Why do insurance companies shoot themselves in the foot by trying to penalize claimants who try to work through their medical problems before applying for disability benefits.
If insurers really succeed in broadcasting the message that if you continue working when you have a disabling condition, that fact will be used against you if you ultimately have to give in to the disability and apply for LTD benefits. Afflicted employees will be forced to make claims much earlier and will never try to “tough” it out.
We know that insurance companies use whatever they can find to oppose disability claims, giving little thought to the consequences for their insureds. But withholding benefits because a claimant tried to work through a disability is just plain shortsighted.
Insurers must realize that every day employees stick to their jobs and continue working while suffering the early stages of disabilities which may plague them the rest of their lives. In doing so, these employees are saving insurance companies millions of dollars in benefits which they would otherwise have had to pay out.
Rather than encouraging those who try to work despite trying medical or psychiatric conditions, insurers instead try to penalize them by throwing this work effort in their faces when they finally have to succumb and apply for LTD benefits. In effect, insurance companies penalize people for trying to avoid applying for benefits.
This attitude on the part of insurers is not only unfair to the claimant (who ever thinks of the word “fair” when discussing an LTD claim), but it actually does harm to the insurer’s position.
If word gets around that insurance companies will use your working through an illness or injury to defeat a legitimate disability claim, no employee in his or her right mind will try to do it. Employees will be more likely to apply for STD as soon as they have a condition which may have long term implications.
Why should someone force themselves to work in pain or severe discomfort, when their efforts will be used against them if they are forced, in the end, to stop working because of their disability?
The problem with insurers is that they consider all disability claimants the same – they think they are all looking for an excuse to stop working and collect benefits.
But, people are different. Some have a great work ethic. Some don’t. Some can bear pain much better than others can. There is no “one size fits all” when individuals become disabled. Some will be able to work on – some won’t.
If insurance companies continue to raise as a defense that you worked when you claimed a disability, no matter how difficult it was for you to do so, they will soon find all claimants claiming benefits much earlier that they do now to avoid the defense.
Claimants aren’t stupid. If insurance companies persist, many more claimants will seek benefits earlier to avert this knee-jerk defense raised by insurers.
If they do, companies will be paying out a lot more than they do now.
So, insurers, drop this automatic defense. Use it only where it is warranted.
If you do, you will save a lot of money.