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How Many Stage 4 Girls are getting SS disability..

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  • margaritams
    margaritams Member Posts: 183
    edited April 2019
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    Hi Candy678, I wanted to jump in here because I noticed that you said that your company has short- and long-term disability policies. In that case, please do not quit your job without further investigating those options. Your health situation is exactly why companies have these policies. Particularly given the hostile sounding work environment that you have, you should not give up on any of the benefits that are due you. Their meanness should not prevail over your rights.

    I believe it is a standard requirement that one must use up all available sick days and other paid leave before being eligible for short-term disability. Depending on the plan and possibly state requirements etc, short-term disability may run for just a few weeks or up to a year. Generally, companies design their short- and long-term plans to work together so that short-term benefits are exhausted at the time the employee becomes eligible for long-term disability.

    Although I am no expert and do not know the details of your plan, in my experience (which includes twice being on short-term disability from two different companies) the short-term policy pays about 60% of income for the duration of eligibility though some companies start out higher (depending on seniority etc) and over time reduce to around 50-60%. At the end of the STD coverage period, generally an employee has two options - either return to work or apply for long-term disability. Well, three options, you can always quit but you don't want to do that when there is a LTD policy available to you. Since your condition is incurable, you should be eligible for long-term disability. (And btw, fatigue, neuropathy and other 'side effects' of treatment are legitimate contributing factors to disability even if your cancer is considered 'stable').

    When you are approved for LTD, then you can stay on it for as long as the company policy allows - often, that would be until you reach retirement age (ie 65). While LTD may pay you less than STD - I think it is usually about 50% of your salary, this is still likely above what you would receive from SSDI so that's why you'd want to go through the trouble of applying for both short- and long-term disability. Depending on your salary, this could amount to thousands of dollars difference over time especially given how many years you have before retirement age. The insurance company that provides the LTD policy will require you to file for SSDI and then, assuming that LTD is higher than SSDI, the insurance company will reduce your LTD amount by the amount that SSDI pays you. But once you've applied for SSDI, then your disability clock is ticking towards Medicare eligibility.

    Now, COBRA. It is federal law that you are entitled to continue your health coverage under COBRA when you leave your employment whether because you quit or are disabled etc., however, you may have to cover the entire cost of the insurance yourself. I'm not sure whether you or your company would pay for the insurance while you are on short-term disability - you'd have to check on that. COBRA coverage is for 18 months but if you are disabled then you can elect to extend it for an additional several months. A total of two-years of COBRA coverage then means that you are covered until Medicare kicks in after 2 years on SSDI. The caveat is that the company is allowed to charge you even more than 100% of the cost of insurance for this extension period but at least you'll have health insurance.

    This is complicated stuff. Having sorted through much of it myself, I do understand that. My advice is to always communicate with your company and the insurance company in writing. If you have a phone call, follow-up with an email or letter to confirm your understanding of what you've been told. And, request full copies of all current policies that apply - do not rely on the HR department or your supervisor etc to tell you what what's in the policies or what your rights under these policies.

    I hope this is helpful. Good luck! Keep us posted on your progress.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,076
    edited April 2019
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    Nicole, I believe you can stay on your husband’s medical insurance even if you apply for SSDI. That’s what I did. Even tho I was approved for Medicare, it was Part A. Since I was covered under dh’s insurance, I did not buy Part B of Medicare. I get a disability check (not much but that’s beside the point), tho it is from the state of Ohio because I worked in a school district. But if you have any questions, contact Social Security.


  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited April 2019
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    MargaritaMI-

    Thank you sooo much for your explaination to a very confusing subject.  I am filing away your post for future reference.

