Can an employee be terminated for being on disability?

So here is the situation: My 40 year old cousin had a debilitating stroke. He was put on short term disability for 180 days, then was put on LTD. But he recently received a letter from HR that his employment was being terminated-this btw is a very large company with thousands of employees.

The biggest challenge is that he will lose health insurance for himself and his kids. He has the opportunity to go on COBRA, but the premiums are really high.

Also, can he stay on LTD forever? His brain injury & associated disabilities will prevent him from working. He has applied for SS benefits, but that process is very long & he hasn’t received a response yet.

Has anyone had a similar experience & if so, how did it play out? TIA

As far as LTD benefits, you need to look at the policy. If it was through work, it’s probably a much more limited plan than if he bought it privately. Many go to age 65, but don’t provide the same income as employment would, of course. (many group plans also have an offset for Social Security benefits, so it ends up being practically a wash). These things can get complicated, and if the insurance company is pushing back, it’s probably best to talk to an attorney who knows this area of the law.

Moved to IMHO for shared experiences rather than General Questions.

samclem, moderator.

The OP seems something of a paradox … if the employee can’t work, then there’s no reason for the employer to keep paying them … the details are mostly only important when determining unemployment benefits … if a big rig driver has a stroke and loses their license, they’re going to lose their job … the employer has no obligation to create make-work for this stroke victim … it’s the individual’s production that pays the health care insurance they receive …

I knew a few people from Former Employer who were terminated while on disability. In one case the employee could work but could no longer continue working a particular position. Former Employer couldn’t offer the employee a less physically intensive position so they terminated the employee. I don’t remember what happened with the other people.

Yes, he can be terminated if he is no longer able to perform his job duties, with or without reasonable accommodation.

The exact details of how it works depend mostly on the details of his long-term disability policy, and he should probably review that with someone knowledgeable. (Depending on his workplace, somebody from HR may be willing/able to do so; if he has a union rep or an outside firm handles benefits, etc., those can be valuable resources.) If he has an attorney or representative handling his Social Security Disability [SSDI] claim, that person may be able to help as well.

A fairly common kind of LTD insurance provided by employers is designed to pick up once your employment has been terminated, and it will pay a percentage of salary, with offsets for Social Security benefits, until you reach normal retirement age. (Policies that cover only a certain number of years do exist, but seem to be less common.) For example, suppose your salary was $60K/year and your LTD policy provides two-thirds. The LTD provider would pay you $40K/year as long as you were not receiving SSDI, but once you were approved for SSDI, then their obligation is only to pay enough to top up SSDI to $40K.

If he can’t afford COBRA coverage, then he should talk to his state’s Medicaid office, as in many (all?) states they have a program to provide at least some level of coverage to those with pending SSDI applications. See here for some more details. Assuming he is eventually approved for SSDI, after a further two-year waiting period he will be eligible for Medicare.

I do know a gentleman who became disabled and subsequently lost his job (due to “job abandonment”–he was out of leave time and couldn’t do the work). His applications for both LTD and SSDI were pending at the time, and were later approved. (LTD was approved almost five years before SSDI, although I understand the backlogs have shrunk considerably since then.) He lost his insurance at a time when he really needed it (pre-ACA), and there were a couple of rough years in there before Medicare kicked in, but he got through it.

Remember that if SSDI is approved for your friend, there will be a separate payment for each of his minor children too.

I do know about this. It happened to me. Yes, you can get laid off or terminated. It’s considered job abandonment, although it’s clearly not under your control.

His LTD insurance policy should continue. It is normally tied to the disabling event (that’s the whole point of the insurance). He needs to get a copy of the policy from the company. Normally this must be requested in writing. This should cover exactly what will happen, and what is covered, and so on. When he went onto LTD, he should also have received some paperwork then that stated the amount of his benefit, and how long he would receive it. He has been getting paid at this amount for a while now, so I wouldn’t expect his financial situation to change.

Applying to SSDI. I would recommend looking around and finding an attorney to help with this. I found one by asking friends and family for a recommendation. If anyone knows an attorney, ask them to recommend one. Why? Because a good SSDI attorney will help you file all of the paperwork correctly the first time, and the odds of getting through the system to approval more quickly go up tremendously. Starting as soon as possible sounds like a good idea in this case. Also, he will get SS benefits for his kids. This means more money than he likely thinks, at least while they are dependents. Also, once he has the SSDI kicked in, even if LTD ends for any reason, he will still have the SSDI benefits.

Healthcare. He needs to continue it for a host of reasons, including maintaining his LTD. I’d recommend shopping on the open market while he still has ACA making that an option. Alternatively, if he has a spouse who can pick him up through their employer, they should look at that. Once he’s through the SSDI process, he can get medicare for $150 per month, another reason to rush through that.

Good luck to him.

Ninja’ed by Slash!

In the UK anything that is classed as a disability places a duty on the employer to attempt to make a ‘reasonable adjustment’ - which is to find possible ways that the original post could be maintained, such as by providing equipment or changes to work content or offer another role.

If this is not possible then the employer can end their employment, the larger the organisation - the greater the expectation will be that more commitment to make a reasonable adjustment, this is especially true in government work.

Frequently there is a medical retirement package that can be made available but this is normally subject to pretty tightly defined terms as to the capability of the employee.

(My knowledge is about CA law - YMMV)

If the injury was not work-related, then probably. If he applied for FMLA, then his work would have to hold his job for him for 12 weeks, after which they could fire him.

