Helping Professionals Secure Disability Insurance Benefits
Disability insurance is a safety net that many people, especially working professionals, secure at an early age in the event that a disabling condition prevents them from continuing their professional practices. Unfortunately, buying coverage is not the end of the process, it is only the beginning. Disability insurance companies are notorious for collecting premiums but resisting payout of claims.
Perhaps no disability insurance claims are more complicated and challenging than disability insurance claims filed by professionals like physicians, dentists, lawyers, accountants and others similarly situated. Insurance companies are more motivated to contest high-value claims involving salaried professionals who have built successful long-term careers.
Professionals with disabilities have a lot riding on the success of the disability claim process, which is why it’s important to get it right from the outset. While denials can be appealed, they result in delays, more legal fees and frustrations. And in this industry, successful outcomes cannot be guaranteed.
Decades Of Experience Representing Professionals In Disability Cases
Since 1958, our firm has represented people from all walks of life through all stages of the disability claims process. We help doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects and other professionals in New York and New Jersey and Nationwide prepare strong disability claims which minimize the possibility of claim denials.
As professionals ourselves, we understand the challenging nature of the enormous decisions you are facing where illness or injury means giving up the career you have spent decades building. You can rely on us for the guidance you need to address the ramifications of a disabling condition that impacts your practice.
Partnering With Professionals To Identify The Best Way Forward
If you are a professional struggling with a disability, we are the right firm to best guide you through this difficult life process. Our team is deeply and personally familiar with the unique challenges that professionals face when considering pursuing a disability claim. Our attorneys have the experience and the compassion to understand what you are giving up.
First, there is a psychological hurdle to overcome. Most successful professionals are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of giving up their professional practices. You may have built your practice over many years of substantial work and practice, after extensive education to obtain the credentials necessary to practice your profession. Your professional accomplishments may be an inherent part of your identity. Moving forward into a different life status is emotionally draining and anxiety provoking.
It is no surprise that when confronted with the possibility or necessity of filing a disability insurance claim, you may be reluctant to give up your practice, particularly without any guarantee that the claim itself will be approved. In most cases, even when claims are approved, professionals will not earn the same level of income as they did prior to their disability. This alone causes significant reluctance to acknowledge the existence of a disability unless there is no other option.
In working with our team, you can rest assured that your claim is in capable and experienced hands. Our lawyers will use maximum efforts to help you obtain the full benefits due to you under your policy. Our documented record of success, especially in challenging cases, reflects the hard work that we pour into every case.
Our team’s job is to understand and take into account your concerns while advising you on a realistic assessment of your options. Our attorneys can provide clarity and direction to help you make intelligent decisions on how to move forward.
Common Types Of Disabilities That Professionals Face
Each type of profession presents unique risks. Below are some common disabling conditions for different professionals:
Medical Doctors, Other Medical Professionals And Lawyers
Because of the stress involved in these professions, practitioners often develop psychiatric conditions, such as:
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
They may develop chronic and potentially life-threatening physical illnesses, such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- COVID and COVID-related complications
- Chronic fatigue
They may also develop functional impairments such as:
- Back and neck issues (cervical, thoracic or lumbar)
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
Any of these conditions can be potentially career ending.
Dentists frequently develop many of the same disabilities as doctors and lawyers. In addition, due to the nature of their work, they are more likely to develop:
- Back/spinal conditions
- Essential tremors
- Shoulder impairments
- Impaired fine motor skills
These conditions can make it difficult for them to safely perform dental work.
Accountants And Financial Advisers
These professionals are likely to suffer from any of the impairments listed above. In addition, they may develop cognitive impairments or deficits that impact their work.
Common Obstacles Which Professionals With Disabilities Face
There are many pitfalls to be aware of if you’re a professional with a developing disability. When the disability comes on gradually – through a progressive disease like Parkinson’s, heart disease, cancer or other slowly developing conditions – it’s common to develop “coping strategies” to mitigate the impact of your progressing disability. You may avoid more difficult tasks by delegating those tasks to other professionals. You might end up reducing the amount of time you practice.
Unfortunately, these approaches can be very risky, depending on the language of your particular policy. You may be inadvertently redefining the nature of your “own occupation” insured by the policy.
What’s more, these approaches rarely provide long-term solutions. You may ultimately be forced to consider going out on disability because you cannot safely continue to practice, even though you may still have a strong desire to do so. But this could result in late filing/notice issues.
Psychiatric Conditions Can Be Grounds For Disability Claims
You may be entitled to disability benefits if you’re a professional suffering from a disabling psychiatric condition, such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Many professionals with psychiatric conditions feel reluctant about pursuing a disability claim. Unfortunately, a stigma still exists in the minds of many around many of these conditions. You may fear the impact on both your personal and professional life. However, delays in seeking benefits can seriously harm you in the long run.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Start Pursuing A Disability Claim
Professionals are frequently in varying degrees of denial about the impact of their physical or psychological impairments. Sometimes, that denial persists until it is too late, and those deficits cause harm to clients or patients. No professional wants to cause harm. It’s important to recognize that continuing to practice when you’re medically unable to do so can have catastrophic consequences from both emotional and legal standpoints.
Putting off filing a valid disability claim may seem a noble act, but in the end, it can extract a heavy price which sometimes is irreparable.
It is our lawyers’ jobs as legal advisers to recognize the complexity of the choices that our clients face and help guide them through the analytical process necessary to reach commonsense and well informed decisions about how best to proceed.
Weighing The Difficult Decision To Consider Disability
Anyone who represents professionals in these circumstances must have a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the process that brings professionals to this point in their careers. Our attorneys understand that the decision to retire due to a disability is a difficult one. You may have spent a lifetime building your professional practice. You may still be in the prime of your career. It can certainly feel defeating to be told that you have to give it up, whether by selling your practice or closing it down.
You may consider yourself a “Type A” personality – someone who has never lacked ambition or energy. Your professional success reflects the diligent effort that you have put into your career. The idea of giving up that practice is anathema to most people in your shoes, and it’s typical for professionals with disabilities to face extreme reluctance in doing so. Disability is not an option that you ever wanted to exercise. Every fiber in your being may resist the notion of giving up your professional independence and status. Quite possibly, this may be your last resort.
We understand these hard truths. We commend professionals for their dedication and determination to keep fighting despite the physical and mental obstacles presented by serious injury or illness. Our attorneys help professionals weigh their options and guide them respectfully through the process of determining that disability may be the best option forward.
Discuss Your Situation During A Free And Confidential Consultation
Take the first step by simply learning more about your options. Call Uscher, Quiat, Uscher & Russo, P.C., at 201-781-5645 or fill out a quick online contact form to request a consultation. We place the utmost value in client confidentiality, and we are here to help.