disability benefits terminated

MarciaBannerMarch 28, 2003

My husband had a massive stroke while driving home from work in Sept. 1998. He had worked for the same company for thirty years. He is now on permanent disability. In August of 2001 his company was sold. In October of 2002 the new owner filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Friday,

March 14, 2003 we got a letter from the company telling us that effective Monday March 17, 2003 our health and life insurance benefits would be cancelled. Our only income is his Social Security disability and the little I make working part time (which offers no benefits). I can only work part time because his condition requires almost constant monitering. Cobra will be $700.00 a month which is out of the question for us to be able to pay. His meds are very expensive his is on medicare which covers some of his doctors fees. Also by cancelling his $60,000 worth of life insurance will leave me with nothing because he will not be able to get any because of his health. We are both 52 and he wasn't in the service so VA benefits aren't an option. Does anyone have any ideas as to what we can do in a situation like this.

Marcia

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CindyBelleZ6NJ

Go to thedollarstretcher.com website and go to the topical index. Then look under Medical for the article When Mom can't afford her prescriptions. It might at least help you with some medicines. Also call the Public Relations department of all the drug companies that manufacture what your husband takes and see what they suggest. Let your doctor know too so maybe he can work with you on some of his charges and perhaps provide samples of pills. Also call your local assemblymen's office or senators office and see if you can get an ear, maybe they can direct you to appropriate aid/solutions. I don't know what you can do about life insurance, perhaps the only recourse is to take out a bigger policy on you, maybe someone else on this forum knows about insurance? I only know about people being really sick, my poor Dad suffered with his health all his life, which wasn't very long. I couldn't send a link to the dollar stretcher website or I would have, and ps it's a great site. Good luck. Also, check with the Salvation Army, etc. to see if there is anything they can help you with-

    Bookmark   March 28, 2003 at 6:04PM
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cowboyind

You should contact your state's Department of Labor to find out what rights you may have in this situation. Possibly there is a way you can pay the premiums and continue the $60,000 of life insurance. (I assume this is a term policy, and the premiums for those are not usually very high.) Also contact your local welfare department to see what other medical or income-support benefits you may qualify for.

Ken

    Bookmark   March 29, 2003 at 11:06PM
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joyfulguy

Greetings Marcia Banner,

I am sorry to hear of the problems that you and your husband are struggling with.

As a Canadian I have little practical advice to offer with regard to what steps that you may take to gain support, alleviate your income problem, find lower cost supply of needed drugs, etc.

Make sure that your municipal, state and federal representatives become fully aware of your immediate and drastic need. Be polite, make a good solid case for your need for support, etc.

Leave them some paper detailing your problem.

Be there frequently - don't let them forget you. Be persistent.

Are there family, friends, etc. who can go to bat for you, as well? Community, social, church/faith groups, etc.? The more fuss by the more people, the more you're liable to get a hearing - and get something done. Especially if you can enlist some people with a high profile to support your need.

If a wheel squeaks enough - and enough people get upset by the squawking - sometimes some grease can be found to quieten it down. Usually you need to become - increasingly over a period of time and without being abusive - something of a substantial pain in the butt.

Do you know whether there are groups in your area helping people in similar situation, self-help groups, etc.? Go out looking for them.

If there aren't such, can you, or people that you relate to (children, retired parents, faith/church, social, community groups, etc.) help gather such people into groups and, by their support and encouragement, help them become empowered? Handicapped and disabled persons often have become somewhat invisible in our society.

Often it helps if some of the media can find your story interesting enough to publicize it.

Memo to all:

To have Marcia's husband and her to be informed that their regular disability benefit was to be cut off, effective immediately, is terrible and unconscionable.

Unworthy of a wealthy economic system and a society that calls itself civilized.

Primitive peoples take care of their disadvantaged better than that.

After the Enron and WorldCom debacles, I wrote on "Money Saving Tips" making suggestions about lessons that individual working people could take from those dreadful experiences.

They were:

1. If you are in a plan where your company encourages you, even subsidizes, your purchase of company stock, it is likely wise to sell some of it later and diversify into other investment vehicles. Many employees of those companies believed their employer to be in good shape - right till the end.

2. Join with other employees to demand that your company pension plan be carried by an outside carrier. The Enron, WorldCom and other companies' employees undergoing such problems found that the company had drained the pension plan, so that their pension credits had evaporated.

So: not only did they have no job.

A substantial portion of their investments were worthless.

And - they had no pension to look forward to on retirement.

Their fault? Not at all - except in being unwise enough not to diversify their investments while they had the opportunity.

Here we have another lesson to learn, as individual employees.

It is important to pressure your employer to have your disability system carried by an outside agency - so that it carries on if your employer does not.

It should be funded ahead by the employer so that there would be a pool of capital set up in the hands of the company that paid benefits to enable a benefit to be carried on for a substantial period, even if their former employer disappears.

Depending on the amount in the fund and the number of beneficiaries at the time that the employer ceased to fund the plan, people on disability at that time would continue to receive a benefit, at least for a time.

Much more humane than the current system that they suffer under.

Unfortunately - many employers are regressing.

Quite a few who used to have a pension plan have dropped it, or made part-time and new employees, ineligible, etc.

It becomes much more difficult to try to get an employer to make such changes unless the workers have the security of a unionized workplace - otherwise, such stirrers-up-of-trouble usually find themselves without a job rather quickly.

My best wishes to you and to your husband, Marcia.

(just now somewhat less than usually) joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   March 30, 2003 at 7:39PM
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MarciaBanner

thanks so much for all of your ideas - if you think of anymore let me know - will let you all know what happens
Marcia

    Bookmark   March 30, 2003 at 9:53PM
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CindyBelleZ6NJ

Good advice joyfulguy. Marcia sending you good thoughts, stay strong and persistent! I often think the way funds are allocated is absolutely ridiculous-what's more important than taking care of the populace? Apparently plenty.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2003 at 8:10AM
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joyfulguy

Marcia and hubby,

We haven't heard from you for a while.

How are things going?

Sorry that we can't send you a private email.

Several of us have been thinking of you and wondering how you are getting along.

We hope that you're finding the means to keep body and soul together, and a roof over your head. And, now that the weather's warm, put a little aside to keep warm under the roof, come winter.

Good wishes from a number of us here, Marcia and hubby,

joyful guy/Ed

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 9:47PM
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