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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


Generally a health condition does not become disabling overnight. If disability occurs, it is generally more of a gradual process. It takes more and more effort to work, and performance gradually suffers.

Rather than wait for disability to occur and then try to figure things out, it is better to start making preparations now for leaving work so that if your health condition does become disabling, your transition can be as smooth and painless as possible. When a condition becomes disabling is not a time you want to start thinking about financial matters.

For information about subjects to start thinking about and steps to take now, see:


What Is The Right Time To Go On Disability?

It’s difficult to know when is the right time to go on disability. There is seldom a precise moment like that of an wipe-out automobile accident when it is clear that a “disability” begins.

If a mistake is to be made, conventional wisdom is that it is better to leave sooner than you need to rather than later. Some people are very determined to keep working no matter what happens. They force themselves to work until it takes every ounce of strength just to go to work. This can be harmful physically and psychologically. It can also make some disability benefits more difficult to obtain.

For Example: Donald L. was so invested in his job, that he loaded his pockets with rocks to prevent his dropping weight from being detected. When his condition got so bad that even he had to admit it was time to stop working, both his private disability insurance company and Social Security insisted on a lengthy review of his claim because they couldn’t believe that he could become disabled “overnight.” As a result, his benefits were unnecessarily delayed for many months.

If you have a question about the timing, write down the advantages and disadvantages of going on disability now. Review it every time there’s a change in your physical or financial condition. Keep in mind the question: can you meet the Social Security Administration definition of “disabled?”

If an increase in salary or a bonus is coming up in the near future, it may be worth waiting until it’s set. An increase not only improves your cash position, but should also increase any disability income to which you may be entitled. Disability income is usually based on the amount of your income at the time you go on disability.

If you think you could be fired because your work is starting to suffer because of your health, or for downsizing or any other reason, keep a note in your pocket when you are called to meetings would could result in letting you go that informs your employer you are giving notice of leaving work because of your disability. If you are fired, you can’t later claim you were disabled and therefore entitled to disability benefits.

If you can avoid it, don’t leave work on disability just before a year-end or other bonus or raise is due.

Do Not Speak Of "Disability" As If It Is A Choice

Even though we encourage you to set your own date for leaving work on disability, when you speak with your employer, insurance company or government agency, do not discuss disability as if it were a choice. In their world, "disability" does not involved a choice. You are either "disabled" or you are not.

If you are still working and speaking with your employer about the subject, let him or her know that “I’m disabled, but struggling to stay on the job to make the transition easier for you (the employer.)”

Whether And When To Go On Disability Is A Question Of Your Mental And Physical Health And Your Finances -- Not Of Morality Or Other Issues

Whether and when to go on disability is a question of your mental and physical health and your finances. In fact, going on disability is a positive track because you are freeing up energy to help your body battle the disease.

Whether and when to go on disability is not about:

  • Morality
  • Work ethics
  • Giving up or giving in to the illness
  • Losing control
  • Surrendering
  • Giving up hope
  • The beginning of the end
  • Becoming a leach on society

You paid for the benefits you will receive on disability -- by working, and by paying taxes for Social Security Disability and Medicare. You are entitled to them.

Even if you apply for government benefits which have requirements of limited income and resources, you've paid for those programs through your taxes.

Steps To Take To Prepare To Leave Work And Go On Disability


More information about this subject is contained in the Main Article in "To Learn More."

Should I Keep Leaving Work A Secret?

In general, keeping secrets is stressful. Stress is harmful to your immune system, --  so we are not in favor of keeping secrets. However, depending on the secret and the setting, there may be overriding circumstances when it is in your best interest to keep a secret.

In our experience, most people prefer not to announce their intention of leaving work until they are actually ready to do it. It is not as if the employer can prevent it, but it gives you more control over the situation if you wait to tell the employer when you are ready to leave. Waiting also leaves open the possibility that you may get an advancement or an increase in salary or a bonus before your employer knows.

On the other hand, if you at least let the Human Resources department know of your intention, you can ask for their assistance in reviewing all the benefits to which you may be entitled, and for their help in determining how to maximize the benefits you receive. For example, Cathy's condition had reached the point that it was time to stop work. She told her employer that she was going on permanent disability and would not be able to return. Because she was not returning, the employer denied Family and Medical Leave Act coverage so that Cathy immediately had to start paying her own insurance premiums under COBRA. If she had said she had to take some time off, and later found she couldn't return, her insurance would have been paid for the 12 weeks of FMLA.

When It Is Time To Leave Work, Who At Your Employer's Should You Tell?

Not your supervisor -- unless there's a reason

We do not recommend telling your immediate supervisor. Too often the supervisor will not know your legal rights. The odds are your supervisor won't know what she may or may not ask about the reasons for the request for a leave. Hard feelings can result unnecessarily if you don't answer some of her questions. She also may not know about the requirements to keep your health information confidential. It's a short jump from your supervisor to your co-workers.

If you feel it's necessary to tell your supervisor because of your relationship or for other reasons, remind her that the information is confidential. To not alienate the person, you can start your sentence with words like: "I know you're already aware that this information has to be kept confidential because of the law. ……"

Do tell Human Resources

We recommend that you go to your Human Resources Department and inform the highest level person with whom you're comfortable speaking. We recommend you at least approach a supervisor or manager in HR, not a personnel clerk because:

  • A person in management probably knows the laws and your rights better than a person lower in the department, and will be more likely to respect them.
  • HR managers have probably had experience with other people going through the same process.
  • Although they may learn your diagnosis, HR managers don't have to, and probably won't, pass that part of the information back to your immediate supervisor and others who need to know about your leave but don't need to know why.

If your employer doesn't have a Human Resources Department

If your employer doesn't have a Human Resources person, speak with the highest level person with whom you are comfortable, such as the President or owner. Since this person may not know about your rights, it can't hurt for you to review your rights before meeting. Perhaps even have some literature with you that would educate your employer on your rights.