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Riding When You Are on Disability

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  • Riding When You Are on Disability

    Can a person still ride, and do horsy things, when they are on disability? Are you "allowed" to do so?
    Rack on!

  • #2
    I would think that an insurance company would question why you are too disabled to work, but aren't so disabled that you can ride.

    I have seen news reports of undercover investigations where someone is drawing disability insurance (complete with hobbling in on crutches for doctor appointments), and then comparing that to video of the same person lifting weights or doing major "handyman-type" repairs to the their home. You get the idea.

    Not to say that you would do that, but that kind of stuff is what the fraud departments live for. To avoid having anything come back and bite you later...disclose EVERY proposed activity fully before you engage in it. And have a doctor's written approval/okay that includes riding, but excludes working.


    • #3
      Agree with the above.
      If you can't work, then how can you ride.. or how can you justify riding?
      What if you were injured further... how does that get explained???
      I suppose if it were theraputic riding it may be a slightly gray area.. dunno.

      Years ago I was on worker's comp for a broken collar bone. 10 days into the healing process I decided it was (oddly) wise to go put a saddle on my not so green broke 2 year old filly and go for a ride. Not one of my smarter moments.
      My bum had barely touched the saddle when she split in half and I came off and landed on the broken side... After that I did take her to the round pen (thank you medication) and did ride her for a bit.
      It was a very foolish thing to do. Bone headed infact. My claim would have been null and void had I been injured further.


      • #4
        Much depends upon the disability of course. Riding is therapy at our program and I would say 90% of applications receive some sort of DBL. But then again, they all have physicians releases too.
        I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

        Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.


        • #5
          My guess is they will say if you can ride you can work. I mean tacking up, riding, cooling out, etc is more work then most office people put in during the day (sorry office people lol not saying it is bad just a good way to compare)

          Right now I sure as heck can't ride. My friend who was on disability for a brain tumer and then knees couldn't ride.

          I actually have a problem with people that are well enough to go to the stable, ride their horse, drive, and do daily things that are on disablity. I think it stems from knowing people that have worked the system, and the fact that I can't ride right now or even work (even if my job was not in the horse world) I wouldn't qualify for disablity due to it being lyme disease and not something else.

          Now I did continue to ride and train with a broken ankle being held in place by an ankle brace for 6 months because it was the middle of show season, but I did not even try to get disablity. If I could teach, ride, and much stalls (thank you painkillers!) then I should not be collecting disablity.


          • #6
            I hear those who say an office job is easier than riding, and not saying I would ride if I were on disability, but with my issue, sitting for 8 hours at my job, (an office job in a cube ) typing, making phone calls, etc, is far more painful and draining to me than the same amount of time spent at the barn.

            I actually asked my doctor if my preference for the barn was showing and this was all in my head. He firmly said no. I admit it puzzles me. So though I have no intention of going on disability, my job is far more taxing on me and painful than "light" manual labor like horse chores and riding.

            That being said, I agree with those who say if you plan on doing it definitely make sure you have something in writing from your doctor saying that you can't work but can ride and possibly to what extent you can ride. I guess I would just feel like if that is something you intend to do at all, especially outside of a therapeutic program you would probably need to be prepared to defend it.
            My blog:



            • #7
              Absolutely get something in writing from your doctor outlining the activities you are and are not allowed to do.

              I worked for an orthopaedic surgeon and we would regularly get videos of people with herniated discs, etc. doing hard work in their yards (pulling up bushes, etc). These are the same people that would develop a significant limp the second they hit the doorway of our office - but once they got to the parking lot, the limp magically went away. Mind you, this type of monitoring by insurance companies is done very often if you have a workers' comp injury, but I can't see how it couldn't cross over if you're on a state short term disability plan or covered under SSI disability.


              • #8
                In a rather famous California disability fraud case written up in the LA Times, a person on disability was riding endurance competitively. When asked about it, she said the sport was not too strenuous and helped her back. I'm not at all sure of the details but I was rather flabbergasted since she was doing 100s...


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you all very much for your replies. What you said is exactly what I was thinking. We do have a local therapeutic riding program, but even though most of the riding I do these days (not with that program) is therapeutic for me, I do not think I qualify for the program.

                  When some people have said they think I might possibly qualify for disability, I don't think I would want to even apply, because I do not want to give up the little riding I do. It helps me so much with back pain, stamina, and just peace of mind and sheer happiness, that I think I am better off as I am, with riding, than without riding. And I figured that I would have to give it up in order to qualify, because, as you have said, "If you're fit enough to tack up and ride you're fit enough to go in to work." That is what I think the overall opinion would be.

                  I appreciate your feedback. Guess I will just go on as I am and let the riding I do, do the good it does.
                  Rack on!


