Be the Boss Over Cancer


I am an accountant and have always worked in the Real Estate field. I lost my job over two years ago at Kraft because of the economy and Kraft downsizing. I was 60, I am now 63 and was diagnosed in July 2013 with stage IV Ovarian Cancer and Bladder Cancer. I have had two surgeries and 5 months of chemo. I am now considered cancer free and was told I could return to work. I originally started my unemployment with Unemployment benefits, then took early retirement and am now on SS Disability.

My question is this; Could I bridge the gaps in my resume by saying that I retired and am now wanting to re-enter the work force on a part time basis? This way I would not have to bring up my cancer right away at least. And if I were able to work part time I would be able to maintain my SS Disability for a while and then go back to my retirement benefit. I am also wanting to make a career change only because of the type of accounting that I did was to stressful and I know I cannot return to that level of responsibility.

Thank you, your thoughts are appreciated.



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  • Julie Jansen

    Julie Jansen on Jan 6, 2014

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi Susan, 

    Thanks for reaching out to us. First, let me say that you do not ever need to say a word about your cancer diagnosis if you do not want to. Yes, you can absolutely say that you retired however I would add the caveat that the word retirement may denote a meaning that isn't positive, depending upon who you are talking to. What I mean is that for some people, it means that you are done working or that you might decide to "retire" again. 

    I suggest just saying that you left your job with the intent of finding a part-time job that is a good fit for your transferable skills. You took a much needed break and now are excited to go back to work doing something new for a company you can contribute to. 

    Take care,


  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on Jan 6, 2014

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Susan,

    On top of Julie's great response above, I wanted to let you know that we will also weigh in on your questions regarding SS Disability in conjunction with returning to work. We are discussing the question with our legal experts and will get back to you shortly.


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Associate Manager of Programs

  • Susan C.

    Susan C. on Jan 7, 2014

    Thank you both for your thoughts, this has made a difference on how I will approach an interview and how I will re-do my resume.

    Thank you,


  • Eva LaManna

    Eva LaManna on Jan 10, 2014

    Cancer Rights Attorney Comment:

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks so much for reaching out to us! I just want to note a
    few important points about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

    After receiving Social Security disability benefits, many
    survivors want to try working again. The Social Security Administration has special rules called work incentives that allow you to test your ability to work and still receive monthly SSDI benefits. You also can get help with education, rehabilitation and training you may need in order to work though the Ticket to Work program.

    More specifically, special rules allow people receiving SSDI
    to work full-time and still receive payments, until they can return to work permanently (or, in your case, go back to retirement benefits). While attempting to return to work, a beneficiary may keep full cash benefits, keep Medicaid or Medicare, and receive help with the education, training, and rehabilitation mentioned above. The trial work period lasts up to a total of 9 months, within a 60-month period. Then, a beneficiary has 36 months to work and recieve benefits for any month their earnings are not “substantial.” In 2013, earnings of $1,040 per month are considered “substantial.” If a beneficiary cannot continue working after this period, their benefits will resume.

    The Ticket to Work Program could help obtain vocational
    rehabilitation, training, job referrals and other employment support services free of charge. For more information, I suggest you read more about Ticket to Work here or call them at 1-866-968-7842, and contact the Social Security’s Online Work Site at

    Please feel free to reach back if you have any questions at
    all about this!


    Eva LaManna, Esq.

    Manager of Programs

    Please note that the above information is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that the Cancer and Careers is
    not engaged in rendering any legal or professional services in the information
    provided above. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for
    professional services.

  • Susan C.

    Susan C. on Jan 10, 2014

    Thank you so much forthis info about SSDI. I did talk with a representative who said everythink you did about the Ticket to Work program and gave me a contact to call to get it goining. Well when I called them they said I was too old for the program.i will be 64 in February.  Only one year and I will be 65. So I am not certain where that leaves me. Any thoughts?

    Thank you,


  • Eva LaManna

    Eva LaManna on Jan 13, 2014

    Cancer Rights Attorney Comment:

    Hi Susan,

    I'm so glad you reach back with this follow-up question. Although we aren't experts on the Ticket to Work program and SSDI, a quick search brings up the page:, which you can see says that "If you are age 18 through 64 and receive SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you already qualify."

    I know it's annoying, but sometimes when you call a government office and don't find the information you need, the best thing to do can be to call again and keep trying! 

    Please, again, feel free to reach back or give us a call with any further questions.


  • Susan C.

    Susan C. on Jan 13, 2014

    Thank you Eva, I will call again.


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