Most employers are, unfortunately, all-too-familar with the traditional approach to disability management: employees must prove they’re disabled. While this traditional strategy may seem effective to some, research shows that its adversarial nature actually leads to higher costs due to more medical tests needed to demonstrate disability.
Ninety-five percent of disabilities are caused by illnesses, rather than accidents (1) – for this and many other reasons, employers should reevaluate their approach in handling employee absences. This startling statistic shows that illnesses are complex and often involve multiple factors that can, and do, prohibit a quick recovery.
There are two categories of disability: clinical and non-clinical; each comes with its own set of special considerations. With clinical problems, for example, multiple or chronic conditions may exist, a treatment plan must be adhered to, and depression and anxiety may accompany the primary diagnosis. When it comes to non-clinical issues, or accidents, there may be legal or financial issues, dependent and elder care considerations and worksite accommodation and ADA compliance needs.
Complex problems need complex solutions. Employers can best help their employees who are on leave by understanding the entire scope of the disability claim and helping them overcome obstacles that may be preventing them from returning to work.
Supporting employees through a difficult time, rather than assuming ill will on the employee’s part, is not only a more cost-effective approach, but ultimately will foster a more trusting relationship between an employer and employee. At the end of the day, the focus should on helping employees through a difficult time.
United Benefit Advisors is hosting an upcoming webinar that will aid employers in creating an “Advocacy-Based Approach to Absence Management.” Webinar participants will learn about:
- The “absence affect” - conditions that drive disability claims;
- How an advocacy-based approach to claims management can get employees engaged in their recovery and encourage a faster return to work;
- What a well-designed disability plan looks like;
- Helpful work/life programs and services; and
- FMLA/absence compliance resources.
This webinar is scheduled for Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. To register for the webinar, An Advocacy-Based Approach to Absence Management, visit: http://tinyurl.com/ktcxz98.
(1) Council for Disability Awareness, Long Term Disability Claims Review. Retrieved April 12, 2012 at 2011 at www.disabilitycanhappen.org/research/CDA_LTD_Claims_Survy_2011.asp.