It’s hard to find a less exciting topic than Disability Insurance Awareness Month—even Pickle Month sounds cooler. However, failing to celebrate Pickle Month isn’t going to ruin you financially. But failing to plan for a possible future disability just might—dare we say it?—put you in a pickle.
Make a plan
Now that we’ve gotten the obligatory bad joke out of the way, here are some solid reasons why you should take the time to make sure you’re covered in case of a disability.
“Paycheck insurance” is important because for most of us, our ability to earn a living is the most valuable thing we have. If you’re independently wealthy, great! For the rest of us, there’s disability insurance. Ask yourself this: How long could you and your family survive if you suddenly had no paycheck coming in? Do the math. How long would it take before you would need to sell your vehicle, downsize to a small apartment, and begin collecting recipes for beans and rice? How fond are you of being able to pay your utilities on time?
Your employer may offer some disability insurance; if you don’t know, ask. Find out how long you’d be covered, how long you’d need to wait before coverage kicks in, and how much your payments would be. Keep in mind that if your job ends, so does that coverage.
If your disability is directly related to a work injury, workers compensation may kick in, but if the disability is unrelated to a workplace injury, workers compensation won’t cover you. Social Security is a possibility, but it’s notoriously difficult to qualify, and even if you do qualify, payments will keep you near the poverty line.
Private disability insurance
That leaves private disability insurance, which, at least for young and healthy workers, may cost less than you think. And, it’s portable—regardless of whether you change jobs (or worse, are laid off), you take your coverage with you.
Disability is more common than you think
With nearly half of all 40-year-olds facing a long-term disability before age 65, insuring your ability to take care of yourself (and your family if you have one) just makes sense. Just as with any other form of insurance, options abound, including choices as to the elimination period (how long you must be disabled before you start receiving benefits), the benefit period (the period of time over which you would be able to receive benefits), and the monthly benefit amount. Your insurance agent can help you decide which options make the most sense for you. Need to find an agent near you? Click here.
Now, about those pickles…
Now that you feel better about your financial future, you can move on to the next big issue. How will you celebrate National Pickle Month in July?