I should. With the current economy, and having been so long since I was employed, I'm just very unsure as to how or who to even try to approach about a job.

Offline AndyArrow

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,196
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2011, 12:32:57 PM »
Hello Wardo & TnMan --

I hope you both get as much out of these forums as I do.  The people here are really GREAT!!  As winter approaches and my heating bill rises I too have been toying with the idea of a part-time job but worry that if I work too much they will say I can handle full-time which I know I can't.

Good luck either way!
AA
It is not the arrival that matters.  It is the journey along the way. -- Michel Montaigne

Offline poz83diag92stillhere11

  • member
  • Posts: 1
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2011, 08:09:01 AM »
Same boat as you but think you need to consider this move VERY CAREFULLY, and I know it is sad to think you can be productive, but the system is such that it has built in disincentives for people who have gone through hell to get on to SSDI/LTD to get back on it.
1- Dr. Paul Bellman in NY is long term doctor, He had an associate named Dr. Su (Korean name)--I got him from GMHC as well and agree they are not geared to support your issues. You first and foremost need a great doctor. And probably a great shrink IMHO to support the issues that are very very tough in decisions like this. I recommend Dr. Su highly, if he is still in area, and Dr. Bellman with some reservations (bed side manner etc. practice is very large).
2-consider, it took you 11 years to rebuild your health but the time to rebuild it, and the variability of factors involved, like meds change, diabetes kicks in, co-infections, doctor's opinion, I have been able to get my diabetes under control with major exercise but if I stop for a day it begins to come back---its a major time investment-and I get to sleep all I want, so that has helped my health get better- in other words art least I am on LTD/SSDI for a reason, that is, if I were not on it my health would no doubt be worse, and if you return to work your health may stay the same, but consider the stress, hours, and also the time you have to exercise and devote to staying healthy etc. My former job kept me working often 70 hour weeks, also if I return the STD/LTD amounts have been drastically cut so that if I had to go out again I would get about half what I get now-How is a person supposed to want to risk losing half their income with a family to support?
3-Unum Provident is one of the most slippery corrupt cos. in the country-authoer's opinion and many others I know. They will promise you  major incentives to return to work, and I don't trust them at all, if you show capacities that kept you out, then they can start you all over, if it does not work out and hire their own SCHILL doctors and you can get the boot fast. Also some mention bar for SSDI will get higher, and face it, with economy now they are doubtless not approving nearly as many cases as 11 years ago.
4-Check into Linda Nee and DCS from Maine-she lives in state where Unum HQs are and is former employee of Unum who has posted all the scoop on dealing with Unum on her very wonderful blog-and she works with people to make sure Unum stays on up and up on your claim--not a lawyer-but perhaps more valuable than a lawyer in negotiating and being a former insider--I trust her based on years of reading her blog-have not had to use her but with Unum, its a never ending battle.
5-you said after 11 years you got yourself  back to state you can work, well that means you were in a state where your immunity was probably low T cells etc. I agree its possible to restore yourself, but if you like me, have other issues like Hep C looming and have not been able to clear them, then well, you know what I am saying. ANy issues that you have any doubts about staying the same on, you need to be sure your new co. is supportive and has good insurance for LTD at least of the same amounts as your old policy.
6- Don't think of this as me saying don't go back. By all means, I understand the tremendous loss of morale and demeaning stigmatizing feel of getting an LTD check every month and feeling even in your own mind that other more worthy people maybe should be getting my check--but you can't think like that--you have to do what is best for your survival and happinesss, so its a VERY personal decision, but the financial disincentives are all there and the government, with current regimes, has done nothing to help people by making laws to rain in insurers like Unum to encourage and protect people like us.
I personally may be in a position like you if the new pills for Hep C turn out to clear me but I could not handle the interferon. I wish you the very best and sometimes "Doing the right thing" is doing what is best for your health and your family....efven when it means society might say you are a "loafer: and parasite, its a false view--you are  a hero--a fighter, and a survivor..nobody asked to get this virus--and most of us, least me, got it before people even knew it existed (1983). I never expected to be alive in 2011--I have a tentative title for a memoir--Lazarus Kvetched! LOL...Don't worry, be happy---BTW< Ca. INsurance commissioner basically called Unum crooks out and out...that is unusual from politician...
Stay well ::)
I will check back, this was the first post I was really able to know the answer for as I have been studying it for about 7 years myself...and anticipating since you never feel secure with Unum...sigh...good luck!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 08:15:16 AM by poz83diag92stillhere11 »

Offline LongTimeSurvivor

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  • Posts: 183
  • I don'no...there may be Zombears...in theres...
Re: Returning to work after 11 yrs on disability.
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2011, 09:50:49 AM »
I would recommend Dr. Robert Chavez on E. 12th Street near Union Square. He has a large HIV/AIDS practice. I like him. However he has what I describe as a brisk personality. He gives you the time you need and will explain things but he doesn't engage in a lot of chit-chat. He not adverse to you suggesting a different course of action than what he might. At least, that is my experience, but then I'm not confrontational when I do it and he's known me a long time. However, I don't know if he's accepting new patients at this time. I've been with him since about '95.

As to returning to work...you might check with Temp Agencies. They'll want to know you can do Word, Excel, that sort of thing. Don't expect miracles with the economy the way it is but at least, if you do get some temp work, you can get use to working in an office again without the long-term commitment right away.

Best of luck.
Of course it's important. It's an email...

 


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