Question G, “Did you work at any time after the date your illnesses, injuries, or conditions first interfered with our ability to work?”

With this question we get into a more complex area. They are trying to find out if you were off work for more than 30 days, and then went back to work for less than 6 months. The point is, you might be able to claim an earlier date of onset. And that can mean a big difference in the amount of your back pay, and the date you will become eligible for Medicare. I’ll go over 3 examples.

Example #1

Joe worked at a factory, he had a heart attack on July 10th. He was hospitalized for 7 days, and stayed off on sick leave for 3 weeks. Then he used up 2 weeks of vacation pay before returning to work. All together he was off work 6 weeks. He went back to work on August 25th with his Dr’s permission.

As a side note, he probably didn’t tell the Dr how many hours he worked and how hard his job was. Don’t do that to yourself!

OK, back to Joe. He worked until the middle of November, but it was getting harder and harder to keep up, and he called in sick more times that he ever did before in a whole year. Finally in November he stopped working, and decided to file for Social Security Disability benefits.

Joe’s answer to Question G should be YES. And he should tell the interviewer that he wants to use July 10th as his date of onset. Under question H he should answer YES to change in attendance.

Example #2

Susan works at the same factory. She has multiple medical problems, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure. She had to be hospitalized in July for diabetes, her sugar was out of control. She was off work for 2 1/2 weeks and returned to work in mid August. In November she was told by her Dr not to work anymore because the physical stress was making her health worse. Susan’s answer to question G should be YES, but it won’t make any difference in her case. Her date of onset is in November, not July because she was off work in July for less than 30 days.

Example #3

George worked at the factory as a supervisor. He was responsible for scheduling, planning, and did some of the design and layout needed to set up jobs. In addition, he ran the machines whenever someone else was off, so his job was very demanding, physically and mentally. On January 17th George had a stroke and his Dr told him to forget about working any more because the job was too demanding. He recovered mentally from the stroke quickly, but still had some weakness that didn’t improve even with physical therapy. After being off work for 5 weeks, George was tired of sitting at home. His boss begged him to come back to work, and George told him he couldn’t do all the things he used to, but he really liked the design and layout aspect of his old job and would like to come in and do just that portion of his old job. They agreed, and George now puts in about 30 hours a month on this task, coming in whenever he feels up to it. His gross earnings are under the SSA guideline for Substantial Gainful Activity, SGA. George’s answer to question G is YES. And his date of onset is January 17th, no matter how long he continues his part time work. In question H, he should answer YES to all 3 questions.