You may have been out of work for more than a year, recovering from a serious traumatic brain injury you suffered in a car accident. Or you have been undergoing cancer treatment, but you now are cancer-free and want to return to work. What should you know about returning to work after a disability?
Here are five steps to take if you are considering going back to work after a disability:
1. Consult with your doctor
Your first step if you want to return to work after a disability is to consult your doctor. You want to ensure you can return to work safely and that you are healthy enough to work. You also need documentation from your doctor if you will need any accommodations from your employer to return to work.
2. Consult with an attorney
You also want to consult with an attorney before you return to work after a disability. If you are receiving long-term disability pay through your employer, you want to ensure you protect your rights to maintain that if you need to. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, an experienced attorney can advise you about the Ticket to Work program. By participating in the Ticket to Work program, you can maintain your full Social Security disability pay for 45 months, so you can fully test your ability to work.
3. Consult your employer’s human resources department
You want to set yourself up for success. Consulting your employer’s human resources department can give you a better idea of what accommodations you can receive to do your job. Or if you need to take a job that doesn’t require as much physical exertion, your employer’s human resources staff can help you determine what job positions at the company might be a good fit.
4. Ease into working
When you return to working, ease back into it. See if you can work half-time for a few weeks to make this transition easier. Perhaps, you can work from home in the beginning or take longer breaks if you need to. Also, make sure the accommodations you need are working for you.
5. Update your resume and gain additional training
You may need to update your resume or gain additional training to take on a new position after suffering a long-term disability. You may need to make a career change your employer can’t accommodate.
Returning to work after a disability is a big decision. You want to make sure you really are physically and mentally ready to do that. By taking time to evaluate your recovery and potential job limitations, you will be better prepared to make this transition successful.