We have handled the long term disability needs of professors from many prestigious educational institutions with various areas of expertise. Examples of common disability issues that our firm has handled for our clients include: musculoskeletal injuries to the cervical/lumbar spine and lower extremities precluding the ability to stand/walk for prolonged periods; cognitive deficits, fatigue, and systemic pain due to autoimmune diseases limiting the ability to sustain attention/concentration, process information efficiently, or work a 8 hour workday; mental illnesses that limit the ability to interact with others.
Occupational Duties of Professors
The occupation of a Professor at a college or university is identified as a light occupation by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (4th ed.) (“DOT”) published by the U.S. Department of Labor under code 090.227-010, which requires a significant amount of standing/walking.
The DOT further details the occupational requirements for Professors, including: prepare and deliver lectures to students in one or more subject matters; initiate class discussions; create, administer, and grade assignments and examinations; conduct research and prepare written materials in the area of expertise for publication; advise students in academic and vocational matters; serve as a faculty committee and/or advisor to student organizations.
The specific duties of a professor vary according to his/her faculty rank at the educational institution. For example, the Occupational Information Network (“O*NET”), an on-line database developed under the sponsorship of the DOL, identifies the occupation of a Professor under many codes according to his/her expertise. Click here for an index of examples.
Disability Challenges of the Occupation
Insurers focus heavily on physicality of a Professor’s occupation, particularly the stand/walk requirement. While standing/walking are certainly significant requirements, focusing only on those requirement does not fully assess other significant requirements that may prevent you from working. You must, therefore, educate the insurers regarding the critical occupational demands that are often overlooked, such as the cognitive demands required by the occupation.
For example, Professors often interact with students and other faculty members on a daily basis. Professors must retain the ability to sustain attention and concentration for prolonged periods to efficiently prepare and deliver lectures, initiate class discussions, and conduct research to publish written work in their area of expertise.