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private LTD vs. SSI

virginiapvvirginiap Posts: 508
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just curious... I am currently out of work on STD (company benefit) & protected by FMLA, for I think 12 weeks (florida), I hope my recent surgery will "fix" me... but I am very symptomatic and have some new issues, PLUS, my NS only picked one level.... to work on (ALIF), I have two other bad discs. So..... I am getting scared, what if I don't get better? What if I can not return to work? I was offered LTD Insurance with medical rider as an option under our group plan, which I purchased! I am early in recovery process - surgery was Aug 24, so maybe I'm over reacting, or expecting too much of myself, I've started P/T, and its so disappointing to see how weak I've become. I am usually the life of the party (during my pain free times), I've become depressed, I am seeing a therapist, helps a bit..but @ this point I can not even imagine being able to work again, ever! I am young (ish) will be 43 this year and work in an office. SITTING is probably the most painful movement I can make, really I am best when laying in bed with pillows proping me up here & there. Gosh, I can't even sit on the toilet for 5 min without me entire left leg, foot, toes, thighs & butt going completely numb!

So, again WORST CASE for me, let's say do I need my LTD, would that mean, I don't need to go through with what so many of you described as hellish ordeal dealing with SS & hiring attorneys....?

Is it easier or more difficult dealing private disability compared to SS?

Don't know if true, but I've been told the younger you are the harder it is...and also office working people usually are always denied!

Any experience, opinions, or knowledge would be appreciated!

I've suffered a host of complications post operatively and now my left shoulder, neck and upper back are causing me lots of pain. My PCP declared me temporarily disabled and I have a 4 year disabled parking permit.... which if I do get better I will surrender. I am not one to "milk" the system, and I have worked for 28 years, 7 of which (of recent) have been working with extreme pain!

Wishing all pain free happy days!

Sad & hurting.


  • Virginia,

    I too live in Florida. Most policies pay you better than SSDI, but I believe after a year(?) they require you to apply for SSDI. There is a member on here that hopefully will drop in "SpineAZ" who is well versed on it.

    Here is one good thing I can think of presently given your surgical situation (and additional disks), the LTD is probably the better path right now. This way you are good for recovery time, and too ...sadly if you need more surgery. Your employer might also be more flexible with you under LTD than SSDI - SSDI means basically you are fully disabled, and won't return to work...just food for thought. Please keep us posted. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • For your reply.
    I know its probably too soon for me to be thinking in these terms, but as you can see..... its late here in the Sunshine State, I never sleep anymore either. My thinking is off lack of sleep, loads of pain meds & I count the minutes, for my next dose. Terrible position, I hate taking all these pills, but I am suffering.
    I worry about everything and my job especially, that's why I posted the question. In this economy, corporate America, isn't sympathetic to non productive employee, no matter how great you were before. I just have a sense or a gut feeling that I will not have the best outcome from the one level fusion.
    Again, thanks for reply and will keep on posting.
    Hope you get some sleep and some pain relief!
  • For additional advice or expert opinion.
    oh BTY, STD is 26 weeks of coverage.
    Believe it or not, I love working, I am ( or was type A) real go getter, always the best, so that aspect adds (feeling useless) to my new found depression!
    Thanks again for listening (or I guess reading) LOL!
    Hugs, back @ ya!
  • There's nothing wrong with thinking ahead! :) A lot of people don't get the wheels rolling until they are at the "no choice" position! Good for you!!

    I too am a "type A" personality. My issues caused me to retire early (under FERS federal disability), and though I wasn't thrilled, I looked in the mirror (can't lie to yourself) and the decision was made. I like to call it having "Plan A B C" etc. Good for you that you are thinking that way. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, right? I was a pilot and in law enforcement, so I didn't have a lot of choices when things went south. :)

    Yeah, still up, but planning to hit the pillows within a half hour or so. Most of my pain is direct nerve pain, so Lyrica keeps me in check. I have other meds for the "other than nerve pain pain", but so far, I haven't asked for anything else. Fingers crossed. Looks like you have a logical 'good' head on your shoulders woman!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Virginia,

    Nodding, almost forgot. Most jobs, the boss is sympathetic when we get hurt (be it spine, car accident, broken bones), but when they see we aren't going to be able to do the job they hired us for, our sympathy value does down but FAST!! It really bites when we got their butts "out of the fire" many times in the past. It's kind of like "1 oh sh!t cancels 100 atta boys!!" Bitter pill....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • NEW TOO!
    Will read your post later this morning, sweet dreams.
  • Awards, top producer, I in am sales; inside - with a little outside marketing, worked up a large client base basically kicking butt, and walking the talk so to speak. Even this year with all that has happened I am still one of the top producers.
    It's is very obvious when a top dog starts slowing down..... I was never one to fly under or above the radar, (as a pilot & type A, you know what I mean).

    I guess you are right, plan for worst; hope for best!

    Thank you
  • So all companies are different but as I am just as paniced (is that a word..lol) that I will never be able to work again after my upcoming fusion I checked into my company policy.

