I am out of work on Long term disability and have not been able to work since August 2012. First I had a ton of vacation /sick time and also but I collected 5 months short term disability and for last 2 months on long term disability.Last week my HR dept called and said I need to retire b/c I had been off a long time. I am 60 and have no other way to obtain health insurance.Can I be forced to retire when I am not even retirement age?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The answer is - it depends. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you cannot be terminated because you need a reasonable accommodation for a disability, unless the accommodation presents an undue hardship for your employer. Reasonable accommodations can include finite periods of medical leave for treatment, recovery and rehabilitation. If your doctor has indicated that you can return to work at some time in the near future, you may be able to assert a claim of failure to accommodate.
If you will not be able to return to work, you do not have a claim under the ADA, but you may have the right to additional long term disability benefits under ERISA, to Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits and to extended health insurance benefits under COBRA or an employer sponsored disability retirement plan. Depending upon your situation, you also may have the right to additional employment based benefits under, for example, an accidental death and dismemberment policy. Such policies often provide lump sum benefits for serious medical conditions.
You may want to consult with an attorney or attorneys familiar with the ADA, ERISA and SSDI. Good luck.