It was a most curious conversation I had the other day with the latest ‘expert’ at the company that is handling my long-term disability (LTD) claim. It was a new case worker and first we had to clear the usual hurdles and introductions. Then the conversation went pretty much like this-
Expert: So, how are you doing?
Me: Ok, there are good days and some not so good days, (I reply, trying to be pleasant rather than dump on her about the latest physical woes.)
Expert: That means you are better?
Me: Umm, do you know anything about multiple sclerosis? (Trying to be respectful)
Expert: Well I have read some and I know it is a disease that comes and goes with relapses.
Me: well not exactly. Yes, it has periods of relapses and remissions but MS never goes away.
Expert: I know there isn’t a cure for MS but people do get better, right?
Me: unfortunately that’s not quite how it works and I’m happy to send you some information if you would like to learn more. (I’m wondering, what has she been reading?)
I was hoping to move the conversation on before I became entirely frustrated and said inappropriate things, after all this is the person determining if my LTD continues or not. I understand their job is to get people back to work, regardless of what that might take and what kind of work it would be. I try to be patient with her questions because I know she is just doing her job. But each time I am on one of the telephone reviews, when I get asked about the use of my hands, I picture myself being trained to flip burgers; never mind that I have no stamina to stand for long periods of time. They no longer want to ask about my walking. Or my fatigue. Or any of the other things that factored in to my stopping full-time employment.
That’s ok, I guess – they are doing their job, and since I can no longer do mine their job is to get me onto Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and out of their company’s pockets.
Expert: So I see you applied for SSDI , how did that go?
Me: I have other income sources and do not qualify for SSDI based on my income.
Expert: I have lots of people who are making $100,000 or even $200,000 a year and still get SSDI. How much you make doesn’t matter.
Me: (all efforts to play nice end here) – uh, you might want to check that again because there is a limit and no one making $100,000 a year will get SSDI. SSDI is meant to be a backup for people who have no or little income.
Expert: I am sure you can make that much and still get it.
Me: I would again urge you to check this because I am certain. If you have people making $100,000 a year and still getting SSDI, I would like to know how.
Expert: I guess I should look into this.
Me: (I won’t print what i was thinking about this comment!).
And the conversation pretty much ended there. I anticipate their next review call will be in a few short months, when I can again expect to answer ‘are you better now?’ If it’s the same case worker, I hope the expert will have done some homework about both SSDI and MS.