Hi everyone! I’m new here. I have looked through many of the Forums but there hasn’t been any answers that I could apply to my situation. I am in Alberta. I am now 55 years of age - female. (I volunteer this info to you)._
I fell ill in 2011 - but continued to work. My Family Doctor went out of her way to find out what was wrong. Test after test. I was referred to the Chronic Pain Clinic - which after a year of waiting - I attended for 2 years. I was referred to an Internist in 2013 - who diagnosed me with “Liddle Syndrome”. He referred me to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with “Polymyalgia Rheumatica” but after 11 months and a lot of prednisone, kenalog shots and methotrexate injections - she decided her diagnosis was incorrect; that it was just “trigger point pain” and said “have a nice life”. Seriously she did - my Husband was with me plus I recorded the appointment! My symptoms were getting worse; not better and I went on Short-Term Disability April 2013.
It’s now 2014. Fortunately I was still seeing the Internist and my Family Doctor regularly - both were extremely upset with her. Regardless my Internist was starting to see a lot of patients referred to him with similar circumstances. So - as long as I was willing to think outside the box - would I consider being tested for Lyme Disease. I answered a lot of questions, sent bloodwork in for testing - and lo and behold - it came back Positive according to the Lab’s requirements and Positive according to the more rigorous CDC requirements! Ugh! I then endured a 16 week aggressive treatment program. I was approved for LTD in April 2014. I was then approved for CPP-D several months later. I was sent for an IME - and diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was also diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder.
So - now I have: Liddle Syndrome; Lyme Disease; Chronic Pain Syndrome; Fibromyalgia and Major Depressive Disorder!
I received 1 year of Short-Term Disability paid by my Employer. I received 2 years of LTD paid by Manulife (to 65 if eligible). I was then approved by Manulife as “totally disabled” and continued receiving payment for 6 more months. I appealed but was still denied. My Employer continued to pay for my benefits (health, dental, insurance, DB pension plan). I was sent for a FCE with a Chiropractor - who subsequently decided that I was able to work in a “Sedentary Position”. Manulife cut off my payments October 2016. They told me prior that they would put me through a 6 week Rehab - but my Family Doctor advised not to do it! She argued with the Case Manager for 2 hours about my health but said they either wouldn’t answer her questions or argued with her. I commend her for fighting so hard for me!
My Employer then cut off my benefits Feb 2017 but moved me into the status of “Leave of Absence without Pay” and said I could continue my Benefits if I paid for them - but only until mid-October when . Without an income except for CPP-D we were headed for financial ruin. My Benefits cost close to $1,000/month. My family stepped forward and put the Benefit payments into an account for Feb to mid-Oct for the Employer to withdraw to pay for my Benefits. I take 16 prescriptions/day!! I turned 55 in September.
I contacted a Lawyer. Litigation has started. But here’s my question! What will/can the Employer do when mid-October comes around? I don’t know why they didn’t keep my status as LTD without Benefits as they know from my Specialist and Family Doctor sent scathing letters to Manulife about trying to send me back to work! Now that I’m 55 can they “Involuntarily Retire” me? or let me go With Cause? If they gave me a severance package (I worked for them for 32 years) how is that going to affect the Litigation? If there’s no severance but I’m still terminated - that puts me into the Company’s “Retiree” status. The upside is I’ll be eligible to receive a pension monthly plus get basic health and dental benefits thru the Company (Employer paid). My Lawyer has expressed that I should take a settlement from Manulife if we win versus continuing with LTD if the Company retains me because he feels 6 months after the Litigation - Manulife will just find another reason to cut off my payments a few months down the road.
So to sum it up (sorry for the book!) - mid-October where does this leave me with my Employer? Terminate? Continue as is? And if they terminate where does that take me in the Litigation process?