Considering temporary disability? Or, been there-done that? What’s it like to make the decision?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-06-10 21:45:28 -0500
Started 2014-06-07 22:10:58 -0500

About every week, I have a talk with a client who needs to talk about taking a month or two off from their jobs, or maybe even more than a month or two.

Some of these clients who are undergoing a debilitating treatment, or are recovering from an injury, or treatment, or are emotionally impaired. In these cases, the decision if clear. My job at that point is to support them by helping them cope with this change, to make the best of this time away from work, and to prepare for the future.

I have other clients who are contemplating making a request for temporary disability. Their reason may be physical, emotional, or a combination of the two. Or maybe their physicians have recommended that they take some time off and they are unsure as to whether this is a good idea or not.

This is never an easy decision for these clients. And supporting them in making this decision is not easy for me, either.

Here is a link to an article I recently wrote about making the temporary disability decision:

I am really interested in knowing about any experiences you have had regarding temporary disability. What was it like to make that decision? Any advice? And if you are considering going on disability, what has making that decision been like? Need some support?

19 replies

jayabee52 2014-06-10 00:24:16 -0500 Report

I didn't have a choice of whether to go on disability. According to the So Sec laws since I was undergoing dialysis I needed to be on disabiility. I had a lot of other problems and when i was temporalily off dialysis for a few years, I could remain on disability due to all my other "medical challenges" . A few years later I needed to return to dialysis again and I probably won't be able to get off again.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-10 21:45:28 -0500 Report

Hi James,

I appreciate that you shared this. You bring up an important point. Some health conditions require that you be on disability. Dialysis is a very good example.

I know you are doing the best you can. You are always an inspiration to others here, as you have been over the four years that I have known you!

Thank you!


The Cimini
The Cimini 2014-06-09 11:28:01 -0500 Report

As a guy that has always worked 60-80 hours a week or more (youth pastor) going on permanent disability was and has been one of the toughest things I've ever done. With not only my diabetes, but also ulcerative colitis and severe heart disease, (I've got 14 stents), I've just never thought about giving up on anything. Managing my health was mentally easier than being "disabled". After 2 years I am beginning to emotionally deal with it but that has been my biggest challenge.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-09 20:47:38 -0500 Report

Hi The Cimini,

Nice to meet you, my friend. And thanks for jumping in here.

I know what a hard decision this is. And for someone like yourself who has clearly made helping others his life's work, this must have been a wrenching decision. Dealing with emotional aspects of the decision, and making the transition to this new chapter, is a challenge. It is kind of like going through a grieving process as you experience this major loss. It's a process, taken one step at a time.

I hope you have lots of support. Glad you are here!


farone1 2014-06-08 14:43:51 -0500 Report

i have applied 2xs now n keep getting denied bc of my age. im 39 but have crohns n graves also. should i be getting a lawyer to appeal again with me??

funnygirl98 2014-06-10 14:30:58 -0500 Report

i farone1… I suggest u find urself a lawyer out there that deals solely with just disability law. I myself kept getting turned down as well but it seems like as soon as u hire a lawyer to get involved with ur case soc sec will finally approve ur claim. Best wishes on getting ur claim approved;-) It's a long hard road to go through but once its over and u win ur case it will feel like a ton of stress has been lifted off ur shoulders sort of speak because ur not worring about everything anymore.. Again I wish u the best of luck and if u need someone to talk to I'm here for you because I've been through this 3 times since feb 1996 so i have 1st time knowledge on how to get around the government in orfder to get approved finally;-)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-08 19:50:13 -0500 Report

HI farone,

I am not an expert in this, to be honest. I have had clients who had attorneys, and others who did not. But it has been my experience that persistence is required, as is the support of your physician.


elizag1 2014-06-08 09:35:49 -0500 Report

I work but my job is very very part time..ambassador at the local grocery store and, I hand out samples for 5 hours on Saturdays or Sundays but, not every weekend..I hope looking to going to work part time but at least 30 hours a week soon..I did have a job in food service. I went in at 5 am till 3 pm..I was in a prep. position, and, other girls preparing cookies cakes etc. were near me and the temptation to just eat cookies and croissants was too much for me.
I only worked two weeks, and they did not have to give me a break and I did not get one. I did get ill because I was not eating. When I got home at 3 pm nothing here made so I still had to prep. for ME. I was doing like 30 lb. salads, slicing lots of stuff and having it in the freezer for the lunch rush..I did learn alot but, it is not for me. I have to eat.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-08 19:48:06 -0500 Report

Hi elizag,

Thanks for sharing your story here. It has to be touch for a diabetic to work long hours without a break, that just doesn't work. And I can imagine those high sugar and carb snacks surrounding you weren't so helpful either.

