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Author Topic: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder  (Read 2647 times)

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Offline Diplo

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  • Posts: 3
New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« on: December 23, 2010, 01:13:45 PM »
Have been reading the info on the LTS topic for some time.  Decided to finally take the plunge and register.  Have been positive since 1985.  Kept working until 1996 when my T-Cells fell to low 2 digits and went through a series of health crises.  in 2005, an ailing sibling needed help so I I moved from New Jersey to Atlanta to help her.  She's better now, although we have had quite a year with three heart attacks, so we are grateful to reach the end of 2010 still savoring life.  Feel like I'm at a crossroads now and was seeking any advice you might share.  My HIV is under control (T cells at 700, VL undetectable) on truvada, norvir, aptivus, and isentress.  Had triple heart bypass surgery  last year, and was feeling like I had new energy after that.  On a disability pension from the feds through the foreign service (I was a diplomat), but feeling like I need to work again since the pension stays at a rather low level and is not keeping pacde with price rises.  There are strict limitations on what I could earn in being employed again, without risking the pension.  The pension pays for my meds and provides me with health insurance.  I'm 55.  Should I risk losing the pension (and my access to meds paid for by private insurance) in order to seek work again?  I have been doing some writing and volunteering and assisting my family and that has been good enough for me up until now.  But I feel like with my HIV manageable and my budget breaking, I could be doing more.  But if I take a job and lose the pension, I will have nothing to rely on as I hit my 60s and beyond, should I be lucky to still be around.  I welcome any advice or experiences anyone may wish to share.   

Offline bear60

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2010, 03:01:37 PM »
Hello and welcome to the forum. 
It's not easy getting older.  I turn 67 this year.  I just retired.  I do not have a pension and collect only a small amount from Social security retirement.  I can earn up to 35,000 a year and not loose my medicare and social security.  I would NEVER want to loose my health insurance.  At the rate things are changing ( snails pace) I'll be dead before we have single payer health insurance.
I hope you take into account that many people who return to work become sick again and then its too late to just jump back into disability.  They have lost all their benefits.  My life partner is 54 and on disability.  ALL OF HIS MEDICATIONS are paid for...100 percent.  ADAP picking up whatever HMO's and Medicare dont pay. If you are on Medicare, I would be very very careful about messing with it.
I had an HIV positive friend who had bypass surgery and was feeling real good. He never quit working. Then, about a year later, he developed Lymphoma and was dead in six months. His loss is still very painful.
I hope you and yours have a great HOLIDAY season.

Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline Diplo

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2010, 03:37:34 PM »
Thank you for your informative response, Joel.  I am happy to hear that you were able to retire and apparently have managed to keep your perspective about the value of what insurance gives us, even when sometimes it seems like such a hassle.  Congratulations on making it to 67.  I hope you have plenty of life ahead of you.

I am not on Medicare, as the Foreign Service seems to be a special case, and while they awarded me disability in being able to do that job (diplomat), SSI did not grant me disability.  I will be able to apply for social security at 62 and Medicare at 65 per the standard rules.

Yes, as any LTS knows, while we may go years when our health seems good, there's always the possibility of that turn around the corner.  That's what I fear most.  In this economy, I'm nor sure I could even get another job, and risking my health insurance and pension seems so big to me.  But I fear I am too close to all of this and cannot judge clearly what's the rational way of proceeding. 

I was sorry to hear about your friend whose loss you still feel.  I'm sure the bypass helped him, and I am amazed that he kept working through it all.  I am sad to think of the pain he must have endured in suffering with lymphoma.  I empathize with you, Joel, and thank you again for taking the time to share your unique perspective on my situation.

Thanks for the holiday wishes and a Happy New Year to you and your partner.  May 2011 be a healthy one for both of you.

Diplo  (Michael)

Offline leatherman

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2010, 04:33:04 PM »
Hi Diplo and Welcome to the forums.

I send you a reply via a PM which you'll receive once you've posted 3 times. Basically, it's a bit about my story with how working got my SS diability check docked for 3 yrs forcing me to lose 2 cars and 3 homes in those 3 yrs; and how I would advice caution as the future is a big ol' unknown variable, and all it takes is one monkey wrench to wreck it all. The good outcome though is that I have my health and ample time to volunteer with my ASO doing what I can to prevent and educate about HIV, and to fight for funding and access to the meds.

Good luck with whatever choice you make in what to do going forward into the New Year!
Happy Holidays!
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

All the stars are flashing high above the sea
and the party is on fire around you and me
We're gonna burn this disco down before the morning comes
- Pet Shop Boys

chart from 1992-2015

Offline yankygrl

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  • positively alive since 1985
Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2010, 08:03:39 PM »
Hello friend and welcome to the forum,

I was in the same job for 23 years and left 3 years ago.  Thankfully, I have disability insurance.  I am happy to hear that you are now feeling well enough to reconsider employment.  Remember, your health comes first, and if that means the ability to count on the medications you need without stressing consider yourself lucky.  I have downsized my life and am amazed at how little I can get by on.  Things can change very quickly at times and what looks like a great opportunity might morph into a stressful place (been there, done that).  I hope you make the decision that works for you.  Merry Christmas, blessed with another year.


Offline wolfter

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2010, 12:05:31 PM »
I received SSD in 1991 because of my AIDS defining illnesses.  100% permanent and total.  After a couple of years I got well enough that I finished graduate school and returned to work with the assurance that it'd be much easier if I ever needed help again.  After not being able to work in 2005, applied again and it took 5 years to get approved.  Ironic that I got approved now that I'm feeling totally fine.  I so want to go back to work again, but it's a precarious situation.  I guess they'd have preferred that we stay on assistance all those years instead of contributing.  I certainly hope you make the right decision.
Being honest is not wronging others, continuing the dishonesty is.

Offline bear60

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2010, 12:43:09 PM »
Hi Michael
According to what you said in your original post, you have not worked since 1996.  In this economy finding work is very difficult.  I heard a program on NPR about unemployed folk looking for work. The person who gets hired right now, is one who has had an uninterrupted employment history.
Just saying.
Also, are you living with family?  Or on your own?

Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline BT65

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Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2010, 06:29:49 PM »

I realize this is different than what you have, Diplo, but it is some info about SSDI and working.  I returned to work a little over a year ago.  This year, the SGA amount for people on SSDI who work is $1000/month.  I'm just pretty impressed with how long one can keep Medicare once they start working full-time.  I may be getting ready to test those waters.  So, keep your fingers crossed for me, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, that you'll make the wise choice, whichever way you decide.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

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Offline Diplo

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  • Posts: 3
Re: New To Forum: A Decision to Ponder
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2010, 09:40:03 AM »
Thanks to everyone for what you have shared.  You have given me insights into things to be more cautious about.  I live alone and have no partner, so I need to be conscious of additional risks I may take on.  You all have helped me so much in sharing your individual stories.  There's so much wisdom in this group, in not trying to re-invent the wheel.  Rather than seeking a new job, as Yanky Girl said, it may just be wiser to downsize and see how I can stretch the pension better.  I realize that I am so lucky to have it.   I'll let you know what I am able to do in going forward into the new year.

Happy New Year to all.  I'm happy to get to know you and to share your journeys with you as we each seek to make sense of lasting much longer than many of us dared to dream back in the bad old days.  As I remind myself daily, I try to focus on what good I can do for others today and not dwell on what's happened in the past or what uncertainties lie ahead in the future.  At the end of the day, it's what we are able to do for others that holds the key, I believe.  Thanks for helping me. 

Diplo/ Michael


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