Optometry is a very high income-generating profession ($118,050 median salary, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics), which makes it all the more important to safeguard and secure that income. That is where the necessity for disability insurance benefits comes in. Whether you’re getting it through your employer or out of work, in the short-term or long-term, or as a group plan or solo plan, it’s important to remain insured in some capacity.
As you spend the majority of your time off the clock, odds are higher that a disabling illness or injury would occur out of work than in an optometry office. “Accident only” or basic workers’ compensation plans usually only cover illnesses and injuries on the job. Ironically, there’s a not so statistically insignificant chance that optometrists could end up being impeded by the very disorders they treat. The CDC has ranked vision problems among the top 10 disabilities that adults aged 18 and older suffer, and they project the rates of these problems to nearly double by 2050.
Furthermore, “all occupation” plans might sound broad, but they would only cover illnesses and injuries that prevented you from working in ANY profession. For the best results, look for “own occupation” plans that are as clear and transparent as possible. To claim disability benefits, follow these simple steps. First, file a claim through any available contact resources. Submit a claim packet with detailed statements from you, your physician, and your employer.
Next, wait out the elimination, or pre-benefit, period and sort out any other forms or medical documentation you need to have your claim approved. Finally, enjoy your income protection. Ideally, that is the straightforward, extremely abridged summary of how your claims process will go. But, as you probably did after your disabling incident, we recognize that things aren’t always so simple or straightforward. If you don’t feel that your insurance provider is treating you fairly, talk to an experienced disability insurance attorney.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
Getting back to work can be easier said than done. Accepting that you might never be able to work your dream job again is a whole other story. We recognize how difficult both scenarios are, and we recognize how difficult it is to be denied help when you need it most. At Bartolic Law, we’ve helped many Chicagoans get the financial support they so desperately needed, and we can do the same for you. To learn more, schedule your free case evaluation and consultation online.