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Old 01-03-2011, 12:10 AM   #1
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Can my employer terminate me while on STD

I was diagnosed with MS , 12 years a go and now pretty much have no mobility and thinking about going on disability.
I have a good LTD plan through my employer but before going on LTD , I need to go on STD for 3 months.
here is my question: can my employer trerminate my employment while I'm on STD? if so then I'll lose my LTD plan . I'm so worry, please help

 
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

The simple answer is, yes they can terminate you. BUT, you do not loose your LTD. Your LTD is an "insurance" policy that requires you are disabled as of the first day you go out of work. IF so, you are eligible for LTD based on "date of disability".

Example (simplified just to give an idea):
Last day of work 1/7/11
First day out of work 1/8/11
Doctor provides proof to STD of disability 1/8/11
If STD has a 7 day waiting period (1/8-1/14) STD begins 1/15.
STD runs 3 mo, LTD begins around 4/15
Employer terminates you 4/7/11
Ins Co does LTD eval while you are on LTD. Med records, forms, etc
Inc Co finds you continuously disabled from 1/8/11, LTD is approved, benefits begin.
LTD ends: (1) no longer disabled (2) reach max LTD age (3) death of LTD claimant

*If your employer is small (under 50 employees) they don't have to provide FMLA
*If your employer is large they likely have to comply with FMLA
*Often FMLA and STD run concurrently.

More FMLA info: http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/benefits-leave/fmla.htm


HOWEVER, there are circumstances when FMLA no longer matters:

Example 1: You are a Sr. Secretary. While out on leave your employer lays off everyone who is a Sr. Secretary, then you are laid off just as other employees. BUT since you are on STD, STD continues until you are deemed able to return to work OR until you go on LTD.

Example 2: You are out on leave starting January 10. February 1 your employer unexpectedly goes out of business at your location, then you are also laid off with the other employees. BUT, you are on STD and if still disabled you go on LTD.

Example 3: You are the ONLY person in the facility who can operate the widget machine. No one else can as it's a specialty skill. Your job doesn't need to be held during your leave as it places undue burden on the employer. BUT, you are on STD and if still disabled you go on LTD.

My employer notified me at 12 week that my position was ending (no longer needed in my tiny office of a large company). Since I was on STD and was approved for LTD I remain a "disabled retiree" for as long as I am on LTD. IF I was released to return to work at any time in the future I can bid for any job for which I am qualified and I would be considered for that job.

Many employers will keep an employee on under "disability leave" until LTD begins at which time they often terminate the employee. Employers differ on this and it's not usually something published.

Before you go out on STD get a copy of the exact STD and LTD plan so you'll have them in your possession. IF a large employer, often available on line. Many employers change STD/LTD ins co as of 1/1 every few years (or may stay with one ins co for a long time). If you go out of work in January make sure you have the right STD/LTD plans (ask Benefits if they changed the disability vendor and if so when can you get copy of the new plans)

Also, if you've had MS for a while the key question STD will ask is "what caused you to go out of work at this time?". Mine was a spine problem but I got the same question as I went out of work and surgery wasn't until 8 mo later. I told them the inability to remain at work had been building, I'd go home and be in pain and muster up the ability to go back to work the next day. Then it came to a point where i could no longer handle working.

Let me know if you have any questions along the way.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Just thought I'd add, for anyone else reading, here's an example of when you do lose LTD:

Work for XYZ Corp 4/5/99-5/8/2011
Employer provides LTD coverage
Resign/fired from that job 5/8/11
Does not find a new job quickly
Person has a heart attack or MS diagnosis (etc) 5/20/11
They apply for LTD 5/21/11 under XYZ Corp
XYZ Corp is contacted and informs LTD ins co employment end date 5/8/11
As with majority of LTD plans, LTD coverage ends when employment ends.
No LTD payable.
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C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:57 PM   #4
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

spineAZ
I truly appreciate your concern, spending this much time to respond in detail.
you answered my million $ question since kept my mind busy and worried me a lot.
My employer is a huge company 50,000 + employees WW. now I have peace of mind to proceed with my STD application.

Thanks again

 
Old 01-04-2011, 06:48 AM   #5
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

with 50,000+ employees your employer will have FMLA. As long as you have worked full time (or close to full time) and have been employed over a year you're eligible. Federal FMLA law provides for 12 week of job protection. Employers can offer a bit more if they choose todo so. If your STD lasts 90 days=12 wk, your FMLA & STD will end just as LTD would begin.

