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Principal Life's Return-To-Work services are designed with one purpose – to help employees with disabilities return to the work force. On average, 57% of claimants receiving our rehabilitation services return to work.

In a recent survey1 88.7% of employers were extremely or very satisfied with Principal Life as a disability insurance provider.

Full-Service Programs

Principal Life has several Return-to-Work full-service programs, including:

  • Disability case management – We review each case early in the employee’s disability to identify options and assist in developing return-to-work programs. It's a collaborative process that includes:
    • Assessment
    • Planning
    • Facilitation
    • Advocacy for different options and services to help meet individuals' overall needs

We use a variety of resources to promote high-quality, cost-effective results.

  • Skills assessment – Our vocational consultants evaluate the activities employees are able to proficiently perform to help them determine transferability to another job or occupation. These skills are normally acquired through education, work experience and job training. They can also be the result of abilities employees have had for years. Skills can be learned or the result of natural abilities and talents, or having a special "know how" or "knack."
  • Vocational case management – We help claimants with a variety of impairments/health conditions overcome barriers in order to return to their current job or another occupation. Rather than only treat the illness or injury, our goal is to help people retain or regain the ability to work. Working or doing other meaningful activity does have health benefits for individuals, and can help in their recovery.
  • Job analysis and modification – We examine the following:
    • Tasks (performance elements) of the job
    • Conditions under which the tasks are performed
    • Job requirements, including aptitudes, attitudes, knowledge and skills

Our goal is to:

  • Obtain a clear understanding of the job
  • Evaluate possible modifications to facilitate a return to work
  • Collaborate with the employer to safely return an employee to work as early as possible
  • Allow the employer to retain a valued employee while minimizing costs related to absenteeism

The first step is to study the organization itself to get a thorough understanding of the job. This leads to development of the job description and then job specification.

  • Job placement/outplacement services – After reaching medical stability, if the claimant isn't able to return to work at his/her employer in the same capacity, we offer other services to assist the claimant in returning to work. These services may include, but are not limited to:
    • Resume preparation
    • Job counseling
    • Interview preparation
    • Accommodation assistance
    • Internet job search
  • Counseling – We help individuals determine a career path and steps necessary to achieve their career goals through a variety of tools which may include interest inventories, career exploration, and training programs that identify career paths. We work with the individual to strategize on how to find a job once the best career path is determined.
  • Onsite visits – During on-site visits, the rehabilitation consultant, nurse, claim analyst or a vendor can gather important information about the claimant's:
    • Vocational skills and potential to return to work
    • Current medical status including, but not limited to treatment and medical providers
    • Background such as educational and work history
    • Skills, interests, hobbies and barriers
    • Additional income information if they are receiving any
Visits also allow claimants to ask questions about claim administration or address other concerns.

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Work Incentive Benefits

Sometimes employees coping with a disability can continue to work during their recovery with simple changes such as job modifications or shortened work days. These types of options could allow the employee to return to work earlier. In these cases, Principal Life offers the work incentive benefit. Designed to allow employees who work during a disability to earn up to 100% of their pre-disability income, it's a program that benefits both employers and employees in short and long-term disability situations.

To learn more about the work incentive benefit, read about our short-term disability (STD) coverage (PDF: 162KB) and this flier about long-term disability (LTD) coverage. (PDF: 152KB)

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When you hear "accommodations" you may think of permanent job changes. This is not necessarily the case. An accommodation can mean several things and is not always permanent. Accommodations can include:

  • Reduced work schedules – These allow employees to return to work part time, gradually increasing their hours to full time over a specific time period.
  • Flexible work schedules – Flexibility allows someone to come in later, earlier or to take longer mid-day breaks than the typical 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule. This can allow an employee time for medical appointments, therapy appointments or simply a resting period.
  • Equipment/worksite accommodations – Desks, chairs, keyboards, foot stools and adaptive computer software are just a few examples of equipment that can make the difference in allowing an employee to remain at or return to work.
  • Remote work site – Can an employee's job be performed from home or an office that is closer to home if a lengthy commute is problematic? Although transportation to and from work does not qualify for disability benefits, a shorter commute can help reduce or eliminate stress from an employee's recovery.
  • Job duty accommodations – Can another employee handle job duties that would allow the employee to stay at work or return from disability earlier? Can heavier items be separated into smaller, more manageable weights? Is there equipment that can make the job duty more manageable?

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1Gen Re, a nationally recognized industry leader in disability insurance research and consulting, surveyed a random sample of employers in 2010 on satisfaction levels with various disability insurance carriers.

This is an overview of disability coverage offered by Principal Life. It is not an insurance contract or a complete statement of its provisions. If any provision presented here is found to be in conflict with federal or state law, that provision will be applied to comply with federal or state law. The group policy determines all rights, benefits, exclusions and limitations of the insurance described here.
EC 3857B - 12/2011
Content Last Updated: 12/12/2011

Customer Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction

How much do you know about disability? Take this short quiz.

How much do you know about disability quiz

Learn more about our customer satisfaction. (PDF: 137KB)

Customer satisfaction

Have a question? Call us at 1.800.986.3343

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