Do I Really need Disability Insurance Coverage?

Many individuals struggle to understand what disability insurance covers. There are two basic forms of disability insurance, short-term and long-term disability. Short-term as its name implies is for a short period of time usually less than a year. Group short-term disability is more prevalent in the work place than long-term. One of the failures that individuals make is assuming that their policy covers 100% of their income. The policy usually covers up to 66 2/3%, it may be only be 50% for 13 weeks only. (Check your employee handbook) Uncle Sam allows you to get the benefit tax free, but you cannot get more in benefit than your pre-tax salary. It is very important that people read their employee benefits carefully.

The two main definitions used to define if benefits under a disability insurance policy are paid include own occupation and any occupation. Own occupation disability means you are unable to perform the substantial duties of your current position in a nutshell. Any occupation includes the duties of a job that you have been trained for through education, training, or experience.

Individual disability policies cover a percentage of your income based on your occupation, the hazard of your responsibilities, and your income. The elimination periods for disability policies usually range from 30-365 days. If you become sick or disabled, exceed the elimination period, and become certified by a physician as unable to work, you may receive a tax free benefit except in rare cases (your employer pays for the policy). The policy is coordinated with any group disability benefits you may be receiving as well as Social Security Disability Insurance if you qualify.

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