Nurses are some of the hardest working people in healthcare, facing physical, mental and emotional challenges every day. Frankel & Newfield has represented many nurses with disability insurance claims governed by ERISA (employee benefit) disability policies, individual or privately owned policies and disability insurance policies purchased while enrolled in nursing school. Nurses need long-term disability insurance to protect their income and their investment in the training it takes to become a nurse. Nurse income varies from $60,000 to $107,000, based on location and specialty. Nurses serve in many different positions, from Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthetists, Midwives, Nurse Educator, Home Health Care Nurses and Clinical Nurses. Some nurses shift their focus to management and go into administrative positions in hospitals and health care facilities.
When COVID-19 arrived in early 2020, the stress on nurses was overwhelming. Nurses are known for staying calm under all kinds of conditions and possessing an amazing amount of strength during a crisis. But the unrelenting pace of emergency patients, lack of critical resources and the sheer number of fatalities has taken a toll on nurses. For some, including those who were already considering filing for disability, the pressures and risks of COVID-19 in the healthcare system was the final blow to their careers.
Nurses generally own one or more of three different types of disability insurance policies. They become eligible to purchase long-term care disability policies when they begin nursing school, similar to a professional association policy for a doctor or dentist just starting to practice. When they start working for an employer, a hospital or a medical facility, the nurse receives a disability insurance policy as part of their compensation package. This is known as a group or ERISA disability policy. Often the monthly benefit of the ERISA disability policy is not enough to entirely replace lost income. Nurses who can afford to make the investment, and purchase private or individual disability insurance to fill the gap. The rates for disability insurance often depends upon the nurse’s title. Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses can usually obtain disability insurance coverage at better rates than LPNs, Certified Nurse Aids, Vocational Nurses, Home Health Nurses, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Midwives. The best disability insurance policy is the one that contains an “own occupation” provision. The disability insurance policy is insuring the claimant’s ability to perform the services and tasks of their profession. If the policy is an “any occupation” policy, or if it switches to an “any occupation” policy after twenty four months, the nurse who makes a claim may be paid for two years, and then find their claim terminated. When purchasing disability insurance, nurses are warned to be cautious about exclusions. They are positioned as means of bringing down the cost of the policy, but it will also reduce the size of a monthly benefit. Some disability insurance carriers may require an exclusion for mental/nervous claims, based on the statistics surrounding nurses’ claims for anxiety or mental health disabilities. If this language is included in your disability insurance policy, you should definitely speak with an experienced disability insurance attorney at Frankel & Newfield about managing your claim. You may only be eligible for 12 or 24 months of coverage, even if you are still not able to work.
Musculoskeletal – The physical stress of working as a nurse takes a toll, especially since nurses tend to work long shifts, from 8 to 10 or even 12 hour shifts. Injuries to the feet, hips and lower back are common as the result of standing for extended hours. Nurses suffer from back, shoulder and neck injuries from positioning patients, helping them out of or into a bed, from a gurney to a bed, or moving patients and heavy equipment without sufficient help. Needlesticks and wounds from sharp objects are a common injury. In addition to needlesticks, nurses are often injured by sharp surgical tools and medical equipment, resulting in injuries and contamination. Environmental exposure is a common cause of disability for nurses, from infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to toxic substances and radiation exposure. Mental Health – the stress and long hours may lead to deteriorating mental health. Even more so now, due to COVID-19 and the care and treatment provided, with the high mortality, may wear further upon nurses. Patient violence – Violent patients are not limited to psychiatric wards or the emergency medicine department. Violent attacks by patients is a serious risk to nurses. The stress of working in an environment where violence is always a possibility can lead to a mental health/anxiety disability.
The experienced lawyers at Frankel & Newfield fight for our nurse clients at every stage of the claims process. We know the tactics that the insurance company uses to delay and deny claims. We know also that a letter or phone call from an attorney is treated differently than a call or letter from a claimant. Clients who retain the firm to prepare their disability claim benefit from our guidance. With our experience, we are able to protect nurses from the frequently made mistakes that can doom a claim. Missing strict deadlines is one of the easiest mistakes to make. A person who is too sick to work is in no position to deal with a complex legal challenge. Our firm takes on the disability insurance company when claimants need to focus on their health. We can help you file for disability insurance benefits, manage your appeal if your claim is denied, and defend your benefits if your claim is wrongfully terminated. We fight aggressively for our clients every day, and their appreciation is clear in their testimonials. Frankel & Newfield can help with every stage of your case from beginning to end, including claims, appeals, lawsuits or settlement negotiations. Call us at 877-583-2524 and schedule your free consultation today.
Secrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know!