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In June 2009 I had hemorrhagic stroke and currently I'm on long term disability. I like to test my ability to work as a TWP.

Richmond, VA |

When I informed my employer I like to come back on Trial Work Period I was told I have to be released to work by my physician. It is obvious my disability will not stop with his statement and I don't know how can I perform - I have "good and bad" days but I want to try to be productive again. Do they have a right to require such a statement? Is my employer obligated by law to let me come back for Trial Work Period.

I'm receiving also SSDI. When I spoke with Soc.Sec.Administartion telling them my company asked for written statement from my physician releasing me to work they told me the doctor should write: "Cleared to try to go back to work (Trial Work Period)". Please let me know if statement like this can jeopardize my Social Sec.Benefits.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    You indicate you are on long term disability (LTD) benefits. However, you want to come back to work. You should be careful about this. Your wish to return to work is praiseworthy; however, a return to work may terminate your LTD benefits. You did not indicate if you were also on Social Security Disability. If so, you can do a Trial Work Period if you are on Social Security without jeopardizing those benefits. Social Security will disregard income due to a return to work for 9 months. But again, if your doctor releases you at your request this could also jeopardize your Social Security benefits.

    I practice Social Security and Workers Compensation law in Virginia so this is not meant to be legal advice but only general information.


  2. No, your employer is not obligated to let you come back, unless maybe they previously said they would, like in an handbook or a union agreement. Otherwise, they can probably get away with requiring a medical statement in order to allow you to return. The rules about what they can and can't ask for are less governed by Social Security law and more by the Americans with Disabilities Act (which I know very little about). Keep in mind, though, that the Trial Work Period program is just a deal between you and Social Security, and has nothing to do with your employer. Just because Social Security would let you try working doesn't mean your employer has to. This probably isn't the response you wanted to hear, sorry.

    Please call our firm at 1-866-959-5362 if you would like to discuss your case in more detail. The answers I provide on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us.


  3. Mr. Lutkenhaus has a point about your LTD (and I have to admit, as someone who handles LTD cases, I'm a little disappointed with myself that I didn't mention it in my first answer).

    Before you attempt to return to work, either at your old employer or even somewhere else, you need to read your LTD policy very carefully. Some allow for a return to work and a partial disability benefit, but some do not (i.e., if you can work at all, no more LTD). Plus, even if your LTD policy allows for you to return part-time, it might only pay you a partial benefit, but would still probably offset your full Social Security benefit. In the end, you could find yourself working for free (or at least, for no extra money in your pocket at the end of the day). That's not to say you shouldn't try to return to work, or even to say that the LTD company will never cut off your benefits even if you don't try, but it's something to be aware of.

    Please call our firm at 1-866-959-5362 if you would like to discuss your case in more detail. The answers I provide on Avvo.com are for information purposes only, and should not be relied on as legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship between us.