Yes, you read that headline correctly. A new program has been launched based on research showing that “psychosocial barriers to recovery” account for more than three times the variance in the ability of claimants to recover from injuries. And while this particular program is being targeted to Workers’ Compensation cases, it may be just a matter of time before this program, or something similar to it, shows up in the world of Long Term Disability insurance claims.
We’ve got nothing against anything that will get people who are able-bodied to get back to work after an injury. What bothers us is what appears to be a thinly-veiled accusation of malingering. We don’t actually know what “psychosocial barrier identification” means, but in our long years of experience with disability insurance companies, we do know that it’s never a good thing when they start slinging jargon.
Here’s our take on “psychosocial barrier identification.” When a functioning person is injured or becomes ill and can no longer work, they have to integrate their life before the illness/injury and their live after the illness/injury. There is a huge adjustment involved when processing such a major life change.
When the injury is healed, or when the illness is (in the best of all possible cases) cured, the individual is again presented with another shift in their life. This one is a good one, when they can return to normal activities of living. However, we work with a population that does not experience this – that’s why they are on Long Term Disability claim. Our law firm represents individuals who would be thrilled to get their lives back.
At Frankel & Newfield, we are always concerned that the focus of disability insurance companies and the companies that serve them – third party administrators, medical report evaluators, investigators, doctors whose entire practices are devoted to conducting Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) – is less on the well-being of claimants and more on finding ways in which to deny or delay claims.
Our goal is to help our clients overcome the many obstacles put in their path when they have filed for disability benefits and have been denied or have had their benefits wrongfully terminated. Most policies require periodic reviews of medical records, and often those records are cherry-picked for any reason to either review further materials or to simply terminate the claim. The unnerving experience of having an unscheduled field visit to the claimant’s home by a private investigator generates an enormous amount of anxiety for claimants and their families. These tactics are just a few that the claimant must cope with, along with the difficulties presented by their illness or injury.
Our message is simple: if you are disabled because of an injury or an illness, the disability insurance company and all of its third party service providers should be there to support and assist you as you either recover or learn how to live with your disability. That is the underlying theme of every sales pitch we’ve ever heard. Sadly, there is a huge gap between a message of support and help and the stomach-grabbing anxiety that occurs when one individual must go into battle with a global insurance company.
If your disability insurance company thinks that you have a psychosocial barrier to going back to work, call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524).