Sinking into the Abyss

By ram63 Latest Reply 2011-01-22 22:17:04 -0600
Started 2011-01-13 20:57:29 -0600

Yesterday was the day, my deadline for returning to my job after my injury at work. Today, I am officially unemployed. The surgeon who did surgery on my shoulder twice, failed at both attempts according to two other surgeons I went to. What makes it worse is that now my shoulder is beyond repair and there is no surgical intervention to correct the problems I'm having and because I can't return to my job, I'm out. The doctor can't be sued for malpractice either, as California is a 'no fault state' when it comes to work comp.

I've checked into Social Security, but it can take 6-9 months for it to clear if it's even approved. My 401k can't be touched or I will lose over half to penalties and taxes. I can't apply for unemployment as I'm not eligible. I have asked about applying for another job somewhere, but with an open work comp case, no one will touch me. The work comp case won't be settled for a while, so I'm not looking for that anytime soon.
I've already started selling off what I can, packing the important stuff, and trying to find out where I go from here.

15 replies

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-01-22 22:17:04 -0600 Report

Sorry you lost your job. I remember the day my boss told me I was terminted due to still needing surgery and rcovery time. There are a lot of us who fall into the cracks. I am sorry you are one also. I hope you can find some help soon. It takes a toll on you that is hard to explain to anyone unless they have faced the fear of homelessness. Thanks to the extreme kindness of my sisters and their husbands we have had a roof over our heads this last difficult year. We have talked to our state reps and been told by the state PERA board "sue us". Others suing the PERA insurance monster have been fighting for many many years. The disability insurance companies made up transferable skills and jobs that don't exist to deny my husbands claim. Sorry for the depressing tone of my reply. I have been battling the depression monster this last week. But everyday the sun does come up and there is hope that either he or I can get the call from an employer. He was at maximum medical improvement after his surgery almost four years ago. Just since Thanksgiving week of this year nerves have reconnected in his spine and he is now walking without his cane some and his stamina and flexability have increased. Not back to his old self by any means, but better enough to look at a few more job possibilities. Are there any short term, temp type jobs you could locate. My husband was able to work for the census, then call center work for a couple of months. Just last week he was hired on by a temp agency, however no work yet and no pay check.

PetiePal 2011-01-17 13:24:26 -0600 Report

I agree with Gabby…see what you can do for a human interest story in local papers/news stations. Speak to local churches or hospitals and see if there is any charity work that could be done to help.

Are you unionized?

I'm not an expert in worker's comp but you should be able to start immediately getting unemployment if you were laid off right?

ram63 2011-01-17 00:16:25 -0600 Report

I want to thank everyone for their support. My home is slowly being packed up in boxes and I will be homeless at the end of the month. My doctor gave me enough samples to last me for the next 4 months. I guess I'm one of those cases that fell through the cracks. Have written letters to the governor's office and the local state rep., but to no avail yet. They always say it is darkest before the dawn, it's pretty hard to see right now and the sun is nowhere in sight.

GabbyPA 2011-01-17 12:15:59 -0600 Report

Have you tried to write to your local papers in the editorial or even human interest stories. Sounds kind of crummy, but getting your story out there can lead to opportunities that might otherwise not appear. You might find someone who knows how to get you to a better place in all your issues. It is worth a try. You have a few weeks left to give it a whirl. Don't let them win. Don't let defeat sink is a hard bedfellow to kick out.

Brenda_B 2011-01-15 01:23:57 -0600 Report

One more thought. If you Worker's Comp claim has not settled. You can ask for a draw against your settlement. Your attorney can help you with that. It takes a bit of pressure but they will release your money to you.

Brenda_B 2011-01-14 14:12:38 -0600 Report

Oh Ram… that is terrible… This is so wrong. I’m truly sorry you or anyone has to go though this… I HATE the new Worker's Comp laws in CA. I pray the laws will change back to so they will actually help the injured. I was hurt several years ago, just as the law was changing… It took a couple of year and lots of court dates to establish I was under the old law (thank you GOD). But then it took another year to actually get any surgery apporved… It was a very eye opening experience.
There has been some great advice from the DC group. My advice is about the same…

* keep your SS disability claim going… no matter what. And yes you will be rejected the first time around… that part is stupid. But you will get back pay to the time you applied. (Do you have an attorney helping you apply for SS Disability?… I HIGHLY suggest you get one!)

* Apply for unemployment. If they say you can't work it will help you SS Disability claim. Who know maybe there is a job out there, a training program, etc? Talk to your attorney who is helping you with you SS application. There are some jobs/ training that will not affect your SSDI claim…..

* Check out all the social services that the people below have suggested. Beside the usual, asking for monetarily help, ask about help finding a place to live. Here is link for info on section 8 housing

* Write to your State Assemblyman, the governor, and anyone you can think of. You can do a basic letter on your computer, but send each letter addressed to specific person …. Not a group mailing thing… Keep the opening of the letter simple…. Something like what you posted here. Then list all the info in the main body of the letter. If nothing else I have read about cases were an assemblyman or congressman help someone get there SSDI much faster than average claim. *** Important follow up with a phone call in about a week to that person… and another phone call until you talk to someone other than a machine or answering service. (you will need a note book to keep info on all the letter, phone calls, etc… in order because it will get confusing very quickly)

* If there is a union that cover your type of job, even, if you are not in that union… contact them too. Some unions have advocacy teams that will help with all sort of stuff… including getting your story on the local news… Unions want the law changed back to helping the injured worker.

