Why Cancer is an Important Consideration When it Comes to Disability Claims

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Employee Benefit Program, Income Protection | 0 comments

Why Cancer is an Important Consideration When it Comes to Disability Claims


For 12 years in a row, cancer topped the list as the main reason for long-term disability claims with some employee benefits providers. The second cause on the list was back problems. Cancer claims made up about 16 percent of the company’s long-term disability claims. However, back problems made up about 15 percent of claims. For short-term disabilities, maternity leave was the most common reason at almost 19 percent. Non-back injuries made up close to 11 percent of short-term disability claims.

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. When this month arrives, it is a good time to stress the importance of adequate coverage. However, this is something employers should do all year round. Experts recommend highlighting the valuable advantages it offers for employees. They need to understand how it will help them while they are recovering until returning to work is possible. Both of these phases are very important for cancer patients.

The majority of people who are living with cancer are motivated to return to work. This gives individuals a sense of peace, control and normalcy when they might otherwise constantly feel overwhelmed. With advances being made for cancer treatments, survival rates are climbing. The estimated number of survivors in the United States is expected to reach 18 million by the year 2022. Another important focus area for families and friends helping a cancer patient is the transition process from patient to survivor.

Providers of long-term disability coverage work closely with workers who are out on disability or returning to work and trying to transition. People who have cancer face a wide array of treatment side effects. Some of these include cognitive problems and fatigue from chemotherapy sessions. When employees return to work, some accommodations that must be made may include the following:

– Creating a reduced or flexible work schedule.
– Providing clear definitions of work limitations and expectations.
– Providing feedback or coaching on work performance.
– Altering work stations to keep an employee from standing or sitting for too long.
– Permitting extra time for naps or breaks due to fatigue.

While cancer is a major area of focus for most companies, some are seeing dramatic changes with work returns and recovery processes. They understand that helping employees and employers to look past the diagnosis is important for aiding in the employee’s recovery. Some additional causes of long-term disability include the following:

– Injuries made up nearly 10 percent of claims.
– Behavioral health issues made up nearly 10 percent of claims.
– Disorders of the circulatory system made up about nine percent of claims.
– Joint disorders made up more than eight percent of claims.

As mentioned before, maternity leave and non-back injuries were the main reasons for short-term disability claims. The following were also common reasons:

– Injuries made up more than 10 percent of claims.
– Pregnancy complications made up more than eight percent of claims.
– Digestive problems made up about eight percent of claims.
– Back disorders made up slightly more than seven percent of claims.
– Cancer made up slightly less than seven percent of claims.

It is important for both employers and employees to understand their disability programs. This information should be reviewed regularly. For more information about options, discuss concerns with an agent.