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#269534 - 12/09/14 01:26 PM Quitting job while on short-term disability?
NYCuSpA Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 09/09/14
Posts: 4
I got put on short-term disability leave a few months ago because my company decided (company-wide, not just for me or other employees with health issues) to roll back flex time and work from home, limiting it to no more than once a week. I'd been doing an 11-7 schedule because my symptoms are worst in the morning, and I'd taken work-from-home days when I had doctor's visits or the symptoms were especially bad—not excessive in my opinion, but definitely more than once a week, about 5-7 times a month on average.

So when they changed the policy, they said I could either stop flexing time and working from home immediately and start doing a 9-5 in-office schedule (a no-go) or go onto short-term disability until my "symptoms improved".

Anyway, since my spondy has been in remission for years, and continues to basically be in remission, and these symptoms are (apart from the scheduling difficulties they bring) just nuisances and not going to just vanish, I started looking for work at a company with a more forgiving policy.

I just got a job offer for a telecommute position doing work I like better and for a company I'm more excited about, which should be fantastic news, right?

But I'm drawn up short by a clause in the STD initiation paperwork (emphasis mine):

If you do not return to work following this leave for a reason other than (1) the continuation, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition which would entitle you to long-term disability coverage; or (2) other circumstances beyond your control, you may be required to reimburse Company for the Company’s share of health insurance premiums and salary paid on your behalf during your leave.

This is obviously kind of freaking me out--I don't want to give notice in order to take a job, one I can do with my disability, and be told I owe thousands of dollars in pay and benefits!

Maybe I could go back to work for a few days before giving notice?

Does anyone have any experience or advice they might share to help me figure out what to do?

#269535 - 12/09/14 02:39 PM Re: Quitting job while on short-term disability? [Re: NYCuSpA]
SouthernMoss Online
Registered Visitor

Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 1605
Loc: MS
I have no experience or advice to offer. However, I'm wondering about item #1 in your quote: "continuation... of a serious health condition which would entitle you to long-term disability coverage".

You've proven you have a "serious health condition" by qualifying for STD in the first place. And I assume you could easily prove the "continuation" of the condition.

So my questions would be:
1) would your present situation entitle you to LTD once the STD runs out? (I'm assuming this would be employer-provided LTD-is that correct?)
2) Does "entitled" equal "required"? Would you be required to take the LTD when the STD runs out?

I guess what I'm getting at is: what would happen if you went to your employer and said, "I'm on STD now but I'm realizing my symptoms are not improving. I am not going to be able to come back to work when my STD runs out, which means I will need to go on LTD. Rather than continuing to be a financial drain on the company, I would prefer to terminate my employment and find something that better accommodates my physical condition."

The clause you quote seems designed to prevent employees from fraudulently taking advantage of the STD provided by your employer. That is clearly not the case here. You continue to be disabled and will be for the rest of your life.

I caution you not to rely on anything I've said until you've gotten more information from someone who actually knows what they are talking about. But it just seems to me that they would be happy to be rid of you if it's obvious you are never going to be able to work for them again.
Ginny - 56 year old female
Dx with USpA in March 2013; changed to AS in July 2015
Iritis and Scleritis
unicompartmental knee replacement June 2014
MTX, Humira, Cyclobenzaprine, plus Indomethacin ER as needed
Supplements: Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Calcium, Fish Oil, Melatonin, Culturelle probiotic

#269550 - 12/10/14 09:46 AM Re: Quitting job while on short-term disability? [Re: SouthernMoss]
NYCuSpA Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 09/09/14
Posts: 4
Thanks Ginny, that's a very useful suggestion.