The disability folks at Unum are really serious.  In the mail yesterday I got a heavy packet of material from them.  They say they will be requesting information from five additional physicians that I see – urologist, ENT, primary care physician, and dermatologist.  I am not sure that anyone but my eye doctor (and my transplant doctors) can offer an opinion regarding my disability (I have acquired monocular vision, i.e. I lost sight in one eye due to infection).

The also need for me to fill out a “Work Experience & Education Questionnaire”.  It asks me to list job experience,  degree of education, and formal computer training.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  Since it asked about specific types of nursing experience I have had, the questionnaire seemed customized to my situation.  But, if that is the case, I’m not sure about the intent of the question asking do I “have any experience in home or door-to-door sales of products and services such as kitchenware, vacuum cleaners, cosmetics, computer technical supports, etc.?” Are they planning my next career?

Next is a Consent for Release of Information from the Social Security Administration.  Half my disability payments come from the government, half from the insurance company.

Then there is a Description of Daily Activities with spaces for the number of hours per day and per week for each activity.  Part II of this is a handy seven-day log.  I fill in my activities according to the time of day: early morning, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, and late evening.  The emphasis seems to be on what I can do rather than what I cannot.

Part of the four-page cover letter are lengthy explanations of legal and contractual definitions.  I am still trying to figure out indexed monthly earnings.

All in all this is pretty educational.  I have answered disability questionnaires dutifully and truthfully before, but never with so much attention to detail.  I now remember an Unum represesentative telling me some years ago that the company encouraged me to explore even small, part-time employment much like, I suppose, my present job at the wine shop.  The folks at Unum were anxious to see me succeed.  I guess my measured success at working three 3-hour stints at a wine bar has motivated Unum to put even more energy into helping me reach my full potential.

If you check out comments on my “Bits…” post last week, you can see that other cancer survivors have had experiences with Unum.  If you have your own story about disability or disability issues, please comment below.  I’ll keep you posted.


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.


Disability — 4 Comments

  1. I had MetLife for the 6 weeks I was on disability. I was told by my HR Dept my checks would come right after my last paycheck. Problem was, they didn’t. MetLife said they had sent me checks. For some odd reason, I asked “to what address”. Turns out they sent them to an address I hadn’t lived at for 10 years. Yeah, weird.

  2. Thanks for including me in your blogroll! I feel so honoured to be included here.

    I count myself lucky that my disability insurance company no longer reviews my case. I found that filling out the forms was very stressful and I always worried that my coverage would be denied.

    I do wonder if they’re thinking that you should give Avon or something like that a try 🙂

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