When her employer held a small party to celebrate Liz Cellini’s first five years of service to the company, everybody praised her dedication and hard work. Only a few people from work knew that Liz also put a lot of hard work and dedication into raising her seven year-old daughter. None knew how much effort she put into concealing her chronic health problems.
Hard work and dedication were characteristic of Liz, a single mother often described as driven. Age 31, she was determined to stay with the company another five years. She viewed continuing hard work and dedication as the keys to stay on while her employer, a large retail chain, had begun laying off staff as the economy weakened.
Her family doctor did not view Liz’s driven quality with the same admiration. Over the past four years, Liz has suffered with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and migraine headaches. Her doctor referred her to a migraine specialist, but Liz never made the appointment. Fearing being ordered to take time off work, she never wanted to go. Nor did she pursue any leads to treat her IBS that might compromise heravailability for work.
The migraines always struck in the evening, when she would call on friends and family to attend to her daughter. She was well adapted to her IBS symptoms, too. It was second nature to her, for example, to choose foods and activities that would allow her to avert the worst symptoms, especially at work. Liz never considered taking time off work. She did not want to compromise her reputation for hard work and dedication or risk losing her job.
Liz found herself in a difficult situation. Eventually, her symptoms grew worse. Her employer also continued laying off workers, even at her own store. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could depend on her employment to continue. She also found it a bothersome distraction to continue dealing with her migraines and IBS in such secrecy.
With a mind to access her disability insurance, Liz finally reviewed the employee benefits booklet from work. Even so, she regarded supporting herself and her daughter as her top priority and still feared losing her job. Though she confirmed disability insurance coverage, she felt torn.
Someone told Liz about Share Lawyers and their specialty in disability insurance law. So, Liz contacted Share Lawyers to discuss her situation. She was told that if her doctor would support her application, she should apply for disability benefits as soon as possible.
It was explained that if she was laid off or her position was permanently terminated, then she would not be able to claim disability benefits; she must be active at work on the date she is not able to continue working. If she were terminated from her job, then it would be too late to apply for disability benefits. She was also warned that her claim might not be accepted. If so, then she should contact Share Lawyers to help pursue her entitlement to insurance benefits.
Liz decided that she would not put off submitting a claim for short-term disability benefits through her employee benefits package. She did this with her family doctor’s full support and insistence to go to the specialist.
Liz’s short-term claim was accepted and paid for a full 26 weeks. She then applied for long-term disability (LTD) benefits. After several months of waiting for the insurance company’s decision, her LTD claim was denied on the basis that her symptoms were not considered severe enough to qualify.
Liz contacted Share Lawyers once again and retained Share Lawyers to pursue her entitlement to LTD benefits. Fortunately, she had saved money over the years. Her savings carried her and her daughter through the time before the LTD benefits would begin. Her savings would not last long, though, and more people were laid off at work.
A few months later, after gathering all of the necessary information, Liz and her Share Lawyers attended mediation with the insurance company. This resulted in a lump-sum settlement that would give Liz enough funds to last awhile, allowing her to focus on her health, and to recoup for better days when she could return to her dedicated, hard-working ways.
*Names have been fictionalized to protect the privacy of our clients.