Disability Insurance Attorney Representing IT/Information Technology Directors, IT Vice Presidents, Technology Professionals, Programmers, Software Developers

IT professionals often have individual private disability insurance policies as well as employer-paid or group disability insurance policies or government employer-paid disability policies. Jason Newfield has represented many IT professionals, from Chief Information Technology officers in large corporations to IT Directors in nonprofits, with their disability insurance claims. 

A Chief Information Officer is responsible for developing and executing an organization’s technology, including managing budgets, purchasing hardware and software, overseeing IT staff, and managing the integration of every device, from massive server arrays to cell phones and everything in between.

The scope of the CIT’s job requires engineering skills, staying up to date with systems and products that change at a rapid pace to meet the organization’s goals. Today’s corporation requires a CIT to have high executive functions, being able to retain complex information and make informed decisions. 

In a smaller company or nonprofit, the IT Director is responsible for the same number of tasks as their counterpart in a big corporation, but on a smaller scale. The IT Director may also find themselves needing physical strength to move equipment, supervise wiring and other similar projects. 

IT interfaces with all facets of an organization, from the products or services being provided to the accounting department, distribution, sales, and marketing. When it works, it’s seamless and no one notices. When anything goes wrong, IT can shut down a company in a matter of minutes. The IT professional is critical to the successful operations of any sized organization.

Tech Professionals include:

  • Support Specialist
  • Website Developer
  • Applications Engineer
  • Cloud Systems Engineer
  • IT Coordinator
  • Network Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Database Administrator
  • Management Systems Director
  • Web Administrators

When disability strikes a tech professional, they faces challenges on several levels:

Inaccurate understanding of tech professionals’ occupations

For more than two decades, Jason Newfield has witnessed disability insurance companies using outdated occupational reference sources to wrongfully describe the tasks and duties of a profession. With tech workers, whose jobs didn’t exist twenty years ago, this becomes even more egregious. 

A software engineer suffering from vision issues created and aggravated by using a computer monitor for lengthy periods of time may be described as having a “light duty” or “sedentary” job. A disability claim denial based on their not needing to perform heavy lifting would be typical for a disability insurance company seeking to deny a claim. The fact that a software engineer never needs to do any heavy lifting doesn’t mean they are able to work if their vision is impaired.

Orthopedic and Musculoskeletal Disabilities 

In a similar scenario, a disability insurance company that relies upon outdated vocational resources could determine that an IT Director with a spinal injury could simply work from home to manage systems remotely. While remote work can happen if needed, managing large systems without being on site is typically frowned upon by upper management.

A severe spinal injury could make it impossible for an IT Director to perform their duties if they need to sit or stand at a work station, move equipment, travel to other offices or production facilities. 

Cognitive Disabilities

The precision work done by software engineers, IT directors and tech staff requires extremely focused, high level executive functioning. They manage information about a myriad of systems and software at the same time. For example, they may need to know about accounting and programming, even if their job has nothing to do with accounting, because the accounting systems must work for the accountants as well as being integrated with the rest of the organization’s technology. 

Tech professionals deal with an above-average stress levels based on the precision work they do, along with being available 24/7 so the company and its employees can continue to perform their jobs. A person with a sleep disorder will have their cognitive skills diminished by lack of sleep, which is cumulative and will eventually lead to their inability to function.

Getting the Tech Professional Past the Obstacles Presented by Disability Insurance Company

Some might think there is no physical aspect to a tech occupation so a technology professional could not possibly be physically disabled. But IT professionals, including programmers, are often disabled for the following reasons:

Visual Issues

Working on a computer screen for an extended period of time can lead to vision problems that are not always alleviated by taking a break.  

The muscles surrounding the eyeball can become extremely strained to the point where the worker sustains severe headaches or has vision field problems.

Computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of eye and vision problems caused by computer use over an extended period of time. 

Musculoskeletal Disabilities 

People who use computers for prolonged periods are vulnerable to head and neck injuries. While a better chair or adjustable height for a monitor may help, when the injury is so severe, it may not be possible to return to working at previous performance levels.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This is a common disability for programmers in particular, whether they are sitting in front of a screen or using a standing desk. Some CTS can be resolved with surgery, but surgery is not always successful. When the pain from CTS is so great that the person cannot type, they cannot continue to work.  There is as yet no user-brain interface system to permit programmers to code without using their fingers, hands, forearms, shoulders, etc.

Mental Acuity

To succeed in their position, software programmers require a tremendous amount of concentration, including critical thinking, the ability to solve complex problems and effectively communicate their solutions to others, both in “tech talk” and plain English. These tasks require a tremendous amount of concentration and intellectual capacity. 

Mental Capacity

Often times, the stress and pressures involved cause anxiety, or depression, or these underlying conditions manifest further due to stress, whether from work or otherwise. The concentration needed cannot be gathered due to the underlying problems, making the tech employee unable to perform their high level work. 

What Does It Take to Win a Disability Claim for the Tech Professional? 

 An experienced disability insurance attorney understands what the tech professional is up against when they file a claim for disability. Jason Newfield has worked with many, including programmers, designers, and other personnel who have not been able to work and whose claims have been denied. Based on his experience, he focuses on several aspects:

Strong medical evidence: The claim file must be loaded with hard objective evidence of the claimant’s disability. This may include cognitive evaluations, x-rays and other digital images, blood work, visual evaluations and more. There are certain tests that serve as “gold standards” for the high functioning tech worker, and Mr. Newfield knows the best expert sources to provide this evidence.

Accurate occupational information: Regardless of the disability insurance company’s inaccurate assessment of the worker’s job, Newfield Law Group gathers the correct information with great detail on the specific tasks and duties as well as what the person is now unable to do as a result of their injury or illness.

Managing the claim: Jason Newfield has worked with many tech professionals who are tripped up by the insurance company’s process. Like many other highly intelligent professionals, the usual response to being asked to provide information online is to simply send the information and assume the company will do its due diligence and do the right thing. Disability insurance companies, however, don’t operate this way.

Call our office to learn how we can help.

Jason Newfield offers a free telephone consultation to evaluate your claim. The call is free, there is no obligation. We encourage you not to delay calling, as there are time limits to appealing a denied claim. He has worked with many tech professionals and will be able to provide insight into your claim and what you can expect from your disability insurance company.  Do not do this on your own.

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