Trial Work Period Ends Terribly: Part 3

Duane writes about the emotional and financial toll he has faced leaving a Social Security Disability 9-Month Trial Work Period (TWP). He continues to battle advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis amid the challenges. Read Trial Work Period Ends Terribly: Part 1 for the first part of the series.

In my previous article titled “Trial Work Period Ends Terrible: Part 2” I was on a quest to produce an actual human being on a telephone call. One month and six days later, I have still failed miserably at speaking to a live person at the office that handles my long-term disability claim. I did, however, manage to receive communication via snail mail. Although, that particular letter contained no real pertinent information concerning my case.

Progress with my long-term disability claim

Since we last spoke on this topic, I have forced their hand at the long-term disability claim office, by filing a brand new claim. In this manner, I was able to strain them into at least seeing my claim and begin paperwork to either approve or decline said claim. Much to my excitement the office of long-term disability did take up the claim and began to work on it by requesting various medical records and documents related to my stage 4 advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis.

Tracking the claim's status

As I check the claim status in real-time, I note that they have marked they received my new form on December 2, 2020 and just prior to November 30, 2020, they also tallied reception of the Attending Physician’s Statement. My main oncologist’s office is normally the office that completes this Attending Physician’s Statement and they normally email with a short note usually asking me just how many times does this office require this form for a terminally ill patient.

Digging through the claim details on their webpage, I notice that just prior to receiving the Attending Physician’s Statement they also made a notation of other documents necessary for aiding them in determining my claim status. The web-page also listed two more steps in the claim procedure: claim review and claim decision.

Trial Work Period complicated this process

Just a small jolt to your memory, the very reason I am having to re-file for my long-term disability is the fact that I let Social Security Disability (SSD) talk me into trying what they refer to as a 9-Month Trial Work Period (TWP). At this particular time, I was already in disability retirement from my teaching and coaching job. SSD was already in full effect for me and had been for a couple of years. And long-term disability was in full-effect and going nicely.

As a result of my attempting the TWP and being removed from the 9-month trial period by my oncologist, I suddenly found myself having to go back through all the processes for disability retirement and long-term disability despite being told by SSD that all I had to do was leave the TWP and all would be as before.

Four months later

So here I am nearly some four months later, I have still not spoken to an actual human being. I continue to call the phone number for the long-term disability office that handles my claim prior to the TWP. Emails, text messages, voicemails, fax’s, and other forms of communication go on being ignored, but at least at this point, I have witnessed some actual movement of my claim on the long-term disability web-page. Who knows to what avail it will all come, but I do promise to keep everyone updated.

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