With the recent downturn in the economy, I sometimes represent disability clients who stopped working because of both a chronic medical problem and a layoff. Recently, for example, I represented a client who had been handling media relations for a large company before being laid off because of a lack of business.
During the last 18 months of her employment, however, she had been struggling with several serious medical issues including uncontrolled diabetes and associated numbness and tingling in her hands and feet, a bulging disc in her neck and depression and anxiety for which she was taking strong medications.
As she described her last few months of work to me, she was missing time from work and her job performance was not good. At the same time, she had been employed with the same company for over 18 years and she acknowledged that her employer probably could have terminated her for performance issues but did not do so.
After losing her job she made a half-hearted search for new employment but she felt that she did not have the capacity to perform at any job for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. In other words, she was able to hang on at the prior job due to a combination of familiarity with that job and familiarity with her employer, but a new job with a new employer would have been more than she could handle.
Because she was laid off, she filed for unemployment benefits at the same time she filed for Social Security.