It depends. Some disability policies (most often employer policies or group/association policies) have a requirement that you must remain “actively at work” or working “full-time” in order to stay eligible for coverage.
While sometimes “full-time” is defined, other policies, like the ADA/Great-West
policy, have an hourly work requirement that must be met to maintain
eligibility. For example, you may need to work 20 hours a week, or 30
hours a week, depending on the disability policy.
Many times, there are exceptions that can be utilized to maintain
eligibility, but it may require further action, like obtaining a formal
leave of absence from your employer or getting approval for FMLA leave.
However, these are things that need to be done proactively, to preserve
Additionally, if you lose eligibility and regain it later (say, after
the national coronavirus epidemic has passed), this can re-set the
coverage date and preexisting condition provisions under some policies. As a result, your claim could be denied on the basis that your disabling condition pre-dates the new coverage date, even if you technically regain the ability to file a claim under the policy upon returning to work.
There are certain legal principles that will work in tandem with the
provisions of your policy, and that may help you, especially in
circumstance like coronavirus pandemic. However, the administrators of
your policy may or may not believe that it is in their best interest to
voluntarily assist you, notwithstanding these laws.
Action Step: Locate your disability
policies and become familiar with the requirements for maintaining
eligibility. If necessary, take additional steps to preserve your
eligibility during periods where you are not able to meet the normal
hourly work requirements. Talk to a disability attorney if you have
questions about ways to maintain your eligibility during the coronavirus
Each dentist’s claim for disability benefits involves different
facts, disabling conditions, policy requirements, insurance companies,
etc. While our attorneys are making an effort to share general knowledge
with the dental community and answer dentists’ questions about the
impact of the coronavirus, this not a substitute for individualized
advice from an experienced disability insurance lawyer. If you would
like to speak with our attorneys and have them take an in-depth look at
your particular situation, please feel free to contact us directly.