    Since I am there last than 5 years I get 12 weeks of 100% pay STD (I would get 24 weeks if I was there over 5 years). I go on STD after being out sick more than 5 days FYI (we have unlimited sick time..but you can't take more than 5 days in a row without going on STD) Then from weeks 12-24 I get 70% pay. After 24 weeks I go on LTD which we automatically get at our company but we can buy supplemental LTD (which I don't have..which sucks). So LTD is 60% pay. I could get 70% if I had supplemental. LTD I believe is until I turn social security age. LTD is the same requirements as government sponsored SSDI.

    Good luck. Not an easy situation. I am hoping I only have to take 8 weeks off..and praying that at the worse it is 12 weeks.

  • Virginia,

    Nodding in full understanding. I too was one that had one of the best teams (and I didn't sit on their shoulders - I trusted my guys, and they me), got top awards at the end of the year, "atta-girl" letters, the whole bit. Once my bosses saw that my nerve damage was permanent, I was "invisible, to be left alone",he couldn't wait till I was gone (retired), so they could replace me with someone *who could do the job*.

    Hell, on my last day Virginia, my own boss didn't have the respect of a flea! He wouldn't take 2 minutes to come by and wish me well. Sigh... I guess I had him figured to the tea! (G) Just know that YOU know you did real good. I no longer wasted my thoughts on those unworthy types! :)


    Hoping for the *best* for ya!! :) *HUGZ*
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Not a bad plan from your company, mine is 6 day elimination period, sick time, then 28 days @ 100%; I've been there over 5 years, after 28th day, I go 60% of salary, for up to 26 weeks, then LTD, kicks in... I don't even know what the rate of pay is under the LTD, seems like no one knows, I think I will call the insurance carrier tomorrow, like Brenda said, plan A, B & C! I am happy that I did take the extra coverages, especially the medical, as my husband doesn't work. It's me bringing home the Bacon!

    Like you I was hoping 6-8 weeks, but Tuesday it will be 6 weeks, so that will not be happening!

    good luck with your upcoming fusion! Tough procedure!
    do you know what type of fusion doc is planning?

    Take care!
  • Here's an atta-girl from me to you!
    Yes, very similar situation I am facing....
    At first (couple of weeks) I was getting a get well card here & there from corporate and my peers were calling, and stopping by, but now, out of sight, easier to snatch your client....LOL its like those little feeder fish that hang around the shark looking for throw backs! Heck my clientele seem more concerned then most of my company does for me. I won't even get in to the head games and drama I've been getting, all games, cruel,like I am not me, I'm a sickness! But when I was pushing out business and taking 80 mg of vicodin & 700 mg of somas and a valium or xanax here & there at work, they didn't care then either, just as long as the machine keeps pushing out production! Good on a spreadsheet! Anger, not usually an emotion I display, but it stems from hurt!
    Last week I was all about, that's alright, I'll be back better & stronger, and all wrongs will be made right, so to speak, I am fair and expect to be treated like wise. This week I am just so down, feeling like I am not gonna ever be me again, let alone bigger, better & stronger .....ok enough pity party! Who knows it could be in my head, I mean the extent may not be so bad....nah, it is, gotta face it. Signs of the time.
    Sorry for venting!
    Felt awfully good!
    Atta-girl, hope you are feeling good!
  • Virginia,

    Nodding, I too when initially out on my surgeries, would get the 'how you doing' call, the cards, even flowers once with a gift card to one of my favorite restaurants! My boss...grrr.. he only demanded doctor notes and medical updates! Cold Bas*&$d. Didn't surprise me though. When at 6 weeks I wasn't allowed back to work, the calls stopped, no more cards. It was almost 3 months when I came back. I heard the rumors were...

    "She's paralyzed and in a chair."
    "I hear she ain't coming back."
    "We don't need her, see we can do it without her."
    "Her career is over from what I hear."

    Sadly that last one turned out to be true, but the upside to it Virginia, is I was going to retire in the next year and a half anyways, so it just moved things up!

    You don't need the added stress of negatives actions from bosses and *simple minded/self minded* co-workers. It always amazes me how most people always see it as "Things don't happen to me or my family, they happen to other people." Jerks!! Don't waste your emotion or thoughts on em Virginia, you don't need "their" induced stress. :) Atta girl to you as well!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Oh I am envious of those with such good benefits. I work for a major hospital in the area as a nurse. I got 12 weeks of STD at 60% of my pay..Which they taxed!!! Then had to fill out a lot of paperwork but got approved for LTD which is also at 60% and taxed. So I am bringing home 1\2 of what I did working. My LTD is good for up to 15 months that is it. They required me to apply for disability with govt. after being out of work for 6 months.

    To answer to your question. Other than the ton of paperwork I thought applying for LTD was fairly easy.

    Oh and the thought of sitting at a desk even 4 months out of surgery was scary. I am 7 months out now and just now thinking about going back to work. I have to be able to go back full time at a desk job. I am almost ready!!! I still have pain everyday and take something for it..but it is getting better..Hang in there..

  • Well ladies pity party is over - lol!! Actually it's always there when you need it, just as long as you listen to the bouncer when he tells you it's time to go.

