When a personal return to work plan has been developed between a disability insurance claimant, his doctor, and his attorney, it can be both useful and empowering. But insurers often use their own return to work plans to pressure claimants into giving up their benefits and returning to work as soon as possible, regardless of their medical condition.
The insurers’ return to work plans are often marketed to employers seeking to reduce workplace absences. The insurer terms this a “strategic partnership.” Prudential, a major disability insurer, explained the concept at the annual Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Conference in San Diego. Prudential argued that “[s]ome disability absences are driven by subjective feelings about work,” a problem best solved by “an environment that breeds commitment.” Unum, one of the largest disability insurance providers, gives similar presentations, including one on strategies for managing employees’ chronic pain conditions—callously titled “A Pain in the Workplace.”
Both the employer and the insurer thus pressure the claimant to return to work earlier, often under the guise of a “trial” basis. This decision can have disastrous outcomes for the claimant—lost benefits, aggravation of the medical problem, and other complications. Before ever considering returning to work, even for a “trial” period, consult your doctor and an experienced disability insurance attorney. The effect on your benefits and health could be profound.
The disability insurance attorneys at Comitz | Beethe provide legal representation to protect the disability benefits of medical and dental professionals nationwide and throughout metropolitan Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Flagstaff and Yuma. We provide disability income claim advice, assistance with filing disability claims, including completion of disability claim forms and representation in disability insurance litigation.