One of our interviewees, George Dys, 60, a design engineer from Forestdale, RI, describes how he was laid off in the video below. He feelss bitter because he was let go 19 hours short of becoming fully vested in his former employer’s 401K.
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I am 56, and my muscular dystrophy has progressed the last 3 or 4 years so I fall a lot. I'm an IT professional with an MBA, so my resume was great until 3 years ago. I fell and hit my head. My Neurologist wrote a note for me to stay out of work for a week. The day I went back to work I was laid off.
I filed for disability knowing it would take 2 years to go through.
I received a call about a job I had applied for 2 years earlier and was hired. I fell at work and broke my big toe right in the joint area - bad break. I had to use Workers Comp, and right after my last doctor visit I was laid off with severance pay.
So I found another job. I was on conference calls daily and needed a headset like the other employees had, because I also have a neck and back spasm that flared up while holding a phone to my ear half the day. My manager said I needed a note from my doctor to get a headset. I brought in a note, and at the end of that day i lost my job. See a pattern here?
Between jobs I lived on severance packages and savings. I was told I would get my diaability hearing in July of this year (2014.) However, in March I received a call about a contracting job. I interviewed and was offered the job immediately. I was denied disability benefits on September 3 because apparently with my "education and experience I shouldn't have a problem finding a job." Right. Then on September 30 I fell at home and broke my foot. This was such a bad break It is still in the healing process 3 months later. My doctor told me to avoid all weight bearing on this foot, so I've been using a knee scooter at work. I'm also in a lot of pain. The first few weeks after the break I could only work 25-30 hours per week. I'm working on a high priority project, so no matter how badly I feel I've been dragging myself into work. Once I get there I'm okay, and I have built and maintained an awesome database. However upper management requests modifications to it almost daily, so I have to be there. The day before Thanksgiving I was informed my contract would be ending in January, 2015. Great timing. I lost my appetite and lost 15 lbs in one month.
If I had been granted disability benefits I would have probably broken my foot anyway, but it may have healed faster if I didn't have to work. The bone is healing crooked, so I will have a worse limp than I had before. I was previously advised by the unemployment office not to use my cane during interviews. But now I will have to use it the rest of my life because I have to be extra careful to not fall again.
So what does a 56 year old do if I can't qualify for disability and can't keep a job due to injuries? I've paid a lot of money into the Social Security system. I'm thinking the government wants me to continue to work so I can keep paying into the system so people like my former friend can get her benefits. She couldn't get a job due to a drug felony, so she was diagnosed as bipolar and got benefits. But she only gets $900 per month. Mine would be a lot higher becaue of what I've paid in.
I've trying applying for jobs that don't require a college education, but they won't hire me because they think I will find something better and leave. I don't have 10 years of savings to live on. If anyone knows of any organizations that can help disabled people find employment please let me know. This is wrong on so many levels. I want to work, but I have a legitimate disability. Who is going to hire a 56 year old with a cane? My brain is good, and I do great work. Employers are now adding physical requirements such as being able to lift 40 lbs to job descriptions. That looks like an attempt to weed out disabled people. I don't want to have to move in with my mother, but that's my last option. My husband died 25 years ago, and I raised 2 kids alone. Otherwise I would have more money saved. I just don't know what to do now.
-posted Dec. 24, 2014
I totally understand what you went through. Five days before I was laid off I had a serious automobile accident. Earlier that month my father died. My mother had fallen that month and was in rehab with a fractured pelvis. I was 7 days away from closing on my dream home that I had worked for all my life. Then....I was called into the HR office, told I had three months severance and escorted out the door. That was 9 months ago. I have applied each day for jobs, gone on interviews and turned down, worked with recruiters that are only after your money. I'm at a loss. My unemployment ran out in September. I'm scraping by, living with my mother which I HATE at the age of 57. No husband, no future. I'm still in shock over this and always will be.
- posted Dec. 4, 2014
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