Around the Nation: News and Insight From Across the DI World

In the past few weeks, there have been some interesting news articles that either impact the landscape of the disability insurance industry or affect how disability benefits may be awarded in the future.  As a disability claim consultancy firm, we accept our challenging responsibility to stay current on industry news and realize that many don’t have the time or ability to keep up with the volume or focus of information.  There are developments in many different fields that can have a direct impact on disability insurance and individual claims, from new medical research to job programs to court decisions.  Taking the time to research our industry allows us to stay current on the best claims presentation and handling processes and updates the ways we interact with our clients and the recommendations we make about their disability claims.  We hope that seeing how we keep our clients up to date on news and developments helps your own decision-making process and builds trust in the disability claim community.  Of course, the only problem is that change and developments never stop.  While these topics were current when this blog post was written, everyday they become a little more outdated.  Please stay tuned for future news and updates. 

Chronic Pain Syndrome has been in the news a lot recently, which is good news in this case.  As many who suffer from this debilitating condition can testify, the risk of pain medication addiction is very high with Chronic Pain Syndrome.  The daily medications needed to lead a pain-free (or more likely, just tolerable or functional) life can be very powerful and fundamentally change how a person behaves.  Following in the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, a program in Tennessee called Chronic Pain Anonymous aims to help those who are experiencing from prescription drug addiction due to chronic pain.  Since this organization is geared toward helping those who are dealing with both chronic pain and addiction, it’s more focused and helpful to those who need to learn other pain-coping mechanisms as well as how to wean themselves from painkillers.  Acupuncture is often seen as one of the best alternative medical treatments for chronic pain, and a new study shows that this theory has merit.  This new study demonstrates that acupuncture does have a measurable impact for several types of chronic pain, such as neck pain, back pain, and chronic headaches.

In the current economy, the amount of people collecting disability insurance, both private and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), has been highly scrutinized by everyone from politicians to Internet bloggers.  During the recent presidential debate, one of the few vague points the candidates agreed on was that the Social Security program needs several changes.  This article provides a great synopsis of the “tweaks” that are possible and their overall effect on the state of the distressed program.  One way to reduce the stress on Social Security (as well as claimants) is to help those who are disabled re-enter the workforce and to help those who left the workforce due to a disability return to their careers.  There are many programs which help people in this situation – several of them have gotten newsworthy attention recently.  Last Wednesday marked the 6th annual Disability Mentoring Day for the Memphis City School district, part of the larger National Disability Employment Awareness MonthOrganizers formed the program to provide local high school students with hands-on job training at local businesses, preparing them for the workforce when they leave school and have succeeded in helping many students stay off of government assistance programs.  Farther along their career path, many disabled claimants are trying to return to previous careers or start fresh after recovering from their illness or condition.  A recent study dealing with claimants recovering from breast cancer shows that the numbers vary greatly on returning to work in these cases.  Different data sets show both increasing and decreasing numbers of claimants returning to work after filing a claim, often depending on whether they are coming back from a short-term or a long-term absence.

The flip side of the coin are claimants who fraudulently try and obtain benefits they don’t deserve.  These people create the environment that causes much of the unnecessary stress and undeserved investigation that disability claimants are forced to endure from their insurers.  In this instance, truly a few bad apples spoil the bunch.  Fraudulent claimants are responsible for many deserving claimants being delayed and denied the benefits they need and deserve.  Many of these are more than just misunderstandings or posturing in negotiations with the insurance company, but actual cases where claimants are trying to defraud the system.  There’s the case of a woman who held several jobs while receiving disability benefits and making false statements to investigators in her claim.  Sadly, these news stories are all too common, and new stories are posted almost daily.  These articles give the insurance companies and their defenders the excuse  to continue their overly aggressive claims defense tactics.  It might be said to be all fair in love and war – but disability claims are neither!

This time of year is also often accompanied by several articles exposing the underbelly of America’s favorite sport:  football.  Disability insurance plays a large role in sports based on the physical demands, violence, and number of injuries that happen on any given Sunday – along with every other day of the week.  Head injuries and concussions have taken ahold of headlines recently, but there are many different types of injuries that can last the rest of a former player’s life.  These repercussions are being academically studied in depth, and new information will hopefully help improve the sport that all Americans love so much.  It’s not just the players who are having issues with their insurers, however.  The NFL has recently filed a lawsuit alleging many of their general liability insurers refused to defend them in hundreds of lawsuits filed by former players holding the NFL responsible for personal and bodily injuries.  The NFL is seeking to recover their costs in defending against the players’ lawsuits by filing lawsuits against their insurance companies.

These articles provide a snapshot of what’s going on this very moment.  They don’t (and can’t) represent an all-encompassing view of all current events in the disability industry.  The insurance industry is very fluid, and industry practices may change on a daily basis depending on the current moods of the courts or company management and the reactions of the media and claimants.  Starting with a long history and experience in the disability claims industry and then working to stay up to date on current developments allows our firm to keep up with the new strategies and techniques employed by insurance companies and their claims examiners, which allows us to provide advantages for our clients and provide better alternatives and outcomes.  Some people who work with disability claims have even begun to raise the white flag when it comes to dealing with the increasingly aggressive tactics exhibited by disability insurance companies and their vendors.  We don’t agree with giving into bullies.  Our firm tries to take the newest developments in the industry and use them to make sure our clients are approved for the disability benefits they deserve.

If you have any further questions about the articles referenced above or about your specific disability claim, please do not hesitate to contact our offices at (855) 828-4100 or sign up for a free consultation at our website or on the right-hand side of this page.  We welcome your questions and comments below.

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