Long-Term Disability Insurance – an Important Policy to Carry
You should consider purchasing a long-term disability insurance policy.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach
Employers as well as employees pay into the Social Security Disability fund through their taxes. According to the National Association of Social Insurance (NASI), the Social Security tax is 6.2 percent of non-contract (freelance) employees, making up to $127,200 in 2017. This income cap increases and decreases as income levels fluctuate. According to NASI, 8.8 million disabled workers were receiving benefits in July of 2017.
This may seem a staggering number, but incurring a disability while of working age is more common than one may think.
One in four workers at age 20 today will be disabled while of working age throughout his career. Because of this, carrying disability insurance can be as important as life insurance. If a person has paid into the Social Security fund over his career, he will be entitled to disability insurance benefits, but the application process is not an easy one and many deserving patients are declined. Additionally, the average monthly benefit is roughly only $1,197 in 2018.
This is why carrying a private disability insurance plan could be a good idea.
Many employers may offer sick leave or short-term coverage to temporarily reimburse employees who are injured, but these benefits are unlikely to extend to long-term or permanent disabilities. Even if your employer offers a long-term disability plan, these are unlikely to cover more than 60 percent of your salary. Additionally, this pay is considered income, making SSDI benefits lower than they would otherwise be.
Buying a disability insurance plan is similar to purchasing any other insurance plan.
Reading the fine print and being aware that older people or smokers may be charged more, are important things to keep in mind before buying. Speaking with a Social Security Disability lawyer is a worthwhile idea as well.
If you have been denied disability benefits don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
Many insurers offer a variety of long-term disability plans and there are several key points to keep in mind when choosing which plan is right for you.
First, you need to establish how much of your income you will need to replace should you become disabled.
The maximum benefit you can typical receive is 60-70% of your current earnings. Bear in mind that LTD claims can take a long time to be resolved so you should have plenty of savings to cover costs while you wait. Retaining a dedicated long-term disability attorney well versed in ERISA law may help expedite the process and will likely increase your chances of success.
Second, it is wise to purchase an “own occupation” plan.
These policies pay if you can no longer perform the duties of your current job as opposed to an “any occupation” plan which will only pay if you cannot do any job that is suitable to your training and experience.
Third, the plan should be noncancelable.
This means the insurer cannot cancel the policy as long as you continue to make payments and they cannot change the terms of the policy including the amount of the premiums. If you initiate the policy while you are young and healthy you can retain that cheaper cost even as you grow older.
Fourth, you need to examine the elimination period of the plan.
This is the time period from the date you initially become disabled and can no longer perform your job, until the day the plan will actually start sending you payments. A short-term disability plan can help bridge the gap and it would be wise to maintain a level of savings to sustain you during this period as well. Something to consider is that plans with shorter elimination periods (less than 90 days) can be more expensive.
Fifth, how long will the policy pay benefits?
Some plans will only supply benefits for two years while others will pay you until you reach 67 years of age. A 5-year policy is typically considered a good value but hopefully you can afford a plan that pays you for a much greater period of time.
Sixth, does the plan have a residual benefits option.
This will still pay partial benefits even if you can return to working part time. Some plans will only pay this if you initially become totally incapacitated before transitioning to being considered partially disabled.
Seventh, some plans have a cost of living adjustment and a future increase option.
This is helpful due to the rising costs of typical economic inflation and the possibility of your income increasing as well as your needs growing as you get older.
Finally, some plans have an unemployment waiver option.
This allows you to skip payments if you become unemployed so you don’t lose your LTD coverage until you find another job.
The purchase of a long-term disability plan from a company such as Unum, Prudential, Aetna, Cigna, or The Standard, along with (potential) income from Social Security benefits, can help protect you and your family in the event of an unexpected financial challenge.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach has been practicing law for over 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Roach obtained board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lonnie is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Highly experienced in Long Term Disability denials and appeals governed by the “ERISA” Mr. Roach is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Austin Bar Association, and is a past the director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association (Director 1999-2005) Mr. Roach and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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