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RN on disability ? returning to job
Feb 26, 1998

I went on disability almost two years ago, my lab numbers have improved,due to the medication. I am not sure what criteria to use to determine when it is time to go back to work...I have fears about returning to the stress and exposure of working as an RN in the hospital setting. Currently I am ill several days out of a month, but when I am feeling well, I think I could work.I do not want to risk lossing my current benefits as they will never be matched by the next job, I fear reporting a prior existing condition next time I am asked during re-employment process. thanks.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

You have some legitimate concerns. In order to determine what is the best course of action, you need to look at the terms of your long term disability coverage. Some things to look for are:

1. Does the plan have a residual disability benefit? Some plans have a provision that considers someone to be residually disabled if he is working for wages but has an income loss of 20% or more due to his illness. This allows the individual to return to work for wages while still on disability without a reduction in his monthly disability benefit until the sum of his disability benefit and wages equals 100% of his salary at the time he became disabled. The disability benefit will then be reduced by earnings over 100%. This allows someone to gradually get back into the workforce.

2, How does your plan treat successive periods of disability? For example, some plans treat separate periods of total disability as one period unless separated by a return to work of 180 days or more. This means that someone on disability could return to work and if he became disabled within the first 180 days due to the same or related causes, disability benefits would commence immediately without a waiting period.

Lynn Franzoi

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