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What is Disability Insurance?

Disability insurance provides replacement of some of your income if you get injured and can’t work. Disability insurance is either “short-term”, covering periods from a few months to a few years, or “long-term”, providing multi-year or lifetime coverage. You can choose coverage length that best fits your needs, and some people buy both short-term and long-term disability coverage.

Where can I buy disability insurance?

Long-term Disability insurance can be acquired through your employer or directly through a number of insurance carriers. If you can’t get long-term disability insurance through your employer, national insurance carriers will typically provide you with an individual policy.

Short Term Disability Insurance, on the other hand, is only available from your employer. Your employer’s human resource department can notify you whether or not short-term disability policies are provided by your company.

When am I considered disabled?

The definition of “disability” varies by plan. Disability could be defined as sickness or impairment that leaves you unable to fulfill your career responsibilities, but it could also be defined as being unable to fulfill obligations of any career, taking into account your personal background such as training, education, and experience.

Disability policies may include restrictions for specific disabilities or pre-existing conditions. Policy benefits vary, so contact your benefits administrator or insurance carrier to get the details of your plan.

When will benefits start?

Once disability is confirmed after a plan-specific period of waiting time, benefit payments can begin. Short-term disability plans typically start quickly and provide coverage of up to 180 days. The most frequent waiting period for long term disability plans is 90 to 180 days.

How long will benefits be paid?

The maximum duration of disability benefits and insurance income varies by plan. As long as you maintain disability status, you can receive disability payment for the duration of your benefit period.

The shorter your benefit period, typically the lower your premiums are. The most common benefit periods are two years, five years, or to age 65.

How much disability insurance do I need?

A disability plan that covers a minimum of 60 percent of your after-tax income is typically suggested. To obtain an estimate of the benefit you might need, you should calculate the monthly income you would require to pay for your living expenses.

What additional benefits are available?

Individuals who have a disability that is anticipated to last at least one year may have access to Social Security disability benefits. The disability benefits from Social Security are not intended for temporary medical conditions and may have additional eligibility requirements.

What if I need to file a claim?

To file a disability claim your treatment provider will need to give you written proof of disability. Medical documents that contain specific information regarding your disability may also need to be provided. Additionally, your provider might want to examine your themselves.

If you and others depend on your income

Disability insurance is important if you or other people (like your family) rely on your income. Social Security disability benefits can help in the long run, but aren’t available unless your disability affects you for more than a year.

A good rule of thumb is to protect 60-80% of your after-tax income

You should look for a disability policy that will cover all of your essential costs of living, which is usually 60% or more of your after-tax (not your gross) income. Social Security payments alone may not be enough to support you.

Find out how much disability insurance you get at work

Both Short Term and Long Term Disability insurance coverage may be offered through the benefit package your employer provides. If disability insurance is provided, you should examine your plan to find what the disabled benefits are and when they can be used.

You need it even if you’re young and healthy

Twenty-five percent of 20 year-olds will experience disability before the age of 67. Disability insurance costs less and is easier to acquire if you are young, healthy and working.

Consult a financial professional or do your own online research to determine how much disability insurance you might need.

The financial strength of the insurance company you buy from matters

Disability insurance policies are long-term contracts between you and your insurance provider, so ensuring the financial health and stability of your insurer is crucial. Most insurers are rated by A.M. Best or other national services and you can find that information online.

What Alternatives to short-term disability insurance?

Short Term Disability Insurance can only be provided by an employer. If you can’t get a Short Term Disability Plan, an emergency savings fund that contains between three to six months salary is the best substitute.

Where do I buy disability insurance?

Long-term Disability insurance can be acquired through your employer or directly through a number of insurance carriers. If you can’t get long term insurance through your employer, national insurance carriers will typically provide you with an individual policy.

Short-term Disability Insurance, on the other hand, is only available from your employer. Your employer’s human resource department can notify you whether or not short-term disability policies are provided by your company.

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