    From the way I understand my company, Yes I have to use up all available sick/vacation days first.  The short term disability coverage is continuous, not intermittent, days for 3 months total and pays 60% of my pay and I still have health insurance coverage with the company paying their portion as always.  The long term disability is 50% pay and does not include any health insurance coverage.  And at that time, the company would be mandating that I apply for Social Security Disability (so I would be the Governments problem, not theirs I guess).  This is the way I understand it.  I have a booklet from the company on long term disability benefit, but not the short term portion.  I need to ask for a booklet for short term.  But the booklet is also confusing.   I think they want it that way--legal terms and it contradicts itself.  From what I can deduce, my payment from Social Security Disability is very comparable to my pay now working full time, so the 50% pay with the  long term company policy would not be the way to go.   

    It gives me a headache just thinking of all this.  I don't want to have to deal with it all.

  • margaritams
    margaritams Member Posts: 183
    edited April 2019
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    Hi Candy-678, it is typical that once on long-term disability you are required also to apply for SSDI. It would be surprising that your monthly SSDI payment would be larger than 50% of your gross monthly salary since it is calculated based on a formula of percentages less than your average monthly salary over the entire period of time that you've paid into SS though the formula is kinda complicated so who knows?! Also, it could be the case if, you changed jobs at some point that resulted in a significant decrease in pay compared with previous employment. Finally, just to clarify, if it turns out that your monthly SSDI amount is actually less than your LTD amount then you would receive the SSDI amount plus the difference between SSDI and 50% of your current gross monthly salary so even if it is only a small amount, it could still be worthwhile to apply for LTD.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited April 2019
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    MargaraitaMI and others thinking "I don't get it".   The website for Social Security shows what I would make if I was considered disabled right now- and it is almost the amount I take home now.  Gross, Net, I get the 2 confused.  But I am comparing the website amount with the amount of my monthly paycheck now working full time. Is this the way to look at it?  Is the amount on the Social Security website the amount of the check I would receive monthly?       Yes I changed positions within the same company when I found out about the MBC. I could not continue to do my old job with the bone mets (lifting heavy loads) and the low white counts (infection risk) and also the fatigue (physically more demanding job).  I took a HUGE paycut---literally 1/2 my old salary.  But I am still in the workforce and still have the health insurance through the company.   

  • margaritams
    margaritams Member Posts: 183
    edited April 2019
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    Candy-678, it sounds like you are looking at the correct info from the SSA if it shows your current benefit. Regarding your current salary, I think you would want to look at the gross pay - ie: the total amount you are paid before any tax withholding or health insurance contribution deductions, 401k deductions etc. Both SSDI and LTD are taxable income but for determining what your payment would be, I think you want to look at the numbers prior to deductions. Given that you changed jobs and took a major pay cut recently, then yes, it may well be that your SSDI figure is larger than 50% of your monthly gross pay figure.
  • Lumpie
    Lumpie Member Posts: 1,553
    edited May 2019
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    Sharing this by way of FYI because it pertains to SSDI and may be of interest:

    On Disability and on Facebook? Uncle Sam Wants to Watch What You Post

    ...photograph(s) posted on Facebook....could be used as evidence that the (claimant) was not disabled.

    In its budget request to Congress last year, Social Security said it would study whether to expand the use of social media networks in disability determinations as a way to "increase program integrity and expedite the identification of fraud."

    ...administration officials said..... that social media could be a treasure trove of information about people who are applying for or receiving disability benefits.

    (Proposed) budgets in the last two years have proposed reductions in the disability insurance program... "Do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security?" ..."... It's a very wasteful program, and we want to try and fix that." Mr. Mulvaney on CBS's "Face the Nation" in 2017.

    Social Security estimated that it made $3.4 billion in overpayments to disability insurance beneficiaries in 2017, in part because of their failure to report work activities. {I calculate that this is 2.5-3% of disability payments.}

    According to the article, "Social Security officials are considering other changes that could make it more difficult for people to qualify for benefits." {Compassionate allowances are not mentioned. I believe that those are authorized by legislation.}


    Article dated Mar 10, 2019.


