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Disability? What do you do if you can't work for extended periods of time?

JLF1966JJLF1966 Posts: 36
edited 10/14/2014 - 5:05 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi there Spine Health.

I've had crippling pain since about February. I have worked about a month and a half this year. I was self-employed but the pain I'm enduring has kept me from concentrating on anything for more than a couple of minutes. As such, I cannot do much of anything. I was making 7 figures before so I am okay not working right now and would love to go back to doing that again but it doesn't look like that's in my future -- I am 7 weeks post op right now and in more pain than ever. My worry is that I never heal to the point where I can work successfully again.

What happens in these scenarios? Frankly, this is scaring me more than the constant pain. I want to be able to work and make a living and my medical bills are piling up. I obviously have money saved but I'm young and was in good health (27 with BMI around 20) when my issues started up randomly. How do you get by?


  • for yourself? You obviously have some money put aside to cover your bills for now, but if you had a long or short term disability policy, you may have been able to collect on that.
    Social Security Disability is for those who are unable to work permanently, not for those who are able to return to work and your doctors have to state that you are completely unable to work permanently.
    What kind of surgery did you have? Seven weeks is early days post op, depending on the type of surgery that you had, and you should start to see improvements over the coming weeks and months.
  • JLF1966JJLF1966 Posts: 36
    edited 10/14/2014 - 9:36 AM
    I'm not looking to collect disability for myself, just genuinely curious what others do in these situations or if it is difficult to get disability. I am hoping I am able to work again soon -- it really sucks that I basically missed out on a year of work but it is what it is I guess.

    I had a laminectomy and facetectomy on the L5-S1 left side. I'm hoping improvements come soon -- the pain is still crazy.
  • nor should they be. SSD is for people who are physically unable to work permanently. It is not meant for those temporarily disabled by surgery or other medical conditions. There are other options for those who are temporarily disabled. Short term disability plans or long term disability private plans are available through work or personal policies.
    Those who do qualify for SSD mostly wish that they could return to work, since the income from it is not all that great, and the battle to get it, is lengthy and costly.
    Seven weeks is not far out from post op to know what the final outcome of your surgery will be, so give it a bit of time and you may feel much differently a month or so from now.
  • Thankfully JLF I had short term disability when I had my fusion. It was good for three months but I went back to work light duty within 6 weeks. The distraction of getting out of the house again and getting my mind on other things was helpful. I was recently told by three surgeons that I need an extensive revision and fusion that would require 6 months off and couldn't ever lift over 20 pounds after that. Well this won't work for me as I only have 3 months Short term disability with two kids in college. So my only choice is to work because I don't feel comfortable that anyone of these three Drs will be my advocate in this situation where I clearly could not work in the same field I have worked the last 30 years.
  • I'm sorry to hear that grandmesamom. I was really curious as to what people do in my situation that aren't as fortunate as I am with the money I have made -- I don't have short-term disability or anything so I'm assuming some others here do not either and I cannot imagine working with some of these conditions so I'm curious how they make ends meet.
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