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Benefit Options or Not?

Hi all, my name is Rick and I'm looking for some guidance on my options if any.

DDD, L4/L5 mostly, some osteophytes, foramen narrowing, confirmed by CT and MRI. Under care of neurosurgeon, another appt in 4 wks after the most recent MRI. Sciatica pain, either or both legs, radiculopathy.

I'm 55, work for National Defence, been suffering for about a year, although not to the extent of most of you. I am not in constant pain, typically only when standing/walking. It's variable on the amount of time and the amount of pain but generally only a 1-2 level but do have to relieve the pain by sitting, squatting, etc. I also do the leg give out thing but always catch myself in a millisecond so have never come close to falling. From a work perspective I can do some of my tasks but not most, I work as a technician. While my employer is being patient waiting for doctor's reports, appts, surgeon appts, it is clear this isn't going to get much better and it is unlikely I can continue to be employed in what I do.

I don't think I'm bad enough for surgery compared to the risk at this point. I don't want to take pain meds, I was doing some chiro and Naturopath infrared treatments, not sure if it's helped. Hasn't hurt. I am not able to do some of my hobbies like squash/tennis/golf.

I've done some online research but am confused with the options/meanings of disabled, etc in terms of whether I qualify for short term disability, long term disability, or medical retirement (i.e. no pension penalty because of age), or nothing at all.

In a nutshell, I'm looking for some guidance/answers to

1. I'm confused with wording of disability - I've read if you can't do any meaningful job (widely open to interpretation) to if you can't do all of the tasks at work.

2. If I qualify for something, what would it likely be - Temporary disability, Long term disability, or medical retirement. I also don't understand how CPP disability fits into any of this. How long do these processes take. If it's a long time, I can't be bothered. I'm going to retire shortly with or without medically related benefits. If I'm entitled, great, if not, will just make the best of it. (Here's the catch, have a military pension, plus employment. Civilian pension will be small so when I leave work, income will be about 33% of current). I'm OK with that after 36 yrs of working I'm done and if my back is going to get worse, I don't want to wait any longer to enjoy what I can.

3. If my situation meant I could qualify for benefits, does choosing not to have surgery mean you automatically don't qualify.

4. Where do I go from here in terms of what to apply for, or do I not likely qualify for any of the options?
Rick
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