Friday, July 9, 2010
NJ Disability Rant
I will start this out by saying that I am on week 7 of my maternity leave, and my NJ Disability pay is still not correct. (You are technically out on disability when you go out on maternity leave). This has been the most frustrating process EVER! All I want is to get paid for my leave. Should be pretty easy, right? NOT!
I'll back up a bit -
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I called my company's "Leaves" Department. This is the group that handles all the Maternity Leave, FMLA, Forms submitting, etc... I wanted to make sure I knew what process I had to go through. It turns out there was quite a bit of paperwork but OK, I was getting it all done wayyyy ahead of time, so I thought that should have been good enough right?? Ha! You would think!
I called my Leaves group, Payroll, and another private 3rd party group that handles the actual approval of our disability ... AND NJ State as well - to confirm I had all my ducks in a row. I called them several times in fact!
Yep, in case you're counting, that's 4 different groups that have to get their stuff organized for me to go out on leave and get paid correctly for it. I called each one of these groups any time I had questions during my pregnancy - all to make sure i got all my info right and submitting the right forms in order to paid accordingly while I was out on maternity leave.
Sounds Easy enough? hahaha!
My Leaves group is the one responsible for submitting my forms to the state of NJ ... and I trusted them. That was my first mistake. They submitted the wrong dates for which started the downward spiral of many other problems with my actual maternity leave- the dates were wrong (which means I did not get paid for those days from NJ disability), then I was shorted actual pay from my company due to the date changes, then my leave was approved with (yup you guessed it) the wrong dates... I can not tell you what hoops I had to jump through to get those dates corrected - I spent what felt like days on the phone getting this fixed. ARGHH!
Then I found out my company took their sweet time faxing over my forms to the lovely state of NJ (who in and of itself moves at a snail's pace to begin with!) - I did not get my first disability check until I was out on leave for 5 weeks, and it was a partial check at that! Partial? Really folks? I bet the Mortgage company & Car Loan companies don't take partial payments do they? Turns out there is a 3 week waiting period on top of that! So I just received my 2nd check after 7 weeks out. Nice huh!?
Oh and since I had a C-section, I get 2 more weeks out on disability (8 total)- and yes, you guessed it, I had to get the dates changed again with all 4 groups of people handling my disability, since the default is 6 weeks. Between the faxes, phonecalls, waiting for people to return my call, & calls to my doctor to get the Medical forms faxed again to the right people, I was ready to lose my mind. Oh and let's not forget, I am taking care of a newborn during this whole barrel of fun!
So that brings us current - and it turns out NJ state still does not have my correct date that I went out on leave, even though they had the correct form faxed to them 2x. I am still owed 4 days of disability from our wonderful state of NJ. I have been trying to call for several days now, only to get greeted with their annoying recorded message that their 'representatives' are too busy right now. They don't even give you the courtesy of having you sit on hold for an hour- the automated message cuts you off and tells you basically, "Sorry A**hole, we are too busy to bother with you because we are understaffed and overworked. Call back another time". and then it disconnects me. Click. Meet Dr. Dialtone.
Understaffed & Overworked... Now that does sound familiar... Hmmm... Well that's another blog all together.
Here I am 1 week away from having to file forms for the 2nd part of my leave called Baby Bonding time (thank you Governor Corzine!) - but since my dates are still incorrect, I am unable to file for the extension - It's like a catch22. I think these people play games with you on purpose so they can watch you slowly and painfully lose what is left of my already disintegrated mommy brain.
The icing on the cake is this: Yesterday I had to call my health insurance company for something, and the lady happened to mention that Julianna is no longer covered by my insurance. No longer covered? That just made my day! Arghhh! This was my absolute favorite part to this whole disability debacle is when I found out yesterday that her health insurance coverage was canceled as of May 31st... Well I certainly did not cancel it, but you can be sure I have still been paying for it!! Aetna told me it was canceled by my company. Are you kidding me?
So that lead to yet another phone call to my company's benefits group- and they said they need to investigate and would get back to me in 48 hours. What? Gee Lets hope I don't need to bring her to the doctor or hospital in the next 48 hours. That's the other thing- any time I Had to call my company for any of these issues (and believe me, I had to call ALOT!), I had to talk to a call taker that couldn't answer anything or help me- and then told I would get a call back from someone else in the next 48 hours... which never transpired, and it led to me calling them back again to chase them down - only to get told someone from the next level of support would call me back ... yeh OK! You see where I'm going with this. It was torture. Still no resolution today!
So, once I actually get to speak to a living human being at the State of NJ Disability office, and get the dates finally corrected - I will then have to wait for the "retro" check that I'm owed for those 4 days, which if I'm lucky, I might see it by December!! Yes I did say "check" by the way. Our state does not believe in direct deposit. They send paper checks. WHO does that?! Paper checks? Come on NJ, get with the times! I am surprised they don't send the check by carrier pigeon.
Ok well... I know I'm not alone in this, and I know everyone has a sucky experience with getting paid while out on leave, but It is still annoying and eats away at your brain one molecule at a time.
Posted by Skye