                  • #10
                    It really depends on WHY you are considered disabled, and where you will be drawing disability.

                    If you would be going on private disability, and your plan states that you are considered disabled if you can no longer perform the duties of the job you currently have, then riding might not be covered under that definition. For example, you could have a job that requires a lot of driving, and you are unable to drive. If your plan considers that as a disabling situation, then you could still ride while being on disability.

                    If you are on SS disability, the definition of what is disabling changes a ton. They don't care what you WERE doing before the disabling condition, they just care if you can work at any job and make something absurd like $800 a month. For SS, driving is not a disabling condition. You would have to have much more extreme restrictions, and likely riding wouldn't really be as "allowed".

                    There are SO many different disability plans, and each one has its own definition of what is disabling. The sticky part is when you technically could do SOMETHING, but you cannot go back to the job you had before. Since private disability insurance bases your pay on your job held when you were disabled, you could end up in a situation where any job you could do would pay significantly less than you collect in disability pay.

                    So it's really not as simple as "you can ride, so you can work". Of course, an insurance company will make it out to be that simple, but it really is going to depend on your disability plan and your disabling condition.


                    • #11
                      Another thing to consider is how regularly you are physically able to ride. If you're well enough to be there six days a week at a set time and put in a solid, lengthy ride each time, then that's mighty different from having an unpredictable day or two a week that you can maybe get to the barn and toddle around on dobbin for 10 minutes because you happen to be having a "good" day.

                      I hope whatever ails you improves.


                      • #12
                        Other types of disabilities

                        There are other reasons people are on disability besides physical. I am bi-polar and on disability and riding is definitely part of my program for my mental health. I can't hold a job, but I can work with my horse. When I am having a bad day, I know to stay away from my horse so I don't mess him up.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Spotaneity View Post
                          There are other reasons people are on disability besides physical.
                          Very true. The OP did mention back pain, though.


                          • #14
                            People are amazing and can do more than they think they are capable of!

                            If someone wants to do something, they will find a way!
                            Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                            Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by citydog View Post
                              Another thing to consider is how regularly you are physically able to ride. If you're well enough to be there six days a week at a set time and put in a solid, lengthy ride each time, then that's mighty different from having an unpredictable day or two a week that you can maybe get to the barn and toddle around on dobbin for 10 minutes because you happen to be having a "good" day.

                              I hope whatever ails you improves.
                              I agree completely. I am disabled. Not the kind of disabled where you use crutches for doctors visits either. Today for example I can not walk by myself and have been this way for five days now. I push a chair on wheels around in front of me and the pain is still horrible. There is nothing worse than getting in a car for a ride and I had to do that last week. Most times I don't even leave my property for weeks. I have severe spinal stenosis, three herniated discs, degenerative disc and joint disease.

                              My doctors told me in 95, riding was a no, absolutely not. My mare was just born that yr. I stopped riding her mom. 12 yrs later, two yrs ago, I decided I WAS going to ride on those days where I can stand to. Last summer there were only six of those days. I will be in a wheelchair someday. These six days brought me more joy than I had had in many yrs. For anyone to begrudge me riding a few times a yr because I am on disability should live my exciting life a few yrs and see what they think then. Does my doctor know? Yes. Does he approve, NO. Am I going to ride this summer if I have good days? Yes.

                              And on the better days I do work around the yard. Pull up brush as someone said. And it likely puts me right in bed for days nearly every time. Does that stop me? NO. As soon as i can move on my own again, I find some work to do. Would it be better to just give up, let home health take care of me? I would rather do it my way. I certainly pay(in pain) for everything I do, it should be up to me.

                              I begged a couple yrs ago when I was a LITTLE bit better than now to let me at least watch a couple of kids for a little income and was told NO. Apparently just the meds I have to be on in order to stand myself disqualify me from working anywhere doing anything. Without drugs like morphine, methadone, fentanyl I would very likely have ended my life before now. It is just somethign I can not stand. And Im pretty tough, I had 4 csections and an old fashioned gall bladder surgery with NO pain meds as I was nursing. They wanted me to take some but I refused, it was my choice.

                              I think there are way too many ppl in other ppls business. Ppl should worry more about what they are doing and much less about what someone else is. I live in an incredible amount of pain, but I am stubborn, independent, tough and certainly not lazy. I will keep going until the day they drag me away I imagine. It is just driving me crazy that I can't do more these last few days. Even though my SO wishes I would let him go do my horse chores for me, I have been doing them myself, even now. Does it hurt? You bettcha is does. Plus its hard to know where my feet are as they are completely numb.

                              But IM the one who will be in a chair soon enough, it is ME who will decide what I will do with my life until that point. If they want to take away my $700 a month Im supposed to survive somehow on , than so be it.


