SSDI: Quit when STD runs out, or get fired?

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Note: this question is about SSDI only, not long term disability.

I've been out on short term disability for 5 months. The maximum benefit period is 6 months, after which point my job won't be held open. My employers have refused all accommodations, it's frankly a hostile work environment, and I'm too sick to work anyway. My doctor is supportive of me pursuing SSDI.

Given that I'm not eligible for long term disability, is there any reason to wait for my employer to terminate me vs. giving notice at the end of my STD benefit period? Keep in mind that I'm 31, moderately ill, and might want to return to work in future. I've worked for this company since graduating from college, so having a termination on my record is not desirable. On the other hand, my biggest priority right now is putting together a strong SSDI application.

Thank you!
 

Shoshana

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I am not a legal expert but from my own experiences and knowledge, and from what you said,
my educated guess is that its better for you to give notice before they terminate you.

IF your doctor will support your filing for SSDI, as you said,
and if they will say that you are too ill to return to work, for now, and for the foreseeable future (they don't have to say you will never be able to, but they have to be willing to say, you cant work now, at any job, and are severely limited in your abilities to do any work tasks, and many home and recreational tasks, and will not be recovering soon.

If you let the job terminate you, they might give OTHER reasons, for terminating your employment there, which could be untrue ones, they would say ANY ones that they choose for their own benefit, to protect themselves, not yu,
some of those reasons could be bad for your future, possible jobs later on, and perhaps even for your record for the SSDI application.


I hope this helps you, and that maybe you get some more specific info from others.
That you did need and did get the STD benefit, I would think that it MIGHT help your SSDI application.

Also if you have a vocational rehab program in your area, that does a work eval, and their report would conclude you cannot do any of the jobs they offer, that would also help your application.

Inconsistency , and unreliability, in attendance and level of work performance able to do,
as well as severity of symptoms, and in addition, as well as, how your symptoms directly relate to work tasks, will all be helpful.

Be very specific in your SSDI application. DO not just say yes, list specific pain, weakness, mobility, etc, …

Your doc , you could also ask them to compare the level of your disability to those of more well known illnesses,
that are more frequently approved.
All ppossible documentation, helps, as well as other docs or medical ppl, and you can insist that the review for your SSDI include all the ones you send, not just some, as they sometimes do.

Take care.

I just had a thought. I wonder if you have worked enough number of quarters of years, to qualify for SSDI.
Well, they will determine that part, very fast, initially.
If not, you would have to apply for some other type of help.
 
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geraldt52

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I can't help you regarding termination vs quitting, but it will be important that you not get off on the wrong foot when applying for SSDI. You need 40 quarters of employment to fully qualify for SSDI, but you still qualify for something under SSDI even if you don't have 40 quarters.

I would recommend that you consult with a lawyer who specializes in SSDI right now, and get professional advice on how best to proceed. Most will give you an initial consult for free, and if you decide to proceed most will take your case on a no-win-no-fee basis. You don't want to inadvertently end up with a negative piece of information in your SS file, because SS will exploit it in every way that they can. Don't think that they are there to help you get your benefits. Your having previously gotten STD will have no impact on how SS handles your case. Your having tried and failed to work part time, or return to work after stopping, is more likely to be held against you than help you. You need professional advice.
 

Mary

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@nettle_tea - I would consult with an attorney as soon as possible. From my understanding, to qualify for SSDI , you must not be able to work; hence, not be working when you apply. I don't know how long it takes now to process SSDI applications - when I applied in 2002, it took about a year, which included an appeal when they denied me the first time. And I was one of the lucky ones. They may be faster now, I just don't know.

I didn't know that I could have applied for SSDI when I first went out on temporary disability (which lasted a year), I waited until my temporary disability ran out and then applied for SSDI, so I went without disability income for a year.

So the sooner you see an attorney, the better. He or she can advise you on the best way to proceed.

@Shoshana, I don't think this is good advice and actually may be harmful:

On the other hand, IF you are able to, an option, is that you TRY to return to work, there, briefly, in some capacity, and find you are not able to be reliable there in your attendance, or to do your job tasks, and then you quit, and use that info,
to show SSDI, that you did try, but could not be reliable or capable at a job.
As I recall (and you need to verify this with an attorney), you have to be considered unable to work for at least a year on SSDI. So if you 're on STD for 6 months, and then return to work for a month, and then decide you can't do it, well, that 5 months you had of not working no longer apply to your SSDI application. You'd have to start over from day 1. This is one of the reasons why you should see an attorney right away, to sort this out. I think just working a day will cause your 5 or 6 months on STD to be no longer applicable to your SSDI application.

