When you are injured or encounter a severe illness as a dentist, it is likely you will consider filing a claim for disability benefits.  Hopefully you are not among the 20% of dentists who fail to safeguard their incomes by avoiding paying disability premiums.  Disability insurance is expensive, but truly a lifesaver if you cannot practice. Even if you are only out of work for 6 months, payments frequently will start in 90 days depending on your policy.  Remember, you could be out of work indefinitely.  This is the risk we all take, and being prepared may mean the difference between survival and disaster.

Your disability premium should be the easiest check you write when reviewing your expenses.  Make no mistake, you will need to file a claim with care and determination.  In order for a claim to be considered valid, you must document your condition very accurately.  Not only do you need to have a legitimate injury or illness, your condition must exactly match the legal definition of disability in your policy.  Disability Companies are not your friend. They are for profit corporations, and they will follow the law to the letter. NO FURTHER.  It will be up to you to ensure that all requirements are met and all requested information is forwarded to your policy provider.

You may have hired a disability attorney already to help with your claim.  This is a wise idea for many, especially if you have a claim involving psychiatric issues or orthopedic injuries.  These claims are frequently challenged and even valid claims can be denied not only in the application period, but sometimes later even after initial disability payments have been sent to you.   SEE OUR POSTING ON HOW TO FILE A CLAIM.  How do I make a Disability Claim?

Your disability company needs to protect itself from fraud. The likelihood of such fraudulent claims in the dental community is low, but not unheard of.  The tools at the disposal of disability firms are well-known.  Unannounced visits at you home address are not uncommon.   These visits, although not required in your policy are basically efforts by the insurance firms to visually and accurately determine your true physical status.  They compare their view of your condition to the exact definition of disability outlined in your policy.   There is room for disagreement at any point, and you are always at risk to lose your benefits if they feel you do not meet the definition of disability in your policy.

Secret videotaping of policy holders has become commonplace in the past years.  If you claim you are disabled and are performing acts that indicate you are not disabled, you are subject to visual recording of you performance.  Drone videotaping is now routine and you can be subject to a visual recording most anywhere.  Of course, if you are truly incapacitated or ill; it is unlikely you are at risk.  Remember, prejudicial editing of any recording can place you in an unfavorable light.  This is where good legal representation may be required.  Protect yourself and be informed.

Don’t worry, your disability carrier will be subject to the law and bad faith claims are very costly to them. You have the option of tort claims and breach of contact claims against your policy carrier. These proceeding carry heavy penalties and additional damages may be awarded. Therefore, your insurance carrier will be very careful before they even consider denying your valid claim.

Now we come to the next tool available to your disability policy carrier. Social media is a wonderful invention, and just like anything good;  abuse is a risk.  Insurance companies can and will monitor social media.  Claims or statements made online can be used against you in legal proceedings. Knowledge of this gives you forewarning of the true risks of social media with respect to your disability claim. Posted videos, exaggerated physical claims, and just plain routine comments on social media may place you at risk.

What does this mean? It does not mean you can’t use social media. What is does mean is you have to be careful what you post/say. Consider your physical injury or illness. How does your disability policy define disability? If you place anything on social media that contradicts what you are supposed to be capable of, you are likely to expose yourself to unwarranted criticism by you insurance carrier.   Be forewarned, and make smart decisions on your actions.   Knowledge is power.   Your legitimate injury or illness is the strongest part of your defense.  If you need legal assistance, they will easily crush any attempt at denial of benefits.  Remember, you are the one who is suffering from an unplanned illness/injury.   YOU HAVE RIGHTS AND THE LAW IS ON YOUR SIDE.   Take a look at the attached video on this important issue.

Avoid making stupid mistakes on social media, and move on with you life. We hope this information expands you knowledge base, and lets you make good decisions on your future.



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