If his injury was work-related, then the employer should attempt to find him work that he can do given his work restrictions. If they can’t find anything, then he will get temporary disability for up to 2 years, then permanent disability.

An acquaintance of mine worked at a factory in Tennessee. Last year, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which turned out to progress (and affect her motor abilities) fairly rapidly, and was seriously injured in a car accident shortly thereafter. While I don’t know the exact details of whether (or how long) she was on disability at her job, I do know that she lost her job a few months after the car accident.

And, yes, she had the year from hell last year.

If your friend has minor children with a woman to whom he is not married, the payments should go to the custodial parent. I found out about this a while back when the ex-husband of one of my friends went on SSDI, and the minor-child payments went to him, not her (and yes, she was the primary custodial parent). IDK if he had to pay it back, or if he’s going to be prosecuted, or if anything else happened.

I have two former co-workers on Facebook who, since I stopped working there, were both fired after more than 30 years because of loopholes in the Family Leave Act. In other words, they weren’t able to come back at the end of 3 months, so they were told bye-bye. :mad:

Assuming this is in the US, he will not be able to get any insurance when the COBRA is over and ACA has been repealed.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is clear as mud on this:

The short answer is yes. But read the page and search for the partial word "termin " to see a long list of yes, yes but, no, etc., examples.

Regardless of what you or I might think about your former employer, I don’t get why you’re talking about “loopholes” in the FMLA. " Loophole" general refers to an inadequacy or ambiguity that helps someone get around the purpose of the rule- but the FMLA was only intended to provide a total of 12 weeks of job-protection to begin with.*

  • It’s not 12 extra weeks, it’s 12 weeks total. So if you have 5 weeks of paid leave available and you take 12 weeks of FMLA, it may very well be 5 weeks paid and 7 weeks unpaid.

Yes, I have had two coworkers who ran into this. One was a woman who took off on short-term disability, which was supposed to be six weeks for surgery. The surgery turned up cancer, so the six weeks turned into months. At a certain point long-term disability kicked in (possibly after the six weeks, I’m not sure). Then she came back to work for a couple of days a week, preparatory to returning to her full-time position. Then her cancer returned, and after six months she was terminated, although her LTD was still going. Of course, yes, this meant that she lost her company-provided health insurance.

In the second instance the coworker was a senior partner of a law firm who suffered a brain injury. As he was a partner and not an employee, he stayed on the letterhead, but at some point they moved him from active partnership to something else–special counsel, I think, but anyway, no more partnership interest, which was for him a big cut in pay. I think he sued his firm, but then, he died. (Should be noted here that I have no idea what the partnership agreement said, but he was not an employee when he was a partner, and was a part-time employee after his partnership was terminated. Which may have been exactly what the partnership agreement said would happen in such a case.)

This probably depends on state law and on the specific rulings in the child support case, if any.

For example, here in Kansas, the case law says that dependent benefits made on behalf of the non-custodial parent [NCP] and paid to the custodial parent [CP] count as child support pay, and cause a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount the other parent must pay. (E.g., if Dad is supposed to pay Mom $500/month in child support, but Mom collects $460 in dependent benefits paid due to Dad’s disability, then Dad himself only has to pay $40, to bring the total up to $500. If Mom is collecting $510 in minor-child payments, Dad doesn’t owe anything at all.) On the other hand, if Dad is collecting the minor-child payments even though he doesn’t have custody, then he still owes the full amount of child support.

Other states use different methods: I believe Ohio would allow the NCP to collect the benefits, but then empower the judge to direct how the money must be spent (in the case of Alexander v. Alexander (2011), e.g., the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the NCPpay certain expenses such as private school tuition, and then put any remainder into a 529 savings account for the kids’ future educational expenses; they ruled that under the specific facts of that case, the custodial parent was entitled to receive none of it). In other cases, if the NCP received the minor-child benefits, that simply increased the NCP’s income upon which child support amounts were figured.

In this case, the SSDI benefit was considerably more than the amount he was paying for child support.

Without knowing the exact terms of the child support order, the relevant state case law, etc., I can’t say for sure, but assuming he was paying the amount of child support he was ordered to pay, it is quite possible he did nothing illegal or improper. Social Security regulations say the custodial parent is usually preferred, but there is no regulation requiring it. There is a regulation saying the money must be spent in the interests of the child, but that can be a surprisingly loosey-goosey category. Child support he paid, premiums he paid for the child’s health insurance, gifts he purchased for the kid, and monies he spent to feed them when he had visitation can all qualify as “in the interests of the child,” for example.

That’s not to say he WAS correct–it’s also possible he lied to SocSec to get himself appointed the payee and then spent it all on hookers and blow. However, the mere fact that a non-custodial parent received the money is not by itself improper.

Work related injuries, he would be eligible for Workers Comp.

actually if your disabled and your parent has over a certain amount saved up they can take out your disibilty from his retirement …I get more from my dads retirement fund than ssi … in fact the state of ca dosent pay anything to me anymore (I got a poorly worded letter saying I was being removed from ssi I freaked out until they explained they were shuffling paperwork and when they were done id be getting more and to be quiet and let them work (

although it does worry me that when he passes on or it runs out I’m going to lose about 500-700 a month

and if you have a disabled kid on ssa or ssi that your not paying support for for theyll take it out of your taxes … as my stepmon found ut when her and dad filed jointly …they were taken to beyond the cleaners for years and still are at tax time …