Disability Retirement: Multiple Sclerosis (ms)
I am a physician forced into retirement at the age of 51 by Multiple Sclerosis (ms) associated disability.
MS is most often thought of as a disease that affects walking and other physical challenges. The reality is that ms affects an entire gamut of both physical and mental health, the latter involving over 75% of patients, myself included.
In my particular case, physical challenges were non existent to very minimal, but I did occasionally loose my balance.
For me, the biggest presenting challenge was fatigue. I would find myself falling asleep at conferences where I was supposed to be a participant, not just someone out there watching.
It became embarrassing, despite the fact that my colleagues all knew and understood. The real challenge came in the clinical setting, where the affect ms was having on my diagnostic abilities was having a proverbial field day.
I would find myself not being able to make a diagnostic decision even when all the facts and test were clearly pointing to a single diagnosis. I began to seriously question myself, had to seek other opinions to verify my diagnoses and quickly came to the conclusion that I would not be able to properly take care of my patients.
Though I had begun saving for retirement, I was young and had not yet had the opportunity to put what I needed away. I live in a perfect storm, New Jersey, the most corrupt, over taxed state, a large house, which has devalued and is not really sellable in the current market and a fixed income, based on my monthly disability checks. I thought having private disability insurance would be better than it is.
Though I receive 60% of my full time wages, tax free, still, it does not go up. What makes it sinister and something that everyone should be aware of is this.
When you become disabled, you must apply for and attempt to get recognized as disabled by social security. If you do not, your insurance carrier will see to it that you do. Once you are accepted, the government pays you what it would have and your insurance company pays you what it was paying you, minus every dollar social security pays you.
What this means is that when there is a cost of living increase, it is taken by the insurance company and they save that much more each month. Should this be legal? Of course not, but laws are written, interpreted, enforced (congress) and anything else imaginable, by attorneys. That in itself is illegal based on common sense, but since there is no common sense in law, we all get screwed.
I live a very austere life as compared to how I used to live and I never lived high off the hog, so to speak. I have a single car, only basic service for cable, have appealed every tax bill, but again, this is New Jersey, so forget it. Debt piles up, albeit slowly, but every month, it is a little higher than the previous.
There's really nothing you can do to properly prepare, unless you have had more time to do so. Start as young as you can to save, save and save some more.