    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/10/us/politics/social-security-disability-trump-facebook.html

    {Note that NYT allows accesses to a limited number of articles per month without subscription.}

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited May 2019
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    So I am finally thinking about applying for SSD.  I have posted here before and PM'd some of you.  I had my first mini-stroke this past weekend and I am wondering if that was the tipping point and it is time to quit working full time.  But I have a BIG question.....

    The ESTIMATE on your Social Security Statement that says " If you become disabled today your payment would be ----".   How accurate is that?????   The amount on my statement is doable for me.  I am single and my income is the only income.    BUT if the real amount granted to me is smaller I will be hurting.  

    Those that get SSD, was your payment about the same as the estimate????

    How can I know for sure what my payment will be BEFORE quitting my job?????

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Bump-----to my question.  No responses yet.  Help, if you can.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,076
    edited June 2019
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    Candy, is there a social security office in your area that you can visit? If so, why not start there? While I was eligible for SSDI, I had to apply for money benefit from the Ohio state of service employees retirement system because I worked at a school. So I don't know how accurate the amount shown on the SS statement is. However, my guess would be that it is pretty accurate.

    I've gone to my local SS office which is about 15 minutes away for some information on Medicare. I actually had to go several different times within two weeks—long story—but the people there were very professional and knowledgeable. Please consider either visiting an office if possible or calling the SS admin. I've also made phone calls to them and have had good response.

    If you go in person simply to question the benefit amount, there is absolutely no reason to disclose to them why you are asking about disabilty, they are not going to get in to any medical questioning. They won’t be sizing you up to see if you are “really” disabled. There’s no need to explain you are dealing with mbc. It is only when you fill out forms to apply that they need that info.

    Keep in mind, the kinds of questions you have are no doubt some of the most common questions they receive. So they are going to know the answers. And you ahve a right to that information

    Also, I applied online for disability. It was approved pretty quickly. I don't think you can mistakenly apply to the wrong website. Its isnt as complicated as it sounds.


  • LoveFromPhilly
    LoveFromPhilly Member Posts: 1,019
    edited June 2019
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    just a quick (maybe!) question:

    I am trying to make sense of the process for disability.

    I am 42 years old, and I need a certain number of work credits (I believe it’s 22?) to be approved. The work credits are gained with steady work for 10 years without much disruption. One can make 4 work credits a year I believe. Work credits are dependent upon income. The income doesn’t have to be too high (I thought I read somewhere around $1500/per one work credit?)

    I’ve worked since I was 13 years old. However, I was in grad school from 2010-2016. I worked in grad school but minimally, and did it on student work-type grants.

    I have worked steadily since March 2016. So this means I have only been working without a break for over 3 years. However, I am self-employed and was starting up my practice, and don’t have a huge amount to show for my net income from the past three years. Gross income of course is higher of course, before deductions.

    How long do I have to wait to apply for disability if I choose to? How much more do I have to make? I am a bit frustrated with myself at this moment with my business in that made an error of not putting a little bit away each month to pay my taxes this year - and I owe a couple thousand and just don’t have it to mail to the IRS (separate issue, just venting). My annual income for 2018 reported on taxes is only about $13,000, since I am working so much less since my diagnosis in 2017.

    I am worried that I’ll never make the cut and be approved for disability with my work history and the situation I am in.

    Anybody have any thoughts, input or suggestions?

    Thank you so much!

    Philly

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Divine--- Thanks for responding to my questions.  Yes, we have a Social Security Office in my town.  They only handle appointments though-small town, small office.  I will have to call a 1-800 number and set up an appt.  And I think they only want to discuss things with a person when they are ready to apply for services.  Also, I guess I am a little cynical and I thought down those lines that you mentioned --- them "sizing me up"--- and I wanted to have my ducks in a row first.  Then I can make an appt, go in for the appt, and have my medical records (proof of MBC) ready and know most of what to expect from the appt-- amount to expect, date of disability question squared away.     I am ok with the payment amount being within a couple hundred dollars from the stated amount.  I just don't want to be blindsided and they tell me my pay will be considerably less.  Because by that point (applying for services) I will have already quit my job.          Also, what website did you apply on???   I see on the Social Security site where the amount is posted that there is a link that states "Ready to Apply" or something like that.   Would I click that spot???  

