As of the end of this month, my unpaid leave of absence from work due to illness will be up. My employer will be giving me 3 options:
- Take medical retirement.
- Return to work with physician’s approval.
- Request that management approve an extension of my unpaid leave, which requires forms from my doctor about my prognosis and ability to return to work. This is based on the expectation that I will be able to return at some point in the future, which is pretty much my situation - my condition is such that I have been on extended leave and am still currently unable to perform in a reliable and meaningful capacity, but it is expected that my condition could improve or even resolve once the right treatment is found. It is not degenerative or incurable, it has just been chronic and we are still exploring options.
Obviously the 3rd option is what I want to request - I would very much want to keep my status as an employee. My supervisor did mention however that if management approved an extension, I would then need to deal with my insurer to see if they would extend my LTD disability benefits beyond 2 years.
At 2 years the ‘definition’ for LTD changes from ‘own’ to ‘any’ occupation. I’m not sure why my LTD would particularly depend on my employer extending my leave, as long as I meet the definition? The fact is that my condition has been severe and prolonged for 2 years, and if by chance I find the right treatment in say 6 months, that would be fantastic, but until then I am unable to work in any capacity.
Has anyone else had to ask for an extension to unpaid leave through their employer at this point? And if so, how did it affect your LTD?
I don’t want to have to medically retire to preserve my LTD benefit when my job is so important to me to retain for the future, but should my LTD be cut off, I can’t say when I’d be able to return and how I would manage in the meantime with no income. I spent a year and a half and eventually sued to get my LTD, I really don’t want another big fight just a few short months after getting everything settled.