Disability attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, the amount set by statute - they only are paid if you win your case.
 

taniaaust1

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I agree with what the others are saying, get some legal advice as Ive heard of too many doing things which have turned out making things worst for them.

Also if you have a vocational rehab program in your area, that does a work eval, and their report would conclude you cannot do any of the jobs they offer, that would also help your application.
I dont know what country you are in but my experience with this was very bad. I got put into a program which helps disabled people get work and made to sign contacts of I think it was only 6-8hrs per week work that I was willing to do . They then used this as almost like a GET program and were hoping I'd be able to do more work over time but I never was able to increase my weekly hours and just got worst from all this.
 

Learner1

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From my understanding, to qualify for SSDI , you must not be able to work; hence, not be working when you apply. I
This is not exactly true. I am on LTD working part time. The LTD company keeps giving ultimatums about applying for SSDI. I went to tbe local SS office only to learn I make too much with my PT work (which isn't much) to qualify for SSDI, so thats the real problem with working and being able to apply.
 

Mary

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This is not exactly true. I am on LTD working part time. The LTD company keeps giving ultimatums about applying for SSDI. I went to tbe local SS office only to learn I make too much with my PT work (which isn't much) to qualify for SSDI, so thats the real problem with working and being able to apply.
This why she needs to get an attorney. The Social security website (under "What We Mean by Disability") says:
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
However, it also says:
If you are working in 2018 and your earnings average more than $1,180 a month, you generally cannot be considered disabled.
So somehow we're both right! :confused: Obviously it's tricky and I would not attempt part-time work if my goal was to get SSDI, unless I was told by a knowledgeable attorney that it was okay.

After I was on SSDI for quite awhile, I learned about an SSDI program which was encouraging people on SSDI to attempt part-time work without jeopardizing their benefits. They wanted people to see if they could return to work.

Anyways, it's complicated! :sluggish:
 

Shoshana

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Okay, I defer to @Mary, and to the others here, who said that trying to return to work and not being able to do it, might be harmful to an application.
SO I deleted my paragragh on that, and others of you, can delete your quotes of my saying that.

In my own case, that DID help me, as also, for me, did the work evaluation done by the Voc Rehab that matches people to part-time modified work, since their report concluded that I could not even do any of their limited jobs.
I understood, at that time, that one can be eligible as long as one cannot work enough to earn enough money , to support oneself. Maybe now they have set the exact dollar amount.

Of course any ability to do anything, can be held against someone's claim.

IN MY own case, it also had helped me enormously, to have made attempts to return to working,
because I did not know until later, but I was just short of one single quarter of work total, and would NOT have been eligible to be considered at all, for SSDI, if I had not returned to try. The brief attempt I made, made the entire extra quarter valid. So perhaps, it might be helpful to someone else, to count up their quarters, to see if they have enough, before giving up attempts at some bit of work. Working any small part of a quarter, counted for the quarter, when I applied.

I also knew another person who worked on and off, but did get SSDI , due to her inability to be consistently able to work.

ANd though most people DO need and benefit from a lawyer, I myself, had a few lawyer consults, and their approaches did not feel right for me, and did not lift any of my stress, so I did it without, and in my case, I did succeed.

But I am sure everyone else here, has correct ideas, and it is good to seek advising from lawyers, and to not work if one cannot work.
 
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Hi, thanks for all the advice! Turns out the leaving process was more drawn out than I imagined - I still retain my benefits as long as I am engaged in the long term disability process. Even though I've been denied long term disability, I have six months to file my first appeal. After that, I'm not sure. I don't expect to win, but I intend to keep appealing (without stressing it too much) as long as that remains a possibility.

My position is no longer being held for me, but it seems I wasn't "fired." I'm in a weird limbo of "unpaid leave," where I no longer have a job, but the company is still obligated to pay their share of my insurance premiums.

I suppose if I ever return to work, I will just explain that I became ill while I was an employee in good standing, performed well until my last day, then exhausted my sick leave. I will have to explain the gap in my resume anyway.

Now I'm starting to turn my attention to my SSDI application.