    Virginia we have all been where you are now. Very few people have "quick fixes" where they are back to work before they are missed. And in this economy there are always a few sharks circling your desk. And heaven forbid you have more than one period out of work - that's when the stories start.

    A few months back there were some threads about how the great friends at work disappeared. One member was heartbroken because after many years of giving her life to the company they turned their backs.

    I went out last summer for shoulder surgery. I was out for 6 weeks. During that time I only received an email from my boss asking how to find a bill. A coworker sent me a tea set and signed everyones name to it - but then admitted it was from just her. And two vendors sent me lovely bouquets.

    When I needed surgery this January there was nothing. I rushed back to work because I knew the sharks were there.

    Then when everything came back this spring I knew I needed more time so I took disability. I setup everything for them. Offered to help any way I could. Two weeks later I was let go. Apparently I wasn't needed. The $100K plus that I saved them in the previous 4 months wasn't good enough. And the call came from HR. Gee almost 6 years and that's what ya get.

    The stories are all pretty much the same. But they don't have to end the same way. I truly believe we make our own choices and our own destiny. So if you want to go back to that job you will find a way. If you want to try something else you can do that too. All things happen for a reason.
  • Working in healthcare you would or should have above par benefits! Sorry to hear your plan lacks luster! I would hope your health coverage
    Is great.
    Without getting politically incorrect, or too far off topic, I have United healthcare, previously it was Cigna....which I loved, so the change (as usually does scared me) but behold United, really surprised me, especially thier nurse hotline, i have my very own case manage nurse, Ginger, she is amazing! Calls me weekly, so caring, even sent me a get well card and a cool key chain, with the 800# on it.
    My hats off to nurses! Thank you Tonya from all whom you helped in your nursing career!
    Being in the hospital for 5 days, without them, I don't know what I would have done.
    Wishing you a pain free day!
    Thanks for your reply & info.

    Ps, I didn't realize LTD, had a time limit, you mentioned 15 months.
    I thought LTD meant LOOOONG TERM ???
  • .... its EZ to get a pity party going.... leaving is the trouble! i am fighting to stay upbeat instead of uptight, fighting myself to heal faster, disappointed and discouraged with my self, call it ignorance or the "not me syndrome", but I thought I would be one of those bounce back people, and would be one of those rare cases the doc's marvel over..... BUT NOT THE CASE, not this time.
    I see my NS next week and I feel scared and, almost ashamed of my lack of progress, I did full research, I knew what I was getting into, went anterior against two other NS, advise as the anterior SHOULD have quicker recovery.... like you, sharks are circling.... and when your not there to keep them at bay..... that's it, LOSS OF CONTROL, drives me crazy..... type A.
    Today, did p/t, walked one block,.and then bed, no more energy, or fight in me.
    I am so sorry that they "let you go", not sure if I like that new term we've adopted, let go? I hope things are ok for you & your family!

    I too believe in destiny.... buy like Brenda said,.plan for worst & hope for best.

    Thanks for your reply and sharing your experience, hope you have a pain free night!
  • I know everyones plan is different. But my long term disability is only 15 months..then the company lets you go..nice right?

    I lost my position after my 12 week job protective leave was up. So I am currently looking for other jobs. I have actually interviewed for 2 different jobs outside of my company in the past 2 weeks. Because my company has no clinic nurse jobs open. It is frustrating. You would think that HR would try and help place me in a job but they haven't at all. I even called and asked them to help me out.

    So after nearly 8 years with them I am looking elsewhere. Wish me luck

    Oh and let me tell ya...Working in healthcare....we have the worse benefits. Every hospital here has the same bad benefits. All of my friends have way better benefits than me. One of them works in the insurance industry and has great benefits..the other is a state employee and has even better.
    My problem is all of the hospitals have the same coverage..they admitted it to me in my interview..they have almost identical bad coverage..lol

  • Tonya I was lucky that my last job was basically an insurance company. Their plans have been pretty good. I only wish I had taken the accident policy which would have given me a cash payout but that was very expensive and very limited in what was considered an accident.

    Good luck with the search. I have just started looking to see what might be a possibility. Very bleak.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    LTD usually pays around 50-60% of your pre-disability pay and in most cases benefits last until you reach retirement age. Some employers terminate employees while they are on LTD, which is legal, but LTD remains payable as long as the person remains disabled. In my case my employer offered 50% with the premium paid by them or I could opt to 60% with me paying the premium. I chose the 60% option with me paying premium so my LTD is never taxable. My LTD included my bonuses and commissions. Some LTD policies say income excluding bonuses or commissions so check your LTD policy wording.

    Most LTD insurance companies help you get attorney representation. Mine did and they are wonderful. It's all this firm does so they do everything from gathering information to keeping me updated etc.

    I worked in the STD and LTD industry for over 15 years and am currently on LTD and have applied for SSDI via the attorney. My employer lets me maintain my health insurance as long as I am on LTD which is unusual so I feel lucky. Let me know if you have any questions.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Lots of good info, thanks for sharing.
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