If you have any problems in applying for STD let me know. I can provide you a form I use to provide my doctors and insurance company with an outline of what my job required and what I cannot do and why.

Plan on applying for SSDI around the time LTD is approved. LTD will tell you when this is required, I just want you to know this so you aren't surprised. Most LTD plans offset (subtract) SSDI from LTD. So, for example, if your LTD monthly benefit amount is $2000 and you get $1200 per mo from SSDI, you'd get $800 from LTD and $1200 from SSDI.

Once you get a copy of the LTD plan you'll find this provisions usually under a section titled something like "offsets and deductions".
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Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:42 PM   #6
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

SpineAZ
one more question. do I need a lawyer to fill my STD claim to initiate the process right?
or can be handled by myself too

lawyers in CA charges very high and want to review all medical documents, means at least 10 hours charge for filling the STD form

thanks,
brave3

 
Old 01-13-2011, 04:39 AM   #7
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Hi I know someone who fought for the job several times by merely talking to the employment department and asking them to make a phone call to the job to help fight for it.

 
Old 01-13-2011, 07:49 AM   #8
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Filing for STD does not require an attorney. There would be nothing they could do for you as STD is a relatively easy process.

Usual process is your employer gives you forms for you and your doctors. Then the employer completes their forms. Once all forms are submitted to the STD ins Co the claim is reviewed.

In some cases, becoming more common, is HR or Benefits or on an internal website, your employer gives you a phone number to call to initiate the claim. You call and provide all your information including treating doctor contact info. Then the is Co begins the claim process. They may send you forms to have the doctors to complete and this must be submitted ASAP.

The ins co will guide you as to what is needed. If you are given forms for your doctors make copies and have all relevant docs complete forms. I had my orth spine surgeon and pain mgmt doc complete the Attending Physician Statements (APS).


I can help you along the way with any questions.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:15 AM   #9
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Hi SpineAZ
Per your guidance I looked in to my company plans further and have couple (shy to say more) questions
1. FMLA is unpaid and STD is a paid leave, you said usually these 2 runs concurrently , does that mean that I have to apply for both? if so then will the transition from STD to LTD stay the same?

2. my job can be done remotely but I know my management is not supportive of full time remote working . if they approve me to work remotely (not required to drive, not roaming around to attend meetings, less fatigue and less stress) I might be able to continue working remotely for sometime.
I need your advise if you recommend me to discuss remote working with my management or not? my Dr tells me they might agree first because of ADA but shortly terminate me along with round of layoff in company (it's a big company and periodically layoff some underperform employees) in other hand if they agree and do not let me go then would be a good opportunity for me .
Also I'm not sure if bringing up this topic, wont cause question for LTD ins "why can you work remotely , not in office"

3. last question, how can you send me the chart that you provided to ins, mapping your job requirements to your disabilities? can we send personal message to members of this board?

Thanks in advance,
brave3

 
Old 01-20-2011, 09:41 AM   #10
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

1. FMLA is unpaid and STD is a paid leave, you said usually these 2 runs concurrently , does that mean that I have to apply for both? if so then will the transition from STD to LTD stay the same? When you go out of work and notify the employer of this, they will alert you as to how to apply for STD and/or FMLA. I was just helping someone who went out on STD last week. His employer does FMLA "in house" so he had his doctor complete a form for that. In addition, an insurance company does the STD so he was instructed by his HR/Benefits on how to apply for that. Some employers pay insurance companies which provide both to administer both FMLA and STD at the same time OR even if FMLA is done by the employer and STD by an ins co often the employer has arranged with STD to share medical information so you don't have to have a doctor fill out separate forms.

