Out of a sense of duty to the job and to co-workers, many individuals decide to phase-out of their job rather than go cold turkey. This often assists your employer in transitioning your leaving. It also makes it easier to psychologically accept the transition in your life. However, there may be certain liabilities, says a NY state disability attorney. You should give the issue serious thought before acting.
One possible liability is the effect phasing out can have on your pension benefit. Many pension plan benefits are based on multiplying your years of service by a percentage of your final average salary. It is possible that by phasing out, you adversely affect your final average salary lowering the amount of your pension benefit. You should therefore read the summary plan description of your pension plan and consult a NY state disability lawyer before making a decision.
Another possible liability is the effect it has on your disability benefit. As with your pension benefit, most long term disability plans provide you with a percentage of your income or salary. Phasing out of your job may reduce your disability benefit by lowering your salary. You should therefore read the summary plan description of your disability plan and consult a NY state disability attorney before making a decision.
Phasing-out of your job may also affect your ability to be awarded disability benefits in the first place. This is particularly true if you phase out over an extended period of time and change some or all of your job duties. Many long term disability plans provide benefits if you cannot perform the material duties of your regular occupation. By phasing out of your job, you may be changing the “material duties” of your occupation for purposes of the plan. Take the example of a surgeon who phases out of his job by only performing office examinations instead of surgery. To obtain disability benefits, the surgeon might have to demonstrate the inability to perform office examinations. In this situation, a NY state disability attorney may tell you that it may no longer be sufficient to demonstrate the inability to perform surgery. Thus by phasing out, the surgeon may have made it more difficult to satisfy the definition of disability under the plan.
By pressing yourself during the phase-out period, you also may artificially raise your burden of proof. To establish that you are totally disabled, you may have to show that your condition has worsened. By pushing yourself you may have unintentionally established that you are able to do the job despite your disability. A NY disability attorney will be able to help you with ways to avoid this, and how to establish your disability more effectively.