A man walks down a shadowy path away from a storm of papers.

Trial Work Period Ends Terribly: Part 2

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.

Pulling back

As we discussed in the segment leading up to this installment, the Social Security Disability 9-Month Trial Work Period (TWP) was not all it was cracked up to be.

Six months into the TWP, my oncologist and my family physician both decided I needed to be pulled from the full-time work experiment. My immune system was not cooperating at all during this six-month period, and with COVID-19 raging throughout our state, both became deeply concerned about my health and the status of my immune system.

Bills piling up

Retiring once more, I found to be extremely tough. It wasn’t nearly as easy as the SSD Ticket to Work Program had led me to believe. I started the new retirement process again on September 8, 2020.

Here we are on November 20, 2020, and I am just now being told by the West Virginia State Consolidated Retirement Board that my second retirement had finally been approved through their legal department.

While the consolidated retirement board took their sweet time with the whole process, my unpaid and overdue bills were piling up. In addition to not having any funds from retirement, I had also lost all long-term disability funds from my prior case.

The only money we have been receiving since September has been the $1,715 a month I receive from SSD. Talk about stretching to make ends meet: we have had to cut many corners in order to have enough money to purchase food and drink.

Still waiting for long-term disability

Long-Term Disability has still not approved my case. They seem oblivious to the fact that not one single thing has changed in my medical diagnosis, and all I did was try to make a go at the 9-Month Trial Work Period.

LTD has taken the tract of acting like I somehow no longer have the diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone metastasis, Stage 4. Somehow, magically during my trial work period, I had recovered 100% from all my cancer woes.

No end in sight

I am still battling weekly with the folks at Long-Term Disability, and I see no end in sight. Refusing to reconsider me for the program has become their mantra. They show very little concern over my unchanged diagnosis and feel comfortable playing pass-the-buck with me on phone calls and emails.

The lady in charge of my particular case never seems to be available for phone calls or emails. She loves to tell me that she called me and left a voice message, when in fact, her departments phone number has never shown up on my cell phone. Nor has her voice messages ever appeared in my phone’s voice mail.

She swears she made those calls and left those messages, but it is amazing: out of all the calls and messages I receive and my phone tracks, hers is never among those detailed messages.

Awaiting an explanation

Join me again during our next segment, when I try to finally produce an actual person on the cell phone line at Long-Term Disability.

I anxiously await their explanation of how my Stage 4 cancer has just somehow magically disappeared from my worn-down body. And furthermore, I wait on pins and needles for their reasoning behind taking all my long-term disability funding.

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