What is Disability Insurance for Nursing Professionals?
Disability insurance protects your most valuable asset, your ability to earn a living. A disability insurance policy is a contractual arrangement between a Nursing Professional and an insurance company that protects against loss of income in the event that the Nursing Professional should become unable to perform their employment duties because of an injury or disability. Nursing professionals invest substantial sums of money and time in their professions. In addition, most people do not have enough savings to be able to withstand more than a few months of lost income without suffering serious consequences. Thus, disability insurance is an attractive option to protect you, your family, and your career-related investments in the event of a debilitating injury or disability. Disability benefits should be distinguished from worker’s compensation in that worker’s compensation provides benefits to an employee if the cause of the injury or disability is work-related.
What is the difference between short-term disability benefits and long-term disability benefits?
In general, there are two forms of disability protection, short-term disability benefits and long-term disability benefits. Short-term disability benefits typically provide about 60% of your salary and are generally paid out on a weekly basis. Long-term disability benefits also provide about 60% of your salary but are typically paid out on a monthly basis. Short-term disability benefits also have a much shorter waiting period than long-term disability benefits. A typical short-term policy will begin to pay benefits 14 days after the disability arises, while long-term disability benefits typically require the insured to wait 180 days before these benefits will begin to pay out. Thus, short-term disability benefits cover the gap in lost income while the insured satisfies the longer waiting period. Whether you are entitled to short-term benefits, long-term benefits, or both depends on the specifics of your policy. Moreover, while short-term disability benefits typically expire after 3-6 months, long-term disability benefits usually terminate when the disability ends and the insured is able to return to work, or upon the occurrence of a condition or the expiration of a stated number of years in your policy (usually this number will be your retirement age).
Why do you need disability insurance and how do you know if you are entitled to disability benefits?
According to the most recent census report, approximately 1 in 5 people in the U.S. are living with some form of a disability. The Social Security Administration projects that 1 out of every 4 twenty year olds will develop a disability before they retire. Furthermore, the CDC estimates that the most common form of disability in the U.S. is some form of a mobility limitation. Additionally, research shows that the highest percentages of persons living with disabilities are generally in southern states, including Florida.
Given how demanding the nursing profession can be, an injury that may not qualify as a disability in a different profession may nonetheless qualify as a disability to the Nursing Professional. For instance, moving, lifting, and carrying heavy objects are often normal activities for the nursing professional. A disability that would impair the normal functions of your nursing profession may justify the right to receive disability benefits.
However, what exactly constitutes a “disability” depends on the terms of your policy. Different policies contain varying definitions of what a disability may be. For example, some policies may be more insurer friendly, characterizing a disability as the inability to perform any occupational functions whatsoever, while other policy definitions may be friendlier to the insured, characterizing a disability as the inability to perform specific functions of your nursing profession. Thus, your right to receive disability benefits depends not only on the disability you have sustained, but also on the terms of your policy.
What happens if you have been denied disability insurance benefits?
If you have applied for, and been denied, disability benefits it is crucial that you contact an attorney immediately. This is because the appeals process can often be determinative of the outcome of your claim. Whether you carry individual disability coverage or group disability coverage is important because it will determine which sets of laws will govern your case. If you carry individual coverage then your claim will be governed by Florida law. If your disability coverage is provided by your employer then chances are it is subject to a complicated federal law known as ERISA. ERISA has strict procedural requirements for appealing claim denials by your insurer. The record produced and the events that occur during the appeals process can often determine whether or not you will be able to recover disability benefits. If you have been denied your right to receive disability benefits, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Don’t take a chance and risk losing these benefits because you didn’t consult with an experienced attorney when it matters the most. The insurance company may be operating in bad faith, or may simply be in breach of contract. In either event, you’re going to need a seasoned attorney that will fight for your rights and get you the benefits that you have contracted for.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].
29 U.S. Code Chapter 18 - EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY PROGRAM