Doctor Disability: Relying on Sick Leave and Other Employer Plans for Disability Time
If you are relying on sick leave, healthcare or other employer-sponsored benefits to help with your downtime under a disability, be very careful with your planning. The first step is to find out how your human resources department deals with long-term, consecutive days off for a disabling injury or illness that isn’t work-caused. It may be fine to use accumulated sick leave to keep income flowing during a short-term disability (one lasting less than three months), but your hospital or practice might have restrictions on such use when it comes to many consecutive days.
If sick leave can be used, either for a short-term disability or during the waiting period before your long-term disability benefits kick in, then you can plan on having that steady flow of cash that isn’t available for some weeks under your physicians income protection insurance. Some organizations provide a sick leave “bank” into which others in the practice can donate leave that can then be applied to your time off and keep your paycheck coming. Typically, donors have to be of equal or higher income.
Healthcare benefits will usually continue during your time off, as long as premiums are paid, so check with HR to make sure that a disability and associated time off doesn’t harm your health insurance coverage. If you need to pick up payments for any reason, you need to know now so you can budget for that.
Understand Waiting Periods
Short-term disability insurance is designed to provide income during the first weeks of disability time off. If your practice offers sick leave for 30 consecutive days, you might not need short-term coverage, according to the Council for Disability Awareness.
Long-term disability insurance provides income for multiple months or years up to a certain limit or age, depending on the policy’s rules. It typically comes with a 60- or 90-day waiting period. Sick leave can be used to continue your income during a part of that waiting period, if your employer permits. Normally, sick leave will provide your full income, whereas disability income coverage provides a smaller percentage of what you earn.
If you carry an individual physicians income protection policy, it can supplement your employer-provided disability insurance. The combination may be especially helpful if your employer’s coverage is minimal. Plus, you can tailor your individual doctors disability insurance to meet your particular financial needs.
To make all this work, doctors and other medical professionals need help from an expert in the field. At Doctor Disability, our disability insurance representatives can work with you to assess what sick leave is available, what employer-sponsored income protection is being offered, and what your personal financial needs for income coverage are. To learn more, call us at 866-899-7318 or contact us today.