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LTD application and Health Leave
Jul 2, 2013

Thank you for your valuable information. I am currently on unpaid Health Leave from my job (the 4th time I've been on leave in the past 2 years) and am navigating going on LTD and SSDI. Currently I am paid by the state disablity plan. My Health Leave is about to expire and my LTD application is still "pending." I am also required by my LTD plan to apply for SSDI. My employer will consider an extension of leave if I can "return to work at at a reasomable time". What's the best option? Should I extend my Health Leave while my LTD is under review to protect my benefits (the currently pay their portion) or resign my position now? And what time frame should I indicate if apply for an additional leave?

Response from Mr. Chambers

Since your employer is continuing your health premiums, you should try to extend your leave as long as you can to postpone having to pay the premiums under COBRA.

But what does the employer mean by "return to work at a reasonable time." What's reasonable? It is not like you have a choice of when to return to work. It is dependent on when you are able to do your job and when the doctor allows you to return. The answer to "when will you return" is "whenever I can and the doctor allows it, hopefully soon, but neither of us knows for sure when that will be."

You will need to eventually apply for SSDI but I suggest waiting until the LTD is resolved. Social Security will pay retro benefits for up to 12 months plus they never pay the first five calendar months of disability, so you won't lose any benefits as long as you file within 17 months of leaving work disabled.

Good luck, Jacques



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