    Philly--- I cannot help you as I have always worked for companies that withdrew Social Security from my paychecks. And I have not had any breaks in employment.   But I hope you find your answers.   All this is a lot to deal with in addition to our health issues.  Maybe you can take Divine's advice and make an appt with a Social Security Office near you to discuss your situation. 

    I have also thought about an attorney versed in Disability issues.  But they would want a fee and I am too frugal to pay it.  But Philly this may be an option for you.  

    Where does one go for answers to our questions to see if SSD is a possibility in our specific cases???????  

  • LoveFromPhilly
    LoveFromPhilly Member Posts: 1,019
    edited June 2019
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    thank you Candy! And I totally support you in going on disability. I’m sorry about the TIA and hope you are recovering as well as can be. A friends sister just had a stroke at age 40 and it was a total crazy fluke. We were all shocked.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Thanks LoveFromPhilly for the support!!!!!!    I am not having any lasting symptoms from the TIA.  Just something else to be in the back of my mind--- will I have another sometime.  I see my MO and PCP this upcoming week and the neurologist the week after.  I know they cannot tell the future, but I am going to question them on the chances of another stroke. And what we can do to prevent that.

    I just hate the thoughts of disability--- the stereotyping that people that collect are mooching off the Government and lying around watching soap operas and eating bags of potato chips.  That I am giving up too soon, that I "look healthy" and can stay in the workforce.   I don't want my family, friends, and docs to think ill of me.   

  • lauriesh
    lauriesh Member Posts: 82
    edited June 2019
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    philly,

    You have to essentially have worked 5 of the last 10 years. You are right that you only need around 5000. A year. So, if you made that amount or more in 2016, 2017, 18, and 19, you would just need one more year ( 2020) in order to meet the work credits.

    Candy, my amount I received was what it said online. I also had young children, so I received extra for them

  • Momchichi
    Momchichi Member Posts: 98
    edited June 2019
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    Hi Philly,

    I was medically approved for Social Security disability but the onset date was different from my cancer diagnosis date because I had not yet earned enough work credits. It was only 3-4 months difference. I don’t get very much each month since I stayed home with kids and had previously worked a state government job (ironically processing SSA disability claims) so that has a separate retirement/disability fund. Also, I continued to teach part-time while disabled and it was ok since I earned so little but a SSA rep had to interview me to make sure my job needed to accommodate me due to disability (I can’t lift the required 30 lbs, need time off for treatment) and I have to report any changes to work right away (hours, earnings, etc). By working 16 hours a week Sept- May, it actually increased my monthly disability check by about $50. I would recommend you calling or going in to see if the SSA rep can advise you on your particular scenario. There is also a trial work period where disabled people can keep their benefits for a year or so while trying to re-enter the workforce but I’m fuzzy on the details of that program. When you do apply, all you need to provide is copy of pathology report and you should be approved quickly under their compassionate allowance/fast track program.

    Hope this helps! I worked for the government several years ago but remember everyone worked hard to approve cancer claims as quickly as possible.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Thanks Lauriesh.  I don't have children so that won't apply to me.  But that is great you got a little more for the kiddos.  

    Oh my gosh,  another facet to all this..... I am working at a less paying position now than before.   So if they look at work credits based on income for the last 5 years then that will influence the payment amount, right???    If I apply now, then the higher paying position (before 2018) will be counted.   The longer I wait to apply the newer, less income years will take precedence and that would lower that estimated amount of payment, right???       

    Time to apply is looking more and more correct.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Momchichi----  You are the knowledgeable person I am looking for.  Please review my posts and see if you have any advise for me.   Thanks.

