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HIV 10+ Years - Disability?
Feb 14, 2000

I am HIV+ for over 10 years. ( Female, 36 yrs.) I have a high level job in a large company that requires lots of hours - (70 +) and overseas travel as well as 3-4 domestic trips a month.

The drugs that I am taking ( Zerit, Viramune and Agenerase) are having a huge impact on my energy, my digestive system and basically my ability to work this kind of schedule. I have taken a 4 week leave to adjust to meds. but went back to work today 1/2 days - Enough is enough - My Dr. and I think Long Term disability is my next option -

Is there any chance I would not get approved - My employer tells me that I go the FMLA route until it runs out then automatically switch to Long Term. Is that an approval? Can they tell me no - after my short term is over. My employer knows what my illness is.

I'd love to hear from you and appreciate your thoughts.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

You need to review the terms of the long term disability plan to determine how disability is defined. Is it defined as unable to perform the duties of your own occupation (Own Occ) or is it defined as unable to perform the duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified (Any Occ)? You should discuss with your physician whether or not he feels with your diagnosis you will qualify for benefits based on your plan's definition of disability. Your long term disability plan could either be (I) a self-insured plan administered by the employer or a third party administrator or (ii) a fully insured plan administered by an insurance company. Either way, you should file the paperwork to see if you quality. In my experience, especially with an LTD plan that has an Own Occ definition of disability, you would qualify. Some LTD plans apply an Own Occ definition for two years and an Any Occ definition thereafter.

Lynn Franzoi



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