If terminated while on Short term disability, can I still collect disability payments?

Asked over 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

Have been on short term disability for 2 months.. My Dr. has written extensive restrictions should I return to work. I spoke to HR this morning and they may terminate my employment after 5 years due to this. Can I collect my remaining short-term (4 months left) while I am applying for long term disability and unemployment. I may be mistaken, but I thought you could take a total of 6 mo. short term disability. Does that stop if they terminate me. I will of course apply for Full Disability/SSI should I be terminated, but not sure about the remaining time of short-term. This is such a grueling process and experience.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. William E. Parsons IV

    Contributor Level 7

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . This is a great question. If you are terminated, you remain eligible for short term disability benefits until those benefits are exhausted (4 months from now). Because your disability occurred prior to the end of your employment, you would also be eligible to apply for long term disability benefits (assuming your employer offers long term disability benefits). This is true, even if you are terminated prior to the time when long term disability benefits would begin.

  2. Clifford Michael Farrell

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should check with HR to see if they provide long term benefits after the short term benefits run out. And, if you are going to be off work from all types of activity for 12 months or longer, you should start the process of filing for SS benefits now, even while getting STD and possibly LTD benefits in the future.

    SSA follows a 5 step evaluation, which they descibe as follows:

    The five-step sequential evaluation process. The sequential evaluation process is a series of five “steps” that we follow in a set order. If we can find that you are disabled or not disabled at a step, we make our determination or decision and we do not go on to the next step. If we cannot find that you are disabled or not disabled at a step, we go on to the next step. Before we go from step three to step four, we assess your residual functional capacity. (See paragraph (e) of this section.) We use this residual functional capacity assessment at both step four and step five when we evaluate your claim at these steps. These are the five steps we follow:

    (i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled.

    (ii) At the second step, we consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you do not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the duration requirement in section 404.1509, or a combination of impairments that is severe and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are not disabled.

    (iii) At the third step, we also consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you have an impairment(s) that meets or equals one of our listings in appendix 1 of this subpart and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled.

    (iv) At the fourth step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your past relevant work. If you can still do your past relevant work, we will find that you are not disabled.

    (v) At the fifth and last step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience to see if you can make an adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you cannot make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are disabled.

    A link to more info about this appears below.

    You might want to talk to an attyorney for guidance on this. You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

    The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is www.nosscr.org.

    Good luck to you!
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