2. my job can be done remotely but I know my management is not supportive of full time remote working . if they approve me to work remotely (not required to drive, not roaming around to attend meetings, less fatigue and less stress) I might be able to continue working remotely for sometime.
I need your advise if you recommend me to discuss remote working with my management or not? my Dr tells me they might agree first because of ADA but shortly terminate me along with round of layoff in company (it's a big company and periodically layoff some under perform employees) in other hand if they agree and do not let me go then would be a good opportunity for me .
Also I'm not sure if bringing up this topic, wont cause question for LTD ins "why can you work remotely , not in office" Some employers will do this s a formal accommodation. I was in the process of seeking accommodations when I went out of work. In order to do so my doctors would have had to complete an extensive form as to what my limitations were. My employer's concern was the medications limiting my ability to do some of the job duties. So you can certainly ask HR what it takes to be considered for working at home by saying "I have some personal medical issues that would be well addressed by being able to work at home, is that an options?" And if so they'll let you know how to request it. Employers DO NOT have to agree to accommodations. Are there others that work at home? Or do you just believe you job could be done at home? When I worked in disability claims in theory we could do work from home, but in actuality we could not due to the privacy of the information we were dealing with (medical info, SS info, etc) as well as system limitations which would not allow us to do so. We could check email off-site via special access but that was all. So the key is, DOES your employer currently have people in the same position as you working at home? If not, why not?

3. last question, how can you send me the chart that you provided to ins, mapping your job requirements to your disabilities? can we send personal message to members of this board?

Here's the form

Personal Statement for xxxxx xx/xx/xxxx
DOB xx/xx/xxxx SS# xxx-xx-xxxx

My occupation required the following which I am unable to do given my current medications, neck, knee and back problems:
∑ Physical stamina to perform client visits/meetings along with associated travel (driving and flying).
∑ Lifting/ carrying/pushing/pulling : 30+ lbs occasionally.
∑ Constant and sustained neck extension and neck flexion. Constant reaching and arm extension.
∑ Frequent and sustained trunk movement with prolonged sitting/ standing/walking.
∑ Occasional kneeling, crouching, stooping, and bending.
∑ Constant typing/fingering. Constant computer and Blackberry use.
∑ Frequent packing, un-packing, and carrying of materials for client and employee meetings.
∑ Frequent customer meetings or trainings including air travel and extended periods of standing, sitting, walking, carrying and handling laptop and boxes of materials.
∑ Frequent document handling/management including multi-level file cabinet with heavy file handling.

Current Ability/Tolerance:
∑ Sitting 1-2 hr with position and chair changes. Neck strain with sustained sitting.
∑ Standing or Walking <1 hr. Need frequent sitting breaks, no sustained walking/standing.
∑ Bending/Stooping: None.
∑ Lifting/Carrying:∑ <10 lbs Occasionally ; 10-19 lbs Rarely; 20-49 lbs+ Never
∑ Use of hands: Limited by neck pain and radiculopathy. Frequent numbness/tingling in arms and hands
∑ Physical Impairment: Severe limitations due to multiple spine and knee problems, and significant pain medications

I currently treat with Dr. XYZ and Dr. ABC for increasingly severe right knee pain and swelling. I have treated with Dr. ABC from 2002 to present. Recent right knee MRI shows significant arthritis.

My previous spine surgeon was Dr. CY (04/25/06 through 05/27/09). He performed a C5-C6-C7 ACDF in 2006 and posterior foraminotomy in 2008. I switched to Dr. JL for spine care effective 06/23/09 (to present). He performed a L3-S1 fusion 02/2010 and I recently had a cervical MRI with treatment to be determined in the near future. Iíve had persistent cervical pain and pain radiating into shoulder and arms, from 2005 to present.

For pain management I treated with Dr. PKL 2004 through 03/13/09. He performed various epidural injections and prescribed medications. I switched to Dr. PKUZ for Pain Management effective 04/25/09 to present. Treatments I have received from Dr. PKUZ, and Dr. GXY in his practice, include medication management, epidural injections, nerve ablations, and diagnostic discograms.

My last day of work was 4/27/09 due to severe cervical pain and radiculopathy and new onset lumbar problems. My employer ceased accommodations in early 2009 (work at home, flex time, flex days, remote laptop access, etc) and consequently my existing neck pain worsened and I later developed a new onset of lumbar pain. Please note that my job was eliminated last Fall so returning to my old job is not an option at this time.

Current Pain Medications: MS Contin 10 mg 2x/day; Soma 250 mg 3x/day; Norco 7.5mg/325 mg 3x/day; Neurontin 600 mg 3x/day




Please let me know if there's anything else I can answer for you
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:34 PM   #11
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Thanks a million spineAz for dettail info and time you spent replying to me.