                              • #16
                                im on lifetime disability(visually imparied and other medical stuff) and ride,train,what have you..
                                i know its kind a wrong,but they don't really know i ride/own still.but on other hand i did have one instance where through an a$$ hole neighbor,they found out i had like 5 horses and wondered how i can support all those horses on DB(had to prove value on horses),but in the past they payed like 10,000 sponsorship on me to get my certif to be instructor training.which confused me,but what ever.....
                                ..i don't see why you cant...it would be put down as therapy in this case for you.
                                i know my post is kindof confusing,


                                • #17
                                  Dear Waning Moon,
                                  I am in the same situation. I hurt all day long and if it were not for the painkillers, I would not get the work done that I do.
                                  I mowed the lawn 3 days ago and I am still hurting far more than the last time I did it. I am taking a high powered pain med and it still hurts.
                                  I know I may end up in a wheelchair fairly soon but I have to keep going.
                                  I have work I have to get out so I take the pain killers and go on.
                                  I could apply for Disability but the restrictions are beyond me. I can't just sit and die a slow death.
                                  I do what I can and don't do what I can't. It is frustrating because my heart and mind want to do something and my body says "In your dreams". No way..
                                  I know too that my time in what I do is going to end. I hate to think of it.
                                  But it is the way Life is.
                                  regards, sadlmakr


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by citydog View Post
                                    Another thing to consider is how regularly you are physically able to ride. If you're well enough to be there six days a week at a set time and put in a solid, lengthy ride each time, then that's mighty different from having an unpredictable day or two a week that you can maybe get to the barn and toddle around on dobbin for 10 minutes because you happen to be having a "good" day.

                                    I hope whatever ails you improves.

                                    Very well said. also there are many serious disabilities that are not involving overt "lameness" or a "limp." i would like to ask those ( i am not referring to the person this quote came from) who are so quick to pass judgement and oversimplify this issue to answer one question.

                                    How long should the transitional time period be until one is certain of a disabled person's reliability for work. Would you be smart to hire somebody as a reliable employee that can be in perfect attendance for a month vs 6 months? So if a person is trying to get off disability and go back to work after a car wreck, or something similar and you see them working their horse within that first month, are you willing to personally give them a job if they are so fit for work as you say? If not willing to hire them for their fitness and reliability, and if you yourself are not disabled, then your opinion means little in this discussion imo.

                                    what about those who have to change professions because after a disability a person can no longer perform the essential functions of their previous job? If a rider becomes a horse farm owner and manager after becoming disabled- yes the skills are not the same, and the aptitude for both jobs are independent of one another but it can be done. Just because one is disabled and trying to increase their strength and reliability by regularly doing a physical activity, a form of physical therapy, by riding is that really a sign of a fraudulent system milker? If a person is afraid to work their horses and increase their value so they can make a profit and see if their farm could be a good business- do you just want to continue to pay this person's disability?

                                    Let them start fishing instead of giving them the fish. There is a transition period and if the person is too disabled to fuctionally perform tasks at a maistream job with mainstream hours then why force someone to stay on disability when they may be able to support them selves working for themselves.

                                    What is a sorrier sight a disabled person with goals working to the utmost of their ability through a six month transition period? Or some able bodied person on a forum passing judgement instead of using that able body of theirs, which by their own admission having an able body is a mandate for full time work. If you are against invisibly disabled ppl getting benefits and believe they are so fit then hire them.


                                    • #19
                                      If you accept disability payments of any kind then you need to act in accordance with the terms of how that payor defines disability.
                                      You really can't start making up rules because you feel that riding is PT.
                                      In my state there have been recent news reports of so called 'disabled' individuals competing in sporting events. In most cases they were collecting some sort of state or SS payments. They of course lost their payments and in two cases were prosecuted and convicted of fraud.


                                      • #20
                                        STABLESWOT- It is not that anyone is passing judgement. Especially on this forum where most of us are disabled in some form and either are working but can't ride, can't ride but can do some work, or can't do either. What is being said is be careful of if you ride while you are on disability. I know for a fact that Medicade has people that watch you if you collect disability or on hombound (happened to a friend) and if you are caught doing something AGAINST THEIR RULES you are cut off. The thing is you can do what you want, but be willing to pay the piper if you get caught.

                                        I can't ride. I can't work. I can't do most things, but I don't collect disability for a couple of reasons :
                                        1. lyme patients are not considered disabled, it is hard enough just to get them to pay for our meds, which mine is not and costs us out of pocket $1,300 a month to try to get me to the point I can live.

                                        2. That measly little bit is easier to live without that they would give me, even if I did qualify, because my husband has a decent job, so that when I am having a good day I can teach some students, and when I get the tube that is sticking out of my chest removed ride again.

                                        Once again no one is attacking the other person. We just want to warn her and other people that it all depends on what your plan says you can do while disabled.