If you try to find another non-clinical job, you risk modifying your occupation. See If I Change the Volume and/or Types of Procedures I’m Doing Will that Hurt My Chances of Using My Disability Policy?
While unemployment benefits vary from state to state, barring
significant changes to the programs, it is unlikely that these sorts of
benefits will allow dentists to meet their expenses if dentists are
forced to close their offices for extended periods of time. For example,
in Arizona, the maximum weekly benefit is $240, or roughly $960/month.
Additionally, there is a chance that the various programs will not be
able to address the spike in people filing for benefits. In just Arizona
alone, the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute released a new study
showing that Arizona will lose more than 100,000 jobs by this summer
related to COVID-19, including 4.2% of private sector jobs, which will
place significant strain on the unemployment benefit program.
Obviously, you should not file a disability claim if you do not have a
medical condition that limits you from practicing. However, if you are a
dentist with a slowly progressive condition, like degenerative disc disease or an essential tremor and you have been considering filing a disability claim,
your disability claim may be a better option than seeking unemployment
benefits. While there are some new considerations when filing a
disability claim in this environment, your policy probably provides
greater financial protection than unemployment benefits, if you have a
legitimate disability claim.
Action Step: Learn more about your
state’s unemployment benefits and how they compare to your disability
policy’s benefits. If appropriate, consider filing a disability claim.
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.
Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits – How much will my weekly benefit amount be? https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual/eligibility-unemployment-insurance-benefits.
Steve Irvin, Analysis: Arizona will face huge job losses because of coronavirus, ABC 15, March 19, 2020
Arizona increases access to unemployment benefits, moves tax deadline due to coronavirus, 12 News, March 20, 2020 (updated March 21, 2020)
The Latest on COVID-19 from AzDA, Arizona Dental Association, https://www.azda.org/news-publications/the-latest-on-covid-19.