On leave due to illness with public service?


#1

Has anyone else here been on a LWOP due to illness (unpaid) with the public service? My direct employer has been great provided I update them monthly, and I was finally just recently granted LTD from our disability insurance plan after having a lawyer take my case (thanks to David’s referral). However that ‘2 year’ mark is approaching and I’m nervous even though there has been no mention of letting me go. I have spoken to coworkers who are friends and they haven’t known anyone personally who was let go while on disability even when gone longer than me. I don’t want to mention anything to my employer or ‘poke the bear’ in case things can just stay as they are and hopefully I will be able to return within the next year if treatment goes well. I literally just got approved for LTD after a year and a half of fighting, and I think I’m just scared that I’d have to take on another battle so soon again. Any advice?


#2

I don’t think you would be let go before 2 years without them offering and you declining return to work (may be accommodation or different job).
Would coworkers even know if someone got let go while on disability after many years?
Does the insurance company know that you expect to return to work after a year of more treatment?
I don’t know what happens if after 3 years, you return to work.
I assume you’re unionized.
I guess your employer has to find you a job.
Should you tell your employer you hope to return to work in another year?
My opinion is yes.
Do you have union rep?
Ask them, they have a grasp of your situation.


#3

I’m not worried about being let go before 2 years is up, but the 2 year mark is fast approaching so I’m concerned about what would happen then.

In my office, someone knows something about everybody, and of course many people keep in touch with former co-workers.

My condition is such that it will HOPEFULLY be a matter of finding the right treatment or combination that could improve or even resolve at some point. It is not terminal but incapacitating enough that I cannot work in a reliable or meaningful capacity ’ for the foreseeable future’. So it’s an unknown, really, and I see my GP and specialist monthly. My hope to be able to work in some capacity within the next year is just that - hope.

I am unionized. My faith in my local is shall we say, skeptical. But I would definitely get in touch should I get a hint of something possibly happening.

Simply put - I think I am worrying right now because I’m really good at anticipating negative situations whether they are likely or not. I think this has really become more prominent with my chronic illness.


#4

In my office (private company) that was not true.
There seemed to be a feeling that any comtact with a disabled person would jeopardize their disability claim (eg. They can work if they contact anyone from work). This is not true and it is just ignorance.
I think David has said that companies don’t usually fire someone for “frustrated employment” until after 4 years.
Some companies never fire anyone.
I think being a large company and unionized works in your favour for never getting fired.
At the very least I would bet on 4 years.
Has your employer asked when you hope to return to work?
Has the insurance company asked?
As for whether the insurance company would want another lawsuit, I have no idea.
Does your policy change the definition of disability to “any occupation” after 2 years?
Do you meet that?
If the insurance company thinks you would likely meet that definition, I think they would leave you alone.
David might have an idea of how common it is to get cut off after 2 years and if a previous lawsuit affects that likelihood.

I wouldn’t worry about losing your job.
I suspect that the employer won’t just fire you, they’ll say how can we accommodate you returning to work now first.
Plus I would count on 4 years.
I’d be worried about the insurance company cutting you off after 2 years.
I’d probably ask a lawyer.

Or try not to worry and see what happens.

Best of luck.


#5

I see my physicians each month and provide my employer with a letter on my current condition, which usually states that I am ‘currently unable to work in a reliable and meaningful capacity and will remain that way for the foreseeable future - we will keep you notified if/when this situation changes’. From that it is fairly clear I would think, that ‘any’ occupation would be met after the 2 years (yes I have that ‘own to any’ wording in the plan)…

I have not been in direct contact with my insurer since my lawyer took my case last fall, and everything was fully wrapped up last month. My lawyer told me to keep his name and number if I ever needed him again, but that judges tend to not look favourably on an insurance company that is needing to be sued a second time after settling the first in my favour.

Thanks for your advice, jammer. Apparently I like to cause myself anxiety over things that have not yet and may not happen.


#6

I would think that is fairly positive if I was in that situation.
I hope you recover.


#7

Depending on whether you are Federal or Provincial Public Service, it is not so much that they will fire you while on sick leave. What they can do in some situations is require you to take a mandatory medical retirement at some point. They will do this if and when it becomes clear that there is no possibility of you returning to work in the near future. They normally don’t start looking at this until a person is in the post 2 year part of an LTD claim. All situations are unique and the example I am giving is more how things play out with some Federal public service situations. Things are all over the map with provincial public service and in some provinces you can remain an employee until you are eligible for full retirement under the pension plan. Not all provinces have the “medical retirement” designation.


David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

The response posted above is based on the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with a lawyer, fully explain your situation, and allow the lawyer enough time to research the applicable law and facts required to give an adequate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full one-on-one discussion with a lawyer should be done before taking any any action. The information posted on this forum is available to the viewing public and is not intended to create a lawyer client relationship with any person. If you want one-on-one advice, please click here to request a free consultation or call toll free 1-877-282-5188 to speak with a member with our disability claim support team.


#8

Thanks David, I am with the federal service. I have heard of medical retirement, however the instances I personally know of have been those who were a bit closer to ‘actual’ retirement age (I am in my 30s). However I will do some research, maybe it doesn’t have to do with age! There is certainly hope that I could recover, at this point however I will be approaching the 2 year mark by summer and have been thinking about what could happen.


#9

Medical retirement for federal public service doesn’t have anything to do with age. It applies to employees who have no prospect of return to work (because of disability) regardless of age. Age is only a factor in that it can dictate years of service and payment into the Pension Plan, which can in turn affect eligibility and the benefit amount of the medical retirement payment.


David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

The response posted above is based on the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with a lawyer, fully explain your situation, and allow the lawyer enough time to research the applicable law and facts required to give an adequate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full one-on-one discussion with a lawyer should be done before taking any any action. The information posted on this forum is available to the viewing public and is not intended to create a lawyer client relationship with any person. If you want one-on-one advice, please click here to request a free consultation or call toll free 1-877-282-5188 to speak with a member with our disability claim support team.


#10

Thanks very much for the clarification! My hesitation to reach out to my HR regarding these sorts of questions is mainly due to not wanting to set wheels turning if they haven’t brought it up at this point, so I appreciate the information!