Disability insurance benefits for nurses help you protect your income in case a temporary or permanent medical condition prevents you from working.

Skilled nursing requires a significant investment in education and career development. In return, you may earn a relatively high income. A policy helps you make student loan payments and other ongoing expenses in the event you are unable to work.

You may need help choosing between short and long-term policies. It is difficult to determine which option meets your needs. Find the ideal choice for your nursing occupation and personal situation in the text below.

Short-Term Disability for Nurses

Short-term disability insurance for nurses makes the most sense when a temporary medical condition could cause you to fall behind on regular bills. The coverage replaces a portion of income without an extended waiting period before claims payments begin.

Request a quote to buy a policy covering future needs. Brief elimination and benefit periods work the best for female professionals during her childbearing years and for those with little or no savings.

Maternity Leave

Only one type of short-term disability policy covering maternity leave is best for all kinds of nurses. The fact that you are an RN, LPN, PRN, practice, veterinary, anesthetist, traveling, or any other flavor of nurse does not matter.

You will want a policy that covers normal childbirth and has the shortest possible elimination period. Only one option addresses both of these key points for female nurses taking maternity leave.

  • Voluntary plans bought at the worksite meet both criteria
  • Individual coverage purchased directly does not cover normal childbirth
  • NSO group plans have at least a 30-day elimination period

Maternity leave is perhaps the one time you can justify carrying a second or supplemental plan in order to fill in these two gaps in your existing policy. Start the coverage prior to conception to avoid pre-existing condition exclusions.

Traveling Nurses

The best short-term disability option for traveling nurses is portable. Traveling nurses typically work 13-week periods in one area, and move around the country depending on where they find the best compensation and work environment.

Traveling nurses need coverage that remains in force as they move from job to job and location to location. This requirement eliminates group plans, which end when you separate from an employer.

  • Voluntary plans are direct-billed after you make premium payments for one month via payroll deduction
  • Individual policies begin with direct-billed premiums and continue thereafter
  • NSO group plans are portable as long as you remain actively at work

PRN Nurses

The best short-term disability alternative for PRN (Pro Re Nata) nurses allows for part-time status. PRN nurses work as needed with no fixed schedule. Many policies have a different average hour worked per week requirement.

  • Voluntary plans require a minimum of 20 hours worked per week
  • Individual policies have an array of different hours per week criteria
  • NSO plans require a minimum of 20 hours worked each week

Long-Term Disability for Nurses

Long-term disability insurance for nurses makes the most sense when permanent medical conditions may prevent you from earning a living in your chosen occupation. Those with advanced degrees, higher incomes, and fixed expenses for student loans find this option most suitable for their needs.

NSO Reviews

A quick review of the Nurse Service Organization (NSO) group disability income insurance plan can help you decide if this option fits your needs best. The NSO policy is a hybrid. It sits somewhere between short and long-term plan designs.

This chart compares the basic features of the three choices.

NSO Short-Term Long-Term
Elimination Period 30 Days 7 Days 60 Days
Benefit Period 2 – 5 Years 1 – 2 Years Age 65
Benefit Amount 60% 66% 66%
Exam Required Maybe No Yes

Nurse Practitioners

Long-term disability insurance for nurse practitioners makes sense because of the extensive medical training, licensing requirements, and relatively high incomes. This represents a big investment in one’s career.

  • Complete at least their master’s degree
  • Pass specific credentialing requirements to work in their field
  • Earn an average annual salary of $95,000

A policy helps nurse practitioners protect this investment. You may suffer a permanent illness that prevents you from performing the job you trained so hard to acquire. The coverage may replace a large portion of your annual salary until age 65.

Nurse Anesthetists

Long-term disability insurance for nurse anesthetists makes sense because of the educational, careers, and licensing investment, high annual salary, and the physical demands of the occupation.

Consider these investments and return for nurse anesthetists.

  • Education and career requirements include a bachelor’s degree, work experience as a critical care nurse, a master’s degree in anesthesia, and licensing certification.
  • The average annual salary is about $150,000.

A policy helps nurse anesthetists protect their incomes in case of a permanent injury. The job role requires you to spend much time on your feet and may require fast movements during emergencies, and the need to lift patients.

An injury to your feet, legs, arms, or hands could prevent you from performing in this high-paying occupation. Coverage with an own-occupation definition would be extremely important.

Source: NSO website