There can be a fine line between a chronic condition that makes it difficult for you to work, and one that leaves you needing to file a social security disability application because it’s become too difficult to stay employed.
In between, there are a number of measures that you can take to try and maintain your job, a key consideration in an era when work is often hard to come by. We put together the following list with the recognition that many employers don’t provide paid time off for illnesses:
1) Let your boss know about any conditions. After all, if you’ve worked in the same office for a period of time, your supervisor may be able to provide you some flexibility in how you complete your work, or allow for working at home or time off for physical therapy. By hiding the condition, you’re leaving your boss to guess what’s going on instead of helping you with treating a chronic condition.
2) Consider a new field. If you suffer from repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits as you recuperate. But after that, it may make more sense to transition to a field where those activities are limited. For example, an administrative assistant at an equipment manufacturer could use his or her knowledge of the products to transfer into sales.
3) Know your options for compensation. Both New York State Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability applications can be made if you are unable to work on a short or long-term basis. Don’t force yourself to damage your body further because you are worried about paying the bills or about your health insurance coverage if things are truly bad.
Repetitive motion injuries and chronic conditions can develop slowly, yet have lasting consequences. Developing a plan with your employer on how to deal with them is the first step. Knowing what legal recourse you have if an employer ignores these requests can help as well.