  • Momchichi
    Momchichi Member Posts: 98
    edited June 2019
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    Candy,

    I believe the estimates are pretty accurate, I never had anyone tell me otherwise and I processed thousands of claims over the years. It’s an average of your earnings history but not sure how many years they go back to figure that out. I also want to alert you to the waiting period before benefits are paid out - it’s 5 full months from when you quit working or started earning below a certain amount to become eligible for disability so you wouldn’t get a monthly check until that 6th month afterwards. So even if you were diagnosed one date, you may not be found eligible until another date because you continued to work full-time. It is all very confusing because everyone has a different work history and situation. I know some hospital systems and the American Cancer Society have social workers and patient navigators to help you through the process or at least get started. Don’t pay an attorney!

  • LoveFromPhilly
    LoveFromPhilly Member Posts: 1,019
    edited June 2019
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    this is very helpful thank you!

    Basically I need to go talk to someone.

    I tried to go when I was initially diagnosed - but they have like Buckley proof glass in Philly and the people you first get to speak with don’t give you much information.

    It was incredibly discouraging. I’m not sure how to get behind that bullet proof glass to actually speak with a case manager? Is there a way to make that work?

    Thank you so much for your help!! I feel like I may just be getting somewhere! I don’t want to stop working because I love what I do, but it is not sustainable for me to work with such a low income and get by. My family has been supporting me, but I’d love to take some pressure off them if I can

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Thanks Momchichi.  I knew of the 5 month wait.  I would probably get short term disability from my employer for 3 months of that 5 month period.  That is the plan.  My hospital/cancer center is small and we do not have such help.   American Cancer Society is an option.  I will try to call them Monday.  

  • JanetMara
    JanetMara Member Posts: 147
    edited June 2019
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    Hi Candy-678,

    I have read all your posts and I am on STATE DISABILITY(CALIFORNIA)(short term), my employer is not paying me,instead it is the state of California paying me 55% of the largest total amount I made among the last 4 quarters. There is a waiting period of 7 days from the date your disability began( example:last day worked 05/10/2019 and date the disability began 05/11/2019),the state does not pay you for the 7 days waiting period(from 5/11 thru 05/17, so that on this period,use your sick leave, PTO) It takes them 2-3 weeks for processing but they will pay you lump sum thru a DEBIT card(thru BOFA) they send you,once a 1st payment is established,they pay you regularly ( automatically load your EDD card) every 2 weeks. I believe they can pay you up to a year of short term disability. There is an illustration on the internet about the state disability calculation,you might want to look into it.

    Ask for the EDD STATE DISABILITY FORM from your employer or from the nearest ILLINOIS EDD (EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT) office,FILL IT UP,HAVE YOUR ONCOLOGIST or PCP sign it then mail to your state EDD office.

    Hope this helps you my dear,God bless you,you are strong,God is with us,let's not be tired of praying,He will let us thru all this trials and struggles as we fight this cancer.Good luck,lots of hugs.God bless your family too.

    Janet

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Janet-   Thanks for the post and your support.  Unfortunately our state, Illinois, does not have State Disability.  I checked a while ago.  I do have Short Term (up to 3 months) and Long Term Disability through my employer.  I discussed those with HR a while ago also.  I have been thinking about this topic for a while.  Now I have had a TIA.  I am going to talk with my MO at next appt (tomorrow) and will revisit discussions with HR also.  You know how it is, a process with employer.  Nothing easy.  God bless you too.

  • illimae
    illimae Member Posts: 5,607
    edited June 2019
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    Hi all, I just went on the SS website and applied online. After answering a series of questions, I was notified of my approval within 2 weeks, with payments beginning after 6 months.

    I suggest applying first, even if you’re not sure you qualify. Let them tell you what’s needed or not, that way the ball is rolling at least.

    Also, I don’t recall the estimated amount exactly but I think what I receive is close, within a couple hundred dollars. It’s not much to live on though, luckily I have other means.

  • JanetMara
    JanetMara Member Posts: 147
    edited June 2019
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    I am so sad and I am sorry my dear Candy.

