Many people have had to learn the hard way that losing income because of an unexpected illness or injury could put their family at the brink of financial hardship. Fortunately, today a growing number of consumers are covered by disability income insurance, which provides people with income should they become sick or injured and unable to work. Individuals can purchase policies directly from an insurance company, or they can participate in a group plan sponsored by their employer, which may pay all or part of the premium.
Those who think disability only happens to someone else should think again. According to the Individual Insurance Tables compiled by the nation's state insurance commissioners, 35-year-old individuals are six times more likely to become disabled and lose a source of income than they are to die before reaching age 65. And research shows that women face a higher risk of disabling illness than men, but are less likely to have insurance protection.
Most states mandate that employers provide workers' compensation insurance for a disability that occurs on the job, but that's the catch: if the disability isn't job-related, no benefits are paid. And the Social Security Administration provides disability income for certain workers who qualify, but the benefits are modest and generally payable only six months after the disabling event. In short, workers' compensation and government-sponsored programs offer limited benefits to a limited number of people, and they are no substitute for private disability income protection.
For a free guide to understanding the financial risks associated with disability, call the Health Insurance Association of America toll-free at 1-866-872-3434 (866-USA-DIDI), or visit www.hiaa.org.
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