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Not back to work

nursedina001nnursedina001 Posts: 235
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey all..

I saw my surgeon for my 8-9 week check up and I asked her when I could go back to work, I was not prepared for her answer - You Can't.

I still have a left foot drop and ma having some new symptoms as well as new annular tear that was discovered on my L-5/S1 and we are hoping it will heal without a second surgery,

My NS told me to file for SSD. I have an appointment on Monday and I am not sure what to expect. What will happen to Workman;s comp? I am real confused...lol...

anyone have any experience being on WC and then having to apply for SS Disability?

Thanks :)



  • I'd get a lawyer if you don't already have one. If you are permantly disabled via a work injury you may need to go to court.

    From what I have heard, SSD can take YEARS to get on, and almost always get denied the first time.

    Most larger companies will settle with you, or attempt to, if you were hurt on the job.
  • Get a lawyer. You NEED one with work comp. Not sure what state you are in. If you apply for SSD while on work comp, in effect you are saying that you believe that you are forever unable to work. What happens then when you are at MMI(maximum medical improvement) and you want work comp to help with vocational rehab(going back to school, job retraining, etc.?) YOU yourself have admitted you are too disabled to work if you apply for SSD.

    You are way too soon to even be thinking about going back to work. Plus, with the meds you're on, you'd be violating your nurse practice act. Your employer might try to hang you on that one and you could lose your license.

    Are you a floor nurse? Obtain a copy of your job description and you should have it on hand to give to your doc if needed or your PT. In my personal opinion(and only my opinion), if you are a floor nurse and have an UNCOMPLICATED story, you should wait 5-6 months before going back. You(again, my opinion) needs lots of PT and work hardening to protect yourself from further injury. If you are a floor nurse, I would think really hard about going back to that. First of all, fusion stresses the levels above and below fusion, Then, you're going back to heavy lifting on top of it.

    You are complicated. Don't even think about work until you get yourself healthy. Put all of your energy into that. Wouldn't you tell you patients the same thing? :) I think nurses make the worst patients!
  • I do have a lawyer, he also suggested filing for SSD. My WC has been pretty fair so far, no problems. I have the lawyer kind of hanging in the background for now.

    As far as work, I was more wondering in a few months, not now, but because of the tear and the other bulging discs and the non-improvement of the L foot drop, my NS says NO WORK. NO PATIENT CARE, She but on my chart, recommend for SSD.

  • Just be careful, you don't want to ruin any benefits comp should be giving you! We nurses have to look out for each other! :)
  • Indeed you don't want to be stuck on medicaid do you :D
  • That is one thing I am worried about, right now I am still covered by the insurance form my job. I have to pay for it, but it is at the reduced rate as if I was working. They are not going to continue that forever anyway, They are going ot be getting a little tired of it. I have been out of work since Spetember and I think they are getting a little tired of me not being there,

    As for workman;s comp insurance, I know they take first place to disability. So, I would still get WC medical coverage for my injury (as long as I don;t settle) and WC would still pay me full amount and then disability would be reduced. I believe with disability I am not saying I can never work again, according to the lawyer, I am saying that I am disabled now, and that I wil not be abe to work for a t least a year.

    I belive the lawyer said that he wants me to do this since if WC decides to cut off my $$ for any reason, at least I would have money coming in, ugh... I HATE this. I just wanna go back to work and be normal again.
  • I understand, I HATE this and just want to be normal too! Those folks at my work who think I'm getting a vacation, I'd gladly trade them so I could be normal! Or, as normal as I get. :)
  • Most SS Disability lawyers will take their pay from the first check after you are approved. It worked well for me. I don't know if I would have been able to navigate my way through all the requirements.
  • I can relate to your shock (well, a bit anyway)

    I was so stunned when my NS flat out laughed about letting me go back to work at the 3 month mark. He just sat back and laughed - and I am one who is healing well I think.

    It seems a little soon for them to be pushing SSD- but it does sound like you've got more going on inside than the normal fusion patient too.

    Good luck.
  • Dina: While you are only 8-9wks postop, the symptoms of foot drop and a new annular tear do not bode well for a full recovery. With time and therapy you may regain function, but resuming a floor nurse position may not be wise. You risk further injury and even more problems down the road.
    I was an RN for 27yrs. Started with typical med-surg floor duties but eventually progressed to case management. My injury started as work comp like you, but I never did obtain a lawyer as my employer was more than fair in my obtaining medical treatment and never really put up any roadblocks. I was told to apply for SSD before the end of my work comp case and I am glad I did. The amount of paperwork is enormous and very challenging if you feel any way compromised. It is just reams and reams of paper!
    If you have a good caseworker who functions at the top of their game, navigating the corridors of Social Security is manageable, but difficult. You eventually need to be seen in person in your local Social Security office for onsite interviews and a recap of your financial history. They will look at any and all available funds you have and assets that you might be able to sell, etc.
    It took over a year between filing for SSD and receiving the authorization and getting the first check. SSD is based on your past financial status (quarters of working history) and depending on when you file, the amount you eventually receive may not seem like much!
    Once approved, the checks are directly deposited in your account on time with absolutely no delays. A government function that works well!
    Before receiving SSD and after my work comp case was completed, I needed to continue my health insurance through COBRA which was expensive to say the least ----
    My advise is to begin the application process. You can always withdraw if your physical condition warrants it. You just don't want to be left high and dry with no viable source of income while waiting for an answer from Social Security.
    Good luck and best wishes. I hope all goes well!
  • I'm sorry to hear about what the surgeon told you and I know it came as a huge shock. I remember when you first came on board and you were prepping to have surgery. I was really hoping that you would do well. Even if you do go on SSDI, you mustn't give up. There are other treatments out there to consider like SCS. I'm at the point where the doctors want to follow through with this procedure. It's been 9 months since I had my 2 level TLIF and all I have going on for myself is chronic back pain and permanent nerve damage. I hope in your case if you do file for SSDI that you get approved in a few months. Take care
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