When you go back to work, you may feel a lot of emotions. Excitement about seeing friends or co-workers again. Nervousness about how people will react. Concern about “keeping up.”
Doctors usually suggest allogeneic transplant recipients wait at least 1 year after transplant to go back to work until. That’s because takes 9 to 12 months for your immune system to recover. Some people may get their doctor’s okay to go back to work sooner. You might also wait to go back because you don’t feel up to it physically. Or, your job may be physically demanding or put you at a higher risk for infection (like construction work or working with animals).
Remember, your health history can’t be used against you when you return to work or look for a new job. And, if you’re looking for a new job, companies can’t ask about your health history and you aren’t required to tell them about it.
Before you return to work:
- Contact your human resources (HR) department and talk to your supervisor, shop steward or union representative.
- Discuss any special needs and ask for any changes that would make it easier for you to keep your job (e.g., flex time, regularly scheduled breaks, working from home, or special equipment).
- Work out clear expectations about your schedule and work load.
- Keep a record of each request and the response.
- Talk with your employer about what you’re comfortable with sharing with your co-workers about your situation.
- Talk to your HR department about your health insurance benefits.
- Understand the laws, including HIPAA and COBRA, which protect your health insurance benefits if you had health insurance before your leave.
Social Security benefits:
- Talk to your Social Security plan administrator about how returning to work may affect your benefits.
- Look into the resources through the Social Security Administration (SSA) that could help you get back to work, like a trial work period. A trial work period lets you test your ability to work and still get Social Security benefits for up to 9 months, with more help after the trial period if needed.
- To learn more go to ssa.gov/disability or call (800) 772-1213.
“When you return to work, you need to take your time. You don’t have to impress anyone. Give yourself permission to take it easy, and one day, you’ll begin to see that you’re accomplishing tasks in a very real and effective way.”
- Herschel, transplant recipient