Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 RA patient, Community Member, asks

Q: Can RA patient apply for short term disability leave ?

I'm yet to start taking medication for my RA. Looking at all the information on medications, it seems that it will take sometime before the meds start working. Lately, my symptoms have been bad and it is difficult to work fulltime. I'm almost out of my leaves too, so am wondering -- do I have an option to go on short term disability leave and then return back to work when my RA gets better ?  I dont want to (rather cannot afford to) quit my job, so am trying to figure out what are my options ? I am in CA.

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Answers (2)
Brad, Health Guide
10/15/09 2:57am

I live in SC, and am just finishing 6 mos of STD due to RA and going on to LTD. It would depend on your coverage and the support your docs are willing to give, the key is getting them behind you 100%. For 3 mos my insurance was paid for, then I have had to pick up the tab since, still much cheaper than going it alone. Read into your policy and see what is required. Do be careful of not black balling yourself by letting everyone know at work you have a chronic disease. Sounds crazy, but when I announced I had RA.......lots of doors slammed shut! Good luck, deal with Corp HR if you can, I hope you can get on it. It can take many months for the drugs to take effect, or it could work very soon for you. I am hoping you get relief soon!

 

Brad

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Michelle, Community Member
10/15/09 11:33am

Hi,  I live in Canada so it is a little different here.  I am a nurse and work full time when I was diagnosed with RA I continued to work but it got to the point where I was calling in sick a lot.  I got a note from my doctor and went off work and applied for LTD after using up all of my sick time.  I was denied the first time around because I didn't give them enough information, the letter from my doctor was not enough.  I appealed and made sure I had every single thing noted.  I wrote a long letter describing my day from the time I get up till I go to bed and how often I wake up in the night due to pain.  I also got my rheumatologist to write a letter for me and send the documentation from my visits.  I had seen a occupational therapist as well and got her to write a letter for me.  What won my case was the letter I wrote myself.  I detailed my illness from it's onset to when I became disabled.  I included my work tasks and what I was having difficulty doing.  I also noted that it was unsafe for me to perform my duties.  I don't know what kind of work you do but all work is difficult when you have RA that is not managed.  If you can tie what you do to your disability you might be able to argue your case better.  I unfortunately am only entitled to two years of disabilty however I hope that my RA is soon managed so I can return to work.  The people that adjudicate your claim are not necessarily in the health profession and so can only go on what you provide and they have a list of criteria and unfortunately they do not disclose what that criteria is so to ensure you do get coverage give as much information as you can to help them understand what RA is and how it affects your ability to work.  Good luck with your claim.

Michelle

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By RA patient, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/22/10, First Published: 10/13/09