Employment while receiving disability benefits sounds like a conflicting statement, doesn’t it? However, many people go out of work and start receiving disability benefits and expect or hope to return to their job as quickly as possible. Not only is the suffering from a disabling condition something that no one wishes for, but the desire to work and earn a living is important to a lot of people. There’s also the benefit of health insurance and other employee benefits that may be lost if you lose your job.
Does an employer have to hold my job while I’m out on disability?
Florida is a right to work state, so the employer doesn’t have to hold your position, barring any FMLA that has not been exhausted or ADA accommodations allowing you to return to work. That being said, an employer is potentially losing money while holding your position, so we find that employers often give employees an ultimatum return to work or be terminated.
What should I do if my employer tells me I have to return to work?
The basic question is, “Are you able to work?” If the answer to this question is no, there’s not much choice as to whether you should work or not. Instead, it becomes a matter of how you should handle the fact that you can no longer work. Sometimes disabled people feel that they should submit a resignation letter when they are medically unable to return to work, but this can be a mistake when it comes to your disability insurance claim. Unless the employer is offering a valuable severance package, (which you may want an attorney to review), the best course is to inform your employer that you are medically unable to return work and retain your employee benefits (like health insurance) for as long as possible. You may still be involuntarily terminated eventually. If so, you will lose your employee health insurance and generally receive a COBRA notice in the mail. You will want to diligently schedule your appointments with your doctors prior to the deadline your employer gives you to return to work. Be sure to discuss the situation with your doctors for support on your claim as well as any accommodations that can be made before you lose your health insurance.
Even after this, a disability insurance attorney can sometimes be of assistance.