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  • jeff109

    I do construction for several companies. I Ive tried to keep it secret that  I ms. I don't think I can hide it any more. Should I apply for a disability or try to keep working?

  • Kris_Employment_Mgr

    Hi Jeff109,

    That is a tough question as there are many things that go into making this decision.   Without knowing exactly what your job entails and what symptoms you are experiencing,  I will give some general info about options.

    It doesn’t sound like you have disclosed your disability to your employers.  This is an individual decision which has pros & cons, including the opportunity to request accommodations to help you do your job.  Our Self Advocacy and Employment information contains a worksheet to help you determine whether you might benefit from disclosing and a tool to help you analyze whether accommodations could assist you.

    An excellent resource to help you consider your accommodation options is the Job Accommodation Network.  See some of the previous posts for more information about accommodations, or contact us if you would like more information about how those might be able to help you.

    If you are not able to find accommodations to help you keep your job, you may want to have a conversation with your neurologist before pursuing any disability options.  Your doctor will be a big part of the process if you choose to apply for disability, and it can be good to check in with your doctor in advance to see if he or she will support you in your application.  It is also a good idea to review your disability policies and processes ahead of time so you can determine whether you meet the criteria.  For example, Social Security will look at whether you are unable to perform any reasonable employment for at least the next 12 months.  A long-term disability insurance policy might have a different definition of disability that you will need to meet in order to be approved for benefits.  We have info about each of these, as well as guides for yourself and your doctor.

    In general, it is a good idea to explore your options and learn about your rights before making any decisions.  There are a number of things to consider including your access to health insurance.  Here is a good general link to information about rights to accommodation under the ADA, taking time off work for medical reasons under FMLA, and other factors that may impact your decision.
    Knowing Your Rights

    I hope that helps!
     

    Best,
    Kris

  • tmiddleton3688

    Kris_Employment_Mgr wrote:

    Hi Jeff109,

    That is a tough question as there are many things that go into making this decision.   Without knowing exactly what your job entails and what symptoms you are experiencing,  I will give some general info about options.

    It doesn’t sound like you have disclosed your disability to your employers.  This is an individual decision which has pros & cons, including the opportunity to request accommodations to help you do your job.  Our Self Advocacy and Employment information contains a worksheet to help you determine whether you might benefit from disclosing and a tool to help you analyze whether accommodations could assist you.

    An excellent resource to help you consider your accommodation options is the Job Accommodation Network.  See some of the previous posts for more information about accommodations, or contact us if you would like more information about how those might be able to help you.

    If you are not able to find accommodations to help you keep your job, you may want to have a conversation with your neurologist before pursuing any disability options.  Your doctor will be a big part of the process if you choose to apply for disability, and it can be good to check in with your doctor in advance to see if he or she will support you in your application.  It is also a good idea to review your disability policies and processes ahead of time so you can determine whether you meet the criteria.  For example, Social Security will look at whether you are unable to perform any reasonable employment for at least the next 12 months.  A long-term disability insurance policy might have a different definition of disability that you will need to meet in order to be approved for benefits.  We have info about each of these, as well as guides for yourself and your doctor.

    In general, it is a good idea to explore your options and learn about your rights before making any decisions.  There are a number of things to consider including your access to health insurance.  Here is a good general link to information about rights to accommodation under the ADA, taking time off work for medical reasons under FMLA, and other factors that may impact your decision.
    Knowing Your Rights

    I hope that helps!
     

    Best,
    Kris


     

  • hopeforjoy11
    It is a very tough time for you . Iknow it happened to me.When I was finally diagnosed with MS (9 years) I was teaching > A profession I went back to school ,while working to achieve. I worked in an Urban area with children who needed constant help.My day started at 5am ended when I left the school biuldin at 4-5pm. Always working to help the children. A very stressful and demanding job. It was VERY difficult for me to leave,but I had no choice. What I would suggest for you is sit down and make a list .On one side the PRO ,if you can stay on the other side the CON,why you can't stay. Also, look into your legal rights about your job and what they nare obligated to do for you. Like rest time at work ehen needed. Furthemore look into disability retirment and social security if you have enough time on the job what would you collect. Hope this helps because this is whAT I did to help me make my choice. GOOD LUCK !!!!!!
  • JodiBeth
    None of it is an easy decision.  I too have not told my employer.  I try hard to do my job the best I can but it IS extremely difficult.  I have cognitive issues and it's extremely hard to concentrate.  It's even simple things like having twitches and the shakes.  It's so frustrating when I double click because of spasisity vs wating to double click.  It just happens. 
    I have heard nightmare stories of trying to get full disability.  It can take years.  Plus I have heard that you have to pretty much expend all your assets in order to qualify for any help.
  • Kris_Employment_Mgr
    Hi JodiBeth,

    Disclosure can definitely be a personal and complicated decision.  There are potential pros and cons to both side of the issue, and it's important to know that in general, disclosure is not required unless you are requesting accommodation (although some jobs may require medical information to address potential safety risks).

    There is one point I would like to emphasize, though.  Employers do have a right to respond to performance problems, including terminating an employee due to poor performance.  For this reason, it's important to make sure you are proactively addressing any performance issues, whether they are related to your MS or not.  If they are related to your MS, it's important ot know that an employer is not required to "forgive" any problems or stop any disciplinary procedures if you disclose later on that the problems were due to your MS.  Instead, they are required to consider accommodations to reduce those problems if they are covered by the ADA, if you request accommodation, and if the problems are a result of a disability.

    Addressing performance problems does not necessarily mean you have to disclose and request an ADA accommodation.  Some people are able to self-accommodate or find ways to fix the performance problems without requesting an ADA accommodation from their employer.  It is your right to be able to request accommodation if you and your employer are covered by the ADA, but some people chose to self-accommodate so they don't have to disclose.  (For an ADA accommodation, an employer has to be given enough information about your medical condition to understand it is an ADA request).

    See previous posts here and the information on our website for more about your ADA rights and responsibilities:
    Knowing Your Rights:
    http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/employment/knowing-your-rights/index.aspx

    Disclosure Decisions:
    http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/employment/disclosure/index.aspx

    Finally, you are correct that it can take years for an SSDI application to be approved, so I can't emphasize enough the importance of financial planning if at all possible.  You are not required to reduce your assets for SSDI (although SSI has income limits), but surviving financially through SSDI application process can take a toll on your finances.  If you are thinking of applying for SSDI, I encourage you to contact us for resources and to review our financial planning brochure, Adapting, in advance so you can do as much as possible to prepare yourself in case you need it:
    http://www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/insurance-and-money-matters/financial-planning/index.aspx

    Best wishes to you,

    Kris Graham
  • chellemarie1

    Hi Jeff,

     

    My name is Chelle I too have M.S. and I was where you are right now. Had to decide weather or not to take a Medical Leave of Absence that I and my medical Dr and my counselor and Neuroglogist agree is gong to be permanant. My M.S. attacked my Cognitive Function. And so I'am no longer able to work the current job - profession that I worked in for 20 yrs as a customer service representative. Yes it was a hard decision to make. But what did it for me was the realization that I was not getting better at my job but worse. And  to boot  I realized I'm 53 yrs old. Ifff my employer were to have eventally fired me for making mistakes constantlywhich that was going to eventually have happened then I would've lost everything I have. Because I would've had no income. So that nightmare potentila was more real to me than my pride and denial that the M.S. no had-has impaired my cognitive function as I was tested at OSU Hospital in 2013 to confirm this.....so long story short DON'T BE ASHAMED TO TAKE THE DISABILITY AND GO FROM THERE WITH YOUR LIFE..........GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU JEFF.......   

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