How Having a Chronic Illness Complicates Retirement

Retirement is something we all dream about. We often envision it as a well-deserved reward after a lifetime of hard work. We imagine it as a time of rest and relaxation, golden years of worry-free ease. The reality is far different for the majority of us. Studies show, for example, 23% of Americans have less…

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Earthquakes, Shooting Ranges and Employee Benefits Innovation

Inspiration for employee benefits research can come from unexpected places – like earthquakes and shooting ranges. In my work leading an innovation team, we use a variety of techniques to gain deeper insight into what an employee may experience while on disability leave or when enrolling in their benefits. Most absence and leave management companies…

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Hindsight is 20/20, Especially for Small Businesses

It has been a year of uncertainty across the United States and the world, and now more than ever, many small businesses are at risk. The number of small business owners had been steadily increasing in the United States, but after April, that number decreased drastically (yet with a partial rebound in May).1 Despite small…

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What Are Your Options When You Need to Take Care of Yourself or a Family Member?

FMLA, PFML, and Disability Insurance: What are your options when you need to take care of yourself or a family member? Caring for your health is tricky enough, but being a caregiver with a full-time job can strain your finances, job, and overall mental and physical wellbeing. A 2020 report from AARP states the number…

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Helping Employers Increase Participation in Voluntary Long-Term Disability Plans

Recently, I was on a call with a prospective client company’s human resource department along with representatives from a national employee benefits firm. The purpose of the call was a ‘finalist presentation’ for a voluntary Guaranteed Standard Issue (GSI) program for the executive class of employees. I provided the framework for an interesting ‘ask’ from…

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COVID-19 and the Social Security Administration

Though COVID-19 threatens everyone, the elderly face the greatest peril, including – possibly –the United States Social Security Administration. SSA turned 85 years old in August 2020, and it is time to check in on how the pandemic is affecting the department.   Social Security administers retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance, survivor, Supplemental Security Income…

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Your Benefits Enrollment Choices Can Strengthen Your Holistic Well-Being

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact millions of employees across the United States, nearly half of workers say open enrollment is more important this year. In fact, 75 percent of employees indicate there are benefits they are more interested in this year than last year, according to MetLife’s 2020 open enrollment survey.   There…

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Is a Tsunami of Disability Claims Approaching?

A Canadian-based employee assistance plan provider, Morneau Shepell, conducted a study in 2017 in partnership with The Globe and Mail to better understand the one in five residents who experience a mental health problem or illness within a given year. The results indicated that 72 percent of surveyed employees who reported mental health challenges to…

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Bipolar Disorder and SSDI

Bipolar disorder – sometimes known as “manic depression” – is a disorder of the brain. People with this disorder will often experience extreme shifts in levels of activity, mood and energy. Such extremes are referred to as manic and depressive episodes. Out of all bipolar disorder cases, 83% are classified as severe. Most cases of…

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Three Lessons I Learned Through Postpartum Depression

By Diane Russell, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy, Lincoln Financial Group If you have children, you know there’s no shortage of advice from family, friends and sometimes even strangers. Yet, mothers dealing with postpartum depression often feel like they have no one to talk to about what they’re going through. At least, that’s…

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Successful Return-to-Work Program Design for Behavioral Health Conditions (Part II)

Dan Jolivet described the importance of return-to-work programs for employees with behavioral health and substance abuse disorders in his first post along with two key elements associated with program success: a holistic approach and the services of a return-to-work consultant. In Jolivet’s second post, we consider the importance of stay-at-work services and program metrics.  …

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Successful Return-to-Work Program Design for Behavioral Health Conditions (Part I)

Prior to the pandemic, the United States saw a decades-long epidemic of “diseases of despair” with increasing rates of depression, suicide, addiction and overdose deaths. Mental health and substance use issues—and the economic and human costs of those conditions—were a focus for employers. Then came the pandemic. Rates of anxiety and depression tripled and remain…

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