 
Old 02-04-2011, 12:01 AM   #12
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Hi SpineAZ
Monday is a day that I need to make a big decision.
as you have been so helpful to me, I would like to ask your opinion before taking action

recap: I have been working remotely last couple months and now need to either go to office daily or go on STD.
definitely my situation makes it impossible to work in office

I'm going to see my Neurologist Monday , he has seen me last 12 years and has witnessed how MS gradually has taken over my life.
few times my Neurologist has offered me to write recommendation letter if that can help me in managing day to day work . Also he advised me 2 years a go to slow down and stop working .

I'm thinking to ask my doctor write up a recommendation letter advising remote working due to my health concern
if I present this letter to my employer , there is 2 possibilities

1. slim chance that they agree and would be good for me to continue working remotely until manageable (still have fear of layoff later )
2. if my employer do not agree with my remote working, then my last choice would be STD and later LTD

My question: if I end up with scenario #2 , would this request for remote working become an excuse for LTD insurance to reject me saying "if you're completely disabled and unable to work , how you were ok if employer would let you work remotely?"

if this might be used against me later by LTD provider then doesn't worth trying since anyway there are couple drawbacks in that approach too(I'm not sure if employer agrees and fear of layoff and losing all benefits STD and LTD)

Please help me out, you're light of my life , every time hearing from you gives me peace of mind and as soon as next challenge comes up, you're the one who can shed a light.

Thanks in advance,
brave3

 
Old 02-04-2011, 12:54 AM   #13
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Remote working, in your case, may be an accommodation. Many employers require an employee requesting an accommodation to do so with special paperwork which includes a physician form.

Accommodations do not affect STD or LTD though cessation of accommodations can lead to someone going out on disability. So if your employer allows you to work from home and later revokes that accommodation you then return to the employer site of consider filing for STD.

In general:
STD evaluates if you are disabled from your own job
First 24 (or 36) mo of LTD is based on if you can do your "own occasion"
Then after that LTD is based on if you can do "any occupation"

LTD is not affected by prior accommodations. The definitions of "own occ" and "any occ" are via vocational information about occupation in the national economy.

I worked at home as an acommodationm as the companies business needs changed they could only allow rare occurances of work at home. Due to pain and other symptoms I was not able to work in the office and travel every week. I needed to be able to work at home so I could lay down as needed, do some of my work at off hours if I rested during the day. My doc said that I neeeded to be able to rest intermittently thru the day and could not be in an office environment 40 hr a week . There was medical evidence in treatment notes and testing to back up these limitations (and other details of my occ I could no longer do). STD was approved based on this and then LTD was too. My LTD policy allows for 24 mo under own occ. Since LTD began 11/2009, then 11/2011 I will be evaluated on if I can do any occ for which I am reasonably trained,educated,able, and reasonably close to prior earnings.

So a schoolteacher who is required to lift and lower locking gates at the school may not be disabled if she has a bad back and can't bend to lift 100 lbs. That task is not defined in her occupation, it's a task given to her by the school. The expectation is the employr will remove that task from her and find another staff member who can do so.

But a foreman of a small loading doc may have his own occ include liting, pulling, etc. So after back surgery if he can't stand and walk continuously thru the day and can't lift, push or pull may be clearly disabled from his own occupation.

Does your employer routinely have people in your position work at home OR are you theorizing it's possible? Some jobs can't be done at home due to privacy rules so doing health claims at home though based on work on computers , is unlikely as anbemployer would not have computer infrastructure to allow that work offsite.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 02-04-2011 at 12:58 AM.

 
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:54 AM   #14
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

Thank you very much SpineAZ , you're great

yes, my employer have people in similar position as mine who work at home and I have done it last couple months. no issue with security or so, they have a well protected stablished network , my concern is my 2 level up manager (VP)
who is not supporting remote working as much as possible.

Thanks again,
brave3

 
Old 02-04-2011, 10:04 AM   #15
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Re: Can my employer terminate me while on STD

You may have to ask HR/Benefits what the company protocol is if you need accommodations and in this case being the accommodation to work at home.

My employer had a formal program though management could deny it if t was not conducive to the departments ongoing success in they eye of my manager or senior management. In my case it was my manager who wasn't willing to work with the requested accommodations and the company could not force him to as we were a small office. My counterpart in Colorado, in the same size office, was approved to work at home though just as a preference and not an accommodation. My manager then encouraged me to go on STD so it's my belief he wanted me out.
__________________
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 02-04-2011 at 10:05 AM.

 
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