Most of us don’t really like to think about events like disabling illness or injury. Let’s face it, who wants to think about such bad things? However, we all owe it to ourselves and our families to take a little bit of time out of our busy lives to think about what we would do should a “what if” scenario occur. We all need to determine what resources we would have to keep paying our bills and maintaining our lifestyles.
Disability insurance can come in 3 forms:
- Government-sponsored programs like workman’s compensation or Social Security Disability Insurance;
- Private employer-sponsored group disability plans that may cover short-term, long-term, or a combination of coverage; and
- Private individual disability income policies that guarantee income when there isn’t enough coverage from employer or government sponsored programs.
How many of us know exactly where we stand in terms of benefits should a disabling event occur? We can all look at our Social Security statements to see what monthly disability income we would get. For most of us, this amount would not cover all of our normal expenditures.
If you are employed, check with your employer to see if you have disability income coverage. If you do, find out:
- What benefits would be available to you
- How long after the start of a disability you would have to wait before benefits begin
- How long payments would continue
- If your employer’s plan takes other disability coverage (such as government programs) into account
- If your long-term disability benefit is subject to a maximum amount you can receive
You can find most of the answers by asking for a booklet describing the disability coverage your company offers.
These resources that can help you determine how much coverage you have and whether you need additional coverage:
- A Guide to Disability Income Insurance
- IRS: Life Insurance & Disability Insurance Proceeds
- Long Term Disability Income Insurance
- Social Security Disability Planner
- USA.gov FAQ on Disability Insurance
The other thing to keep in mind, it may take a while for disability insurance to begin. You should always have some money saved for emergencies.