How To Start a Disability Management Program

Before beginning work on your disability management program, first evaluate the history of your company’s sick days over the past couple of years, and the short-term and long-term disability benefits that were paid. Analyze your company and its intangible costs to your employees.

Place together in the same category disability benefits such as salaries on a continuum basis, short-term disabilities and long-term disability benefits. This will help lessen the workload on the disability manager and narrow the paperwork for the employee when illness strikes. It also helps the case manager keep each employee’s information organized and on file at all times.

Next, you will then need to hire a nurse or another professional in the medical field to manage the disability claims.

Keep in mind that putting together a disability management program may be frustrating and time-consuming. Take it slow, realize that decisions will need to be made in an organized manner but once the system is set up, your disability program will serve you and your business, well.

Emphasize to everyone in the management program that the main goal of the disability management program is to return to work. Work as a team with your insurance program to focus on abilities instead of disabilities. It will help greatly to develop wellness programs and ergonomic changes that will help those employees who can’t continue working at their old jobs.

Remember that disability management is not so much about controlling costs but more about valuing individual employees' abilities and contributions. As your disability management program continues there are some warning signs that you need to heed before things get out of hand. Some of these warning signs are:

  • Employees are waiting longer before reporting a disability.
  • Employees are not returning to work in a timely manner.
  • Transitional return to work duties are not pursued by disabled employees.
  • Not enough is being done by the human resource managers to communicate with disabled employees.
  • Communication is poor between medical providers.
  • Investments in disability management are impacting your business finances.
  • Medical costs are growing, and employees are often seeking out of work networks.
  • You’re finding that your disability management partner only calls when he wants to sell your products, and he shows little interest in  satisfying your existing needs.
  • The design of your program is limited to a "single fit" and doesn’t include or consider geographic requirements and variations of treatment.


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