Being a physician is a rewarding and demanding job. Disability can prevent a physician from practicing at full capacity. Many medical doctors who are too disabled to practice medicine want to continue to work and are still able to thrive in some non clinical careers. Information for physicians with disability This page provides information about how to proactively shop for physician disability insurance and how to navigate loan forgiveness, income replacement and employment options if you are a physician with a disability.
Physician disabilities include
Lower than baseline endurance for work during or after an illness such as cancer, stroke or heart attack
Physical disability, such as handicaps incurred from accidents and injuries
Chronic medical illness
Emotional or physiological overburden
If you have experienced these types of situations, there are a number of important resources and considerations for you. Loan forgiveness
If you have an educational loan, your disability may qualify you for loan forgiveness if you have certain impairments. You can learn if you qualify here.
The US Department of Education provides information about how to apply for educational loan forgiveness due to disabilityhere.
Income replacement If you are a disabled physician, you may need short term or long term income replacement. Income replacement may come from government benefits, from an insurance policy, or from modified work arrangements. Government disability benefits Disability coverage through government programs follows strict guidelines and may be affected by or may affect the amount of payment your receive from your disability insurance. How to apply for government benefits
Proof and evidence of disability Receiving disability benefits requires proof of disability. If you have a disability insurance policy, then your benefits are subject to the rules of your policy. You may also be entitled to social security disability benefits.
The documents that you submit must show evidence of disability, as described here.
How your assets affect your disability benefits If you have assets, this may impact whether you are eligible for government disability benefits. Find out which assets may be counted when your disability benefits are calculated here. Worker's compensation If you have had an injury at work that prevents you from working, you might be eligible for worker's compensation.
Physicians disability insurance Disability insurance for physicians includes short term and long term insurance. Short term insurance may be offered at a low rate or even for no cost by some employers. Long term insurance can be purchased through your employer or through an insurance company. Purchase of disability insurance is recommended for young, healthy people who can obtain insurance at lower costs and may be able to ‘lock in’ low premiums. Own occupation disability insurance/specialty specific disability insurance Physicians have specialty training and specialty specific certification. That is why it is recommended to obtain insurance that covers loss of income in case you experience a disability that prevents you from practicing your specialty. Residual disability If you are able to work with your disability, but receive a lower income than you could before you were disabled, you can still collect part of your lost income of you have residual disability coverage as part of your policy.
Getting quotes: Comparing quotes and policies may take hours, but it is well worth it in the long run.
Work opportunities for physicians with disability If you are a physician with a disability, you might still want to work, even if you cannot continue to practice medicine in your specialty. There are opportunities that do not require on-call responsibilities or long hours, and offer flexible schedules. If you can maintain your license and board certification, these are advantageous. Work from home jobs These include full time jobs or contract only jobs
Modified clinical work These options allow you to practice medicine, and may offer shift schedules, flexible hours, and less on-call responsibility. When cutting back on work, physicians with disability must pay attention to maintaining medical license requirements and maintenance of certification.