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Long Term Disability
Jul 18, 2001

I am a 41 yo male living with HIV for 16 years, including 5 years AIDS diagnosis due to low CD4 (44), anemia, wasting, diabetes, lipodystrophy. I have been on LTD for 2 years due to severe fatigue following recovery from the wasting and diabetes.

I am actually feeling better than I was 2 years ago thanks to steroids and having time off to focus on my health.

I have a 2 part question: 1) What is your knowledge of private LTD transferring the case from disability to retirement status? It happened to a friend of mine 3 years ago but he was a lot worse off than I am. I hope this would happen with me so I can get out of the paperwork shuffle.

2) How do I know when I might be able to work again? I think I could work part time, but not full time due to the time and energy required to manage my illness. There is no way I can replace my disability with a part time job (for which I would lose benefits), but at the same time I feel too young to throw in the towel as far as productive work goes. I'd appreciate your thoughts.


Response from Mr. Berg

Bill, I'm not sure I know what you mean by transferring from disability to retirement . Some company plans have generous retirement packages that coordinate with the LTD after a specified period or offer full retirement health coverage once disability is established. You would have to check into your former employer's retirement plan summary to see if this applies to you. Most LTD plans stop paying benefits at age 65 and the income is replaced by a retirement benefit and/or Social Security. In terms of evaluating your ability to return to some form of employment, you need to discuss this matter with your physican and set some realistic goals. Most LTD plans offer a supplemental monthly benefit while you are working part-time due to physical limitations. Your LTD benefit summary plan description would oultline the criteria and calculation formula. I strongly suggest that you review this provision prior to making any plans and discuss the ramifications with your physician. Also, most LTD plans have a stricter "any occupation" definition of disability that must be met in order to continue to receive LTD benefits beyond 2 years. If you haven't already passed your evaluation for continued benefits, you might want to think about you true physical capabilities before taking any action.

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