I hope you are able to find something that works for you, and works with your diabetes.

Keep us posted!


Jan8 2014-06-08 09:30:57 -0500 Report

I had been on permanent disability for years. The first time I had been turned down. The 2nd time turned down but I wrote a note to have a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse review my case. Then I got it. That's all it took ! I had bipolar disorder but with no manic episodes just high energy. I also had many autoimmune disorders. It was hard making the decision to apply because I finally had to come to terms with the diseases

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-08 19:44:23 -0500 Report

Hey Jan,

Thanks for checking in, as always!

The process of going on disability can be a tough one. That initial turn down seems to be pretty standard. I am glad to hear you worked it out and got what you needed.

And you are so right. Making that application requires coming to terms with your condition. That can be a very big move. And a lot to deal with emotionally.


robertoj 2014-06-08 10:59:37 -0500 Report

I was also high energy with the exception of one episode where I stayed awake for five straight days without the use of stimulants including coffee or tea. I got mine he first time and I had few records as most were destroyed.

Jan8 2014-06-08 15:37:41 -0500 Report

That's fantastic robertoj .I love hearing stories like yours. not everyone needs a lawyer.

abavema 2014-06-08 09:30:02 -0500 Report

I was of work for 2 years and at that time I got off the insulin and I was in control but now I back at work an back on insulin 50 units bead time and 10 in the morning and not in control buy my Dr. don't like to talk to me about getting back to be off work

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-08 19:41:37 -0500 Report

Hey abavema,

Nice to see you. I hope you are taking care of yourself. And don't hesitate to let your doctor know how you're feeling.


robertoj 2014-06-08 01:59:12 -0500 Report

I'm on permanent disability. When I was on temporary I pressure my doctor for a medical release. That was a mistake.

funnygirl98 2014-06-08 00:40:56 -0500 Report

I have been on permanent disability since Nov of 1996 and it was the hardest decision I ever have had to make for myself. I had no income comming in to pay my bills food etc. and my employer wouldn't allow me to come back to work slowly like my dr had requested I do so I had no other choice in the matter. I have a combination of both physical and emotional disabilities and it took me talking with my friends therapist and psychiatrist to have the strength to say I could no longer work as a nursing asst which I loved my work but realized that going on disability was the best thing for me. Employers would make excuses for not wanting to hire me and ppl in my community would look down on me so I thought which made me even more depressed but after awhile I just told myself that this is what I needed to do in order to survive and to ignore those ppl that thought and acted like they were better than me to keep their opinions to themselves and when they have lived in my shoes for awhile and know what I have to live like then they can talk all they want to but until then keep their opinions to themselves.Anyone considering going on disability I just would like them all to know it is a very long process and 95% of ppl that apply the 1st time will be denied but don't give up the fight. It will take u getting a disability lawyer to represent u in order for social security to finally approve u which will take an average of 2 to 4 years to start recieving benefits monthly. The good part about it is that the government does pay you all the way back to when u 1st applied for it. Don't give up the fight u can do it and win like I did it just takes time… so stay strong it's worth it in the end;-) P.S. I personally had to get a federal judge twice to reinstate my disability so I know 1st hand what it's like and what the process is that u have to go through in order for ur benefits to start and to continue.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-08 19:39:49 -0500 Report

Hey funnygirl,

Thank you so much for checking in here and sharing your story. I really appreciate it and I am sure others will as well.

I have been through this process with clients, including the initial turn-down. It is so difficult, a very hard road.

I understand what you mean about the judgmental attitudes of others. And you are so right, only you are walking in your shoes. No one else is. Only you know. So keep your head up!

Take care of yourself, and stay in touch!