Younger Onset of Alzheimer’s Dynamic.

Thank you for the feedback, your comments are what drives future posts. I mentioned in an early post about confusion in how people identify stages of Alzheimer’s. Younger (early) Onset as being defined as individuals under the age of 65 and is the new preferred term to eliminate confusion with Early Stage. Early Stage is defined by the medical professionals based on symptoms.

First, let me say that Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease regardless of your age or when you are diagnosed. I don’t want anyone to misread what I am saying in this post. Younger Onset has a different dynamic because, in a lot of cases, the individuals are still working and may even still have children at home to care for. I am going to mention some things that Debra and I had to deal with and in some cases are still dealing with. Before I retired, I was responsible for Human Resources so I am familiar with these areas.

FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) If you are  not familiar with this act (US) and you need to take medical leave, you need to be aware of it and you need to talk to the appropriate person at your place on employment. There is an FMLA Employee Guide and Factsheet on the Internet. When I knew I was going out on leave, I talked to the HR Manager and we started the clock on FMLA which in my case, allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month window (could be intermittent).

Short Term Disability is not a requirement for employers to offer to their employee’s, but in a lot of cases they do. Policies are different however, in my case, it pay’s 13 weeks (after a one week elimination period).  You will want to look at the policy details, it usually does not cover 100%. In my case, it was a percentage, and there was also a weekly cap. This is a very significant decrease from your normal income, but it is better than getting nothing!

Long Term Disability, like short term, is not required. In my case, it works similar to short term, except it will run until I am 65 and the benefit has a higher cap than short term did. As of 9/23/15, I am 13 weeks in which means I am at the end of short term benefits. My Short Term Insurance Company is the same my Long Term. As of this writing, we were informed that the long term would start this week so there will not be any disruption in disability payments. One thing you want to take note of on your individual policy is what the language says about your duties. My policy clearly states “the inability to return to the main duties of your own occupation”. This is critical, it means that I can’t perform my duties, not any duties. Some policies may not cover you unless cannot work at any job.

COBRA is the Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Once again, if you not familiar with COBRA you should get on the Internet. FAQ’s at the US Department of Labor website is a good starting place. In my case, this allows me to continue Health Insurance coverage after my termination of employment. It is 100% cost to me and I am can stay on it for up to 18 months.

Long Term Care Insurance is not usually offered by the employer. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Basically, it can cover you if you develop some kind of chronic illness or disability where you would require assistance with daily tasks and could you in event you had to go into long term care. In my case, once diagnosed, this was not option any longer. This is a form of insurance that you should look into as extended medical care costs continue to rise.



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