    Praying for all of the answers of all your needs,God answers prayers,keep hoping ,keep praying.

    Then the next course is to try what Illimae did. Go to SSA.GOV ad open or establish an account and from there ,it will guide you how to fill up the disability papers.

    Thank you Illimae.


    Janet


  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,076
    edited June 2019
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    Here is the Social Security Administration link to file for disability

    https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/apply.html

    There will be a link to click “complete your application on line".

    Click that link.

    Scroll down. There will be a blue box that says “apply for disability".

    Then follow instructions.

    I did not get medical records compiled to send in. It asked for authorization for them to contact my doctor for the info. I gave the authorization and the ssa took care of it.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Thanks all.   I am going to discuss with my MO at tomorrow's appt.  I have discussed with you all and a close friend. Otherwise I have kept my thoughts under wrap.  I think I am doing the right thing pursuing this, but there are always doubts.  Am I giving in too soon.  But then I think, IF I live another 10 years then that is like being retired for 10 years---not much time if I was retiring at regular retirement age.     I am single and SSD will be my only income, but if the payment is close to estimate it will be comparable to what I make now working full time.  I am frugal with my money so I think I can make it.  Just no fancy living.  

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,076
    edited June 2019
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    Please do your best to get rid of the view that a person on disability is mooching off the government. First of all, that is not YOU. You've paid into this system your entire work life and the program is in place for those who need it. That is YOU. You are NOT getting a government handout.

    Also, you do not need to tell anyone you are collecting disability. It is truly no one's business. Aside from my husband and son, I've not mentioned I'm on disability to hardly anyone. That includes not telling my siblings and other family members with whom I'm close with. It’s just none of their business! If you go on disability and the subject of your work stoppage comes up, you can simply say you retired. If someone gets too nosy asking about your finances, have a few already thought out answers to deflect their intrusiveness like, “Oh, we all have to be careful with money once we stop working." and things to that effect.

    And you need to reframe this process in a different way, and stop trying to punish yourself thinking you are “giving up". Why be so strict, so hard on yourself? Who is the winner in that scenario? It sounds like you are in a very transitional time of your life. That isn't giving up, that is moving on. It's very possible that this will all work out and you receive good compensation on disability and life becomes less stressful without the daily work grind. Be open to that!

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Divine--- Thank you for having my back.  Love ya.

    I AM too hard on myself.  I AM my own worst enemy sometimes.  My circle of friends/aquaintances will know something is up.  You know how it is, "how is work going", "do you have a busy week planned at work", etc.  If I quit work they will know.  And they know I am single. So Yes they will wonder/suspect how I am living on no paycheck.  True I don't have to specifically say " I am on Disability".  

    Just always that underlying thought, " Could I continue to work a few more years?"   If the meds keep me stable I could eek by like I have been doing. Around and around the brain goes. 

    Thank you sooo much for all patience with me.  You and this site are a Godsend.  

    Hugs. 

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,098
    edited June 2019
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    Update to all ( who want to know )---

    Sorry to harp on the subject.  I guess I need to put on my big girl panties and just make a decision.  

    I just came from MO appt.  I brought up the subject of stopping full time work and collecting SSD.  Even though I have posted MANY times here, this is the first I have discussed with MO. She asked if I could go down to part time.  She said she hated to see me "sit at home all day"--her words.  I explained I am thinking of this like retirement and I have options for staying busy with volunteer work.  Then she mentioned someone well known in our community that has had Stage 4 cancer for 6 years.  He gets IV chemo treatments and he situation is well known.  He still is working full time.  I know everyone is different and what is best for him may not be best for me.    But, this is what I mean about my posts-- I will be judged by people.  "If he can continue to work why can't she".  

    I will probably pursue the SSD, but I will always wonder if I am doing the right thing and know that tongues are wagging about me behind my back. 

    What I would give not to have this cancer and just be normal-- working my job and living a normal life.