Just what is “disability”?

According to Webster’s Dictionary it is 1) a disabled condition 2) that which disables or disqualifies. The definition of disable is to make unable, unfit, or disqualified.

The medical definition of a disability according to Mosby’s Medical Dictionary is different. It is the loss, absence, or impairment of physical or mental fitness that is observable and measurable.

Therein lies the difficulty in proving that MdDS qualifies as a disability. Tests used for diagnosis of a vestibular disorder don’t prove definitive when applied to MdDS. Diagnosis is made based on a history of a recent motion trigger and usually only after other causes are eliminated.

Sources of Disability Coverage

A) Work Place Disability Policies

Family Leave Of Absence – Your eligibility for this will be determined by length of service with your company. It usually covers 12 weeks and is unpaid. You should go to your employer’s Human Resources department to obtain a copy of the Family Medical Leave form.
Short Term Leave of Absence – This policy will vary according to your employer. Contact your Human Resources/Personnel Department for instructions.
Long Term Leave of Absence – Some institutions offer a Long Term Plan. Again this will vary with your company. You will need to find out if your company has this policy and if you are eligible.

B) Private Disability Insurance Policies

You may have obtained your own plan if you own your own business or if you don’t have one from your employer. Be certain to read your policy closely. Many pay 60% of your wages while you are disabled. There is often a period of time that you have to be disabled prior to becoming eligible for payment.

C) Social Security Disability Benefits

Although it is difficult to collect US Social Security Disability benefits, it is not impossible. Some members of the Mal de Débarquement Support Groups have been successful in obtaining Social Security Benefits. Before you can collect Social Security payments you will have to contact the closest office in your area. There, you will be instructed on what is needed prior to your appointment with one of their representatives. If you want more information go to http://www.ssa.gov/

D) Temporary Disability Insurance

Only 5 states plus Puerto Rico have Temporary Disability coverage. This plan is meant to cover lost wages due to non-work related sickness or injury. If you live in one of these 5 states it would be wise to pursue this avenue of income. The 5 states are New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Hawaii. Go to this web site for further information http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/temporary.pdf

Applying for Disability from the Workplace

  1. Approach your personnel department and discuss your situation. Ask for the correct forms to take to your doctor.
  2. Ask your doctor if he/she will approve a leave of absence or place restrictions on your duties.
  3. Have your doctor state the length of time you will be unable to work or will need restrictions. This may need to be amended later if you improve or continue to remain unable to work.
  4. Return this completed form to your employer. Make a copy for your own records.
  5. Make an appointment to have your disability evaluated again if you need to increase the length of time away from work.

Americans with Disability Act

If you feel that you need to work and don’t qualify for any of the benefits discussed then there is the Americans with Disability Act that will aid you in retaining your employment. Further information is available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html

Additional Resources

US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy