Disability Insurance Benefits and the Family Medical Leave Act

Physicians are accustomed to treating patients for health concerns, not worrying about their own health and ability to work. However, doctors are not immune from illnesses or injuries that can result in severe disabling conditions which may even prevent them from working and practicing medicine. When a doctor faces this hardship, it is important to draw on all available resources to help with medical treatment and rehabilitation. 

In addition to your own medical care and legal teams, your disability insurance provider and the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, can play a significant role in providing disabled healthcare professionals the space they need for recovery. While FMLA is important in many situations, it is not available to everyone and it will not provide income replacement like your private disability insurance benefits. To get a comprehensive understanding of these resources and how to utilize them, as well as ensure you are not forgoing any opportunities from your disability insurance benefits, you should contact an experienced disability insurance benefits lawyer. Seltzer & Associates is available to answer your questions about short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, and the administrative and legal process many disabled applicants face when fighting to obtain their disability insurance benefits. You do not need to face your disability fight alone. Seltzer & Associates has your back.

What Disability Insurance Benefits Provide Disabled Physicians

There are many types of disability insurance policies that high-earning physicians or owners of a medical practice may hold to protect their careers should they become unable to work due to disability. Your disability insurance benefits provide disabled physicians and other healthcare providers replacement income when their disability prevents them from working. This is crucial to the disabled physician as disability and treatment can last for months or years. Having adequate short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage can make a significant difference in covering your financial obligations when you are out of work due to disability.

In addition to short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage, doctors may have additional policies that protect their business if they own a medical practice, such as a business overhead expense policy. This will cover business-related expenses that the business may not be able to cover should the doctor be unable to practice medicine due to disability. 

Your disability insurance policies will have a number of definitions that will determine how your claim for disability insurance benefits is analyzed and evaluated. For example, many policies only provide coverage if the physician is unable to work at “any occupation” which opens the door for the insurance company to deny a claim. For this reason, many physicians and surgeons seek disability insurance  policies that will provide replacement income if the disabled claimant is unable to work in their “own occupation.” This tailored approach helps medical professionals maintain their disability insurance benefits as they undergo treatment and prevents premature return to practicing medicine which keeps physicians, staff, and patients safer.

No matter the scope of coverage, your disability insurance benefits should provide you peace of mind. Your contract should be aimed at providing you with financial stability should you face the uncertainty of a disabling condition. If your disability insurance company denies you the disability benefits to which you are entitled, removing your peace of mind and financial security, you need to work with an experienced disability insurance lawyer to fight for your rights. Seltzer & Associates represents clients from the medical profession nationwide and will champion you in your fight.

Understanding the Family Medical Leave Act

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that protects an eligible employee’s job when they are unable to work due to their own illness or injury or to care for a qualifying family member facing serious illness or injury. FMLA does not provide income replacement to the out-of-work employee, but it affords the employee to take unpaid time off work to address medical care needs for themselves or qualifying relatives. Of course, there are guidelines and requirements built into FMLA to make qualifications and expectations clear.

Not all employers are bound by FMLA rules. Reviewing your hospital or medical practice’s eligibility will be important, and something you should discuss with Human Resources if you will need to leave work for a disabling condition. FMLA typically covers an employee’s absence from work for a serious health concern for 12 weeks per 12-month period. This is important to note as some conditions may allow a brief return to work until further treatment is required. FMLA can also provide job protection should an attempt to return to work result in complications that remove you from work again.

Since FMLA is a 12-week period, this timeframe will typically work alongside your short-term disability insurance benefits from your insurance provider. If your disabling condition persists, you can work with a long-term disability attorney to navigate that transition to long-term disability insurance benefits. 

Attempting to Return to Work

Our goal is the best possible outcome for our clients. In some cases, this means attempting a return to work. Depending on your disability insurance policy, you may have coverage to return to work in a partial capacity and still maintain your disability insurance benefits. Understanding residual disability insurance coverage can be complex, especially when considered with all the unique factors of your claim. It is advantageous to discuss the particular definitions of your partial disability insurance coverage with someone who 

Additionally, FMLA could help protect your job in an attempt to return to work. For example, if you return to work some weeks after surgery only to find you cannot sit or walk throughout your shift in a way that allows you to do your job, you may need to go on disabled status for a few more weeks of recovery. While FMLA will not provide income for you, FMLA could keep your employment secure and allow a few more weeks of recovery time. 

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you are a doctor who is unable to work due to a disabling condition, you should schedule a free consultation with a disability insurance lawyer to discuss your claim. Contact Seltzer & Associates online or by calling 888-699-4222.