Prudential Group Insurance has set up a Return to Work service which provides employers with assistance in setting up their own Return to Work programs for disabled employees. According to a press release in the Wall Street Journal, these employer-sponsored disability programs reduce company costs and boost productivity. The Return to Work service offers a guide to employers on how to set up a Return to Work program, lists supposed benefits to employers for implementation and attempts to respond to employer and employee concerns. According to the press release, many companies disagree with Prudential’s program evaluation; they worry that the Return to Work program will not be a cost-effective system and that it could incite negative reactions among employees.
Even though the Return to Work service offers few (if any) benefits to the employer, the financial incentive for the disability insurer is substantial. If Prudential can get people who are disabled to go back to work, it will not have to pay disability benefits any more—that’s money back in the insurer’s pocket.
Doctors seem to agree that returning to work can boost a disabled person’s morale. However, not every disabled professional will be fortunate enough to work again, and those who are in a position to return should not feel pressured by their employer, but should proceed with caution. Disability insurance companies, like Prudential, have financial incentives that often are not in alignment with your best interests. Unfortunately, Prudential’s Return to Work service may be just another example of how an insurance company puts its own financial considerations ahead of the needs of disabled persons. For more information about the financial incentives that disability insurance companies have to deny disability claims, check out our previous blog post.