What if I can't work?

From the very beginning of the Unspeakable Bits blog, I have written from the premise that information is the counter to fear. I believe that wholeheartedly, and while it is sometimes difficult to face ugly facts about living with multiple sclerosis, I’d rather look at them than hide from them.

One of the most difficult aspects of living with MS comes if we can no longer work due to our disease.
There are loads of resources out there to help us decide when to disclose (or not). The government especially wants to help us stay employed. But even with rehabilitation counseling, we may get to a place where we just cannot work any longer. Because society often seems to value what we do more than who we are, this point in one’s life can be particularly difficult.

As a person who had found his calling, passionately pursuing my second career, and quite vainly defining myself by my work, it shook me to my foundation when I was forced to leave my job within months being of diagnosed with MSThe fact was – no matter how my employer, doctors or I looked at it – I just couldn’t do the work and all that went with it any longer.

I am not a “silver lining” guy. The financial hardships that came as a result of my disability were as crippling as the disease. To say I was unprepared for the difficulties of such an event would be the understatement of my life. There are some financial holes MS dug that I may very well never manage to fill back in.

For those still working after diagnosis, however, there is still time to prepare for this possibility. Some things to consider:
  • Do you have short and long term disability insurance (either though your work or privately)?
  • Are you paying all or a portion of the premiums of disability insurance? (I found out the hard way that this has serious tax implications if you make a claim).
  • Might you be eligible for a “supplemental income” policy?
  • Do you have long-term care insurance?
  • Are your savings and investments structured so that you can access them?
  • Do you have savings that can get you through until insurance benefits kick in? (Do you know how long that is for your policy?)
  • Should you begin to downsize your home/lifestyle now?
All of these are difficult questions to answer and may even be difficult questions to ask.

An MS Navigator (1-800-344-4867) can help you define the questions you need to ask, help find answers and connect you with helpful resources if those answers are hard live with.

Even if the answers you find aren’t very pleasant, at least you’ll know in advance and you can begin to plan around them. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow if you begin asking today.

Wishing you and your family the best of health.


Tags Employment & Education      10 Appreciate this

Trevis Gleason, Blogger

You can follow Trevis via TrevisLGleason.com, his Life With MS Facebook Page on Twitter and on the EverydayHealth.com “Life With MS” Blog. And also, check out his bi-monthly blog for the UK.