Disability Insurance Financials, Part 2 of 3: Social Security Awards

The Social Security Disability Insurance program, or SSDI, had a large influence in the private disability insurance world.  From helping determine the diagnosis of an insured to the amount of an insured’s benefit check each month, it is almost impossible to deal with private insurance without worrying about Social Security.  This is why Social Security questions are some of the most common inquiries that come into our office.    In the second blog in this series, we are going to discuss the different ways that SSDI payments have on a private insurance claim and the proper ways for an insured to handle problems. Continue reading

Disability Insurance Financials, Part 1 of 3: Tax Time Surprises

It’s tax time again and many people are now realizing the large tax bills that disability benefits can cause.  We are getting many questions about disability insurance and how it relates to income taxes and retroactive Social Security awards.  We have so much to talk about, we decided to turn this article into a three-part series over the next few days to break up the information into more manageable sections.  Today, I am going to be discussing how disability insurance relates to your taxes as well as how you can lessen any tax burdens caused by your benefits. Continue reading

Avoiding Pitfalls in Chronic Pain Disability Claims

Several of our clients have become disabled due to chronic pain conditions.  This is an unfortunately common problem.  In fact at some point during their lifetime, more than 10% of workers under the age of 30 will experience chronic pain requiring them to miss work.  Chronic pain is usually less intense than acute pain, which is excruciating and follows a trauma or medical procedure for a specific limited duration.    Chronic pain is also much more than the aches and pains people attribute to getting older.  Chronic pain lasts for months or even years,  fundamentally altering the way people feel on a daily basis and how they behave in work and personal situations.  There are three basic thresholds of what constitutes chronic pain: pain that cannot be remedied through standard treatments, pain that persists beyond the scope of standard treatment, and pain with no known origin.  These vague definitions, as well as the subjectivity of the diagnosis, make the insurance claims of people who have become disabled due to chronic pain conditions prone to being denied by disability insurance companies.  We have seen an increase in the numbers of questioned, delayed, and denied disability claims due to chronic pain recently.  So today, I would like to explain some of the techniques we use to help these disability claims be understood and approved.

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Total vs. Residual Disability: A Doctor’s Unpleasant Surprise

Residual Disability

Ask any doctor – having your own practice is a lot of work. Not only seeing patients, but all the paperwork, employee problems, and hundreds of other nagging issues involved in running a business.

If you become disabled, the process of filing a claim for benefits isn’t much easier. Disability insurance companies see doctors as a fantastic market to sell more insurance and generate new premiums while at the same coming up with defense tactics to deny their claims. A common tactic is to discretely change a claim from total disability to residual disability. Most insureds have little idea of the downsides of this change until it’s too late! It’s important to recognize how and why insurance companies use these claim denying strategies so insureds – especially medical professionals – can be prepared on how to respond to these insurance company tactics. Continue reading