Why Devote a Month to Disability Insurance Awareness?
our most important asset is not your home, your car, your jewelry or other possessions. It’s your ability to earn a living. Think about it: All of your plans for the future—from buying a home, to putting your kids through college, to building a retirement nest egg—are based on the assumption you’ll continue to earn a paycheck until you retire. But what would happen if those paychecks stopped? That’s where disability insurance comes in. It provides an income to you and your family if you are unable to work because of illness or injury.
Though disability is behind a significant number of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, insuring against it has not been a high priority for most workers because many assume they’re already covered through Social Security, state-mandated Workers’ Compensation or employer-provided group plans. However, there are numerous holes in this safety net of coverage.
Know that about 45% of those who initially apply for disability benefits through Social Security are initially denied, and those who are approved get an average benefit of just $1,063 monthly—hardly enough to replace the average worker’s income. Workers’ Compensation covers only work-related disabilities, but according to the National Safety Council, 73% of disabling accidents and illnesses aren’t work-related. And what about coverage through work? It’s a great employee benefit, but it’s not available to many workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 70% of employers do not offer long-term disability coverage.
So what’s a worker to do? Explore your options and learn more about disability insurance. If your employer offers disability coverage, take the time to find out if the coverage would be sufficient to meet your income replacement needs in the event of a disabling illness or accident. If it’s insufficient, your employer may offer you the option to increase your disability benefit, often through a voluntary payroll deduction. Another option is to purchase coverage on your own.
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM), the perfect time for a disability insurance “reality check.” Take this opportunity to make sure you’d be OK financially in the event that a disability keeps you out of work for an extended period of time.