* Search on line for support groups for workers injured on the job. There are a LOT of groups out there. Some are just a place to complain ( that is important too) some will have more active suggestions on what you can do.

I have not kept up with support groups. But I will ask around if I come up with any really great site I will post it. And I will say a prayer. I don’t know much I can really do to help. I did write the Swartzenager, to complain, when he was governor… several times. I will start writing to Jerry Brown… He might be more sympathetic.
Hugs, Brenda

jayabee52 2011-01-15 01:54:06 -0600 Report

Sympathetic, perhaps. My bride went to Brown with a problem when he was gov before, and he sympathized but did SQUAT, Nix, Nada!.

Brenda_B 2011-01-15 12:04:52 -0600 Report

Well that is horrible!
I do think Ram's Assemblyman and/or his congressman could help Ram… at least to speed up his SS application.
But on the other issue something I feel very strong about. I had hoped Brown would help get some changes in the Worker's Comp laws so injured workers are not just abandon

jayabee52 2011-01-15 13:50:11 -0600 Report

My bride was blind and what she asked him about was something relating to her medical care & blindness. I was not in her life at that point so was not there to witness the interaction, but years later when she told me about it (more than once) she said she was VERY disappointed with what he didn't do. And she had written to Rep Fourtney "Pete" Stark US congress district 13, also and was similarly disappointed by his response ( or lack of it.) over a SSDi issue.

In one way I'm glad I no longer had to remain in CA. I would have stayed for Jem becaues she was getting excellent medical care (20 yrs with CHF) but now she hs passed, I escaped back to NV.

I pray for my friends' and in law's sakes that my fears for CA will not come true.

RAYT721 2011-01-14 11:38:22 -0600 Report

Ram: I am so sorry to hear of all that you've been through with the medical community, government and employers. My wife and I went through similar situations with her disability so I am so totally understand where you are coming from. We were given no help or hope whatsoever because although her income dropped to zero from more than $32,000 it was my income that kept us from qualifying from anything… food stamps, energy help, welfare, or anything. The denials for long-term disability kept coming because with all limbs and sight they just assume you are simply lazy regardless of what your disability may be. The physical, emotional and financial horrors went on for around 2-3 years. We did get things finally pushed through the system with our contact to our State Representatives Office which I believe goes by state and county or district. It took a few attempts to get to the right area but definitely look for someone who can help with SSI denials, which are always denied the first time (or several times as we have experienced). I wish I had answers for you but we made it though in time and finally have some peace of mind but the journey was beyond belief. Get your situation known to any and all community service agencies in your area. They won't find you so you MUST find them. Tell your situation over and over to anyone who will listen and perhaps you'll find the right person to offer you the assistance that you need. I am thinking of you and hoping for a wonderful success story in your next update to us. You are on my friend's list… anytime you need a shoulder, shoot me a message!!!

realsis77 2011-01-14 11:28:13 -0600 Report

I'm so sorry to hear about what has happened to you! Have you gone to human services in your area? They should be able to help get you covered by state insurance and it will cover all doctors visits ans meds! Also perhaps while your waiting for an answer from social security they can help with food and cash. I would go talk to them immeditatly! I'm on social security my self and I had a problem with an over payment where my social security was stopped for two months and thank God for human services! They helped me with money and food until my social security was squared away again. I would definatly go see if they can help you until you get your benefits comming from social security. This way you won't have to do with out medicine and doctors visits! Good luck to you and hang in there. If human services can't help id ask the health department if they know of programs that might help you during this time. I do believe human services will be able to help you through your situation now. You can find there number in your local phone book. I don't know what I would have done without there help! God bless you and keep us posted on how your doing ok?

Harlen 2011-01-14 10:59:15 -0600 Report

Ok I ran into this too You can go back to work but only do what you can and not what you can not do ,if that dosent work,
You can hit your 401 without the penlaties for medicalneed I did and only had to pay the reg may take ssi time to kick in but as long as you work with your doc you will get it and you will get it from the time you file .Go to the stake and tell them you need med-ins and that you have a clame for ssi and they will help you .Hang in there frend we are with you
Best wishes

jayabee52 2011-01-14 01:21:33 -0600 Report

I am distressed at your situation. You still need to pursue your unemployment, and also your SSDi. You will likely be turned down, but don't take that as final. You may well have to get a disability attorney involved. Yes it costs money, but many disability attorneys have a no recovery, no payment policy.

You might also have a cause of action against the Drs who botched your surgeries.

You are in a tough spot right now, but perhaps with perseverence you may well come out OK.

I am 58 and have been on SSDi since Jan 2008, so it can be done if you don't give up.

Blessings to you and yours!


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-01-13 23:13:41 -0600 Report

Hey Ram,

I also wanted to express my concern over what you're dealing with here. This is really awful. I wish I was an expert in worker's comp -- I would jump in with advice. As Gabby suggested, it would seem like a good idea to keep after them, even when they say no the first time.

You didn't mention support in your note. Do you have friends or family who are standing with you during this time? I hope so. It's really important to get emotional support. Let the people in your life know that you are going through a rough time and that you need to know that they are there.

And stay in touch with your friends on Diabetic Connect. Keep us posted!

GabbyPA 2011-01-13 21:11:33 -0600 Report

Ram, I am so sorry to hear of this. Go ahead and keep your application for disability going. Don't let it lapse, even after the first rejection (because there will be a rejection). Also. apply for unemployment. Let them decide if you are eligible or not. You have paid into that, and unless you lost your job because you were fired because of an infraction, you should qualify.

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