Many counselors and therapists are self-employed. As such, professionals in these arenas earn money when working. If a counselor or therapist becomes ill and needs to take sick days off, a very real issue with earning income can arise. There are some strategies to bear in mind that aid in handling a loss of income due to the need to take sick days off from work.
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If a person is going to be independent or self-employed in any capacity, including as a counselor, planning ahead is vital. A counselor or therapist needs to be prepared for the inevitability of needing to take time off due to illness.
At the heart of planning ahead for the prospect of time off due to illness, a counselor needs to establish a cash fund that he or she can draw on during a time period when that individual is unable to work.
Have a Backup Plan for Clients
On a related note, a counselor needs to make sure that there is a backup plan in place to meet the needs of clients when a professional is unable to work because of illness. If a counselor will only be off work for a couple of days, clients slated to meet with the professional typically can be rescheduled.
If the time off for illness may be a bit longer, a counselor is likely wise to arrange for a backup professional to be available to meet with clients if necessary. There may be a client emergency. There may also be clients who are best served by having at least someone to professionally touch base with during a counselor’s temporary absence from work due to illness.
Some counselors have started to use technology like Skype to remain in contact with clients when out ill. While a Skype connection doesn’t replace a regular appointment with a client, it can be helpful to maintain contact when a counselor has taken ill.
In some cases, a counselor ends up with a more significant illness or condition that will prevent working for a more extended period of time. As a result, a self-employed individual like a counselor or therapist is wise to have disability insurance, according to Forbes.
Disability insurance is designed to provide coverage during at least part of a time period in which an individual is unable to work. Bear in mind that a typical disability insurance policy doesn’t “kick in” immediately. Rather, there will be a “waiting period” of 30 to 60 days from the onset of a debilitation condition that keeps a counselor from working.
A disability policy typically doesn’t provide full compensation for lost income. Rather, a standard disability policy provides compensation for the lost income of a self-employed professional like a counselor in the amount of about 60% of actual earnings.
One strategy a self-employed counselor or therapist can employ to enhance financial protection in the event of illness is to become involved in a professional association. A professional association oftentimes makes available to members such things as affordable disability insurance and other resources that can be helpful in the event a counselor or therapist needs to take time off due to illness.