When a disability leaves you unable to work for an extended length of time, you lose the ability to earn an income- the one thing you’ve always relied on to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Meanwhile, your living expenses continue-in fact, they’re likely to increase for a number of reasons. You could need help around the house or have higher medical expenses, for example. That’s where disability income insurance (DI) comes in. It’s designed to help you maintain your standard of living when you cannot work in your occupation. If you don’t have much in the way of assets for a financial cushion, you need enough to cover costs and supplement your income until you can go back to work.
Disability income insurance is needed by just about everyone who earns a living. Surprisingly, single people often need it more than married couples because they don’t have a spouse’s income to fall back on if they are injured or become too sick to work. On the other hand, most married people have a hard time imagining what it would be like to live on one salary when they barely get by on two. And unfortunately, disability strikes more often than you may think.
What is the definition of disability?
Disability is considered either “Own Occupation,” which is generally defined as the inability to perform the material and substantial duties of your own specific occupation, or “Any Occupation,” which is often described as the inability to perform the duties of any job for which your education and training qualify you.
How much is the benefit?
Most policies have a fixed monthly benefit. Although the benefit doesn’t increase over time, you can usually apply to purchase a cost of living adjustment rider.
When do I receive the first benefit?
There is a waiting period between the time you become disabled and the time when benefits are payable. Waiting periods can range from one week to two years. In general, the longer the waiting period, the less the policy costs.
How long will the benefits last?
The benefit period, which is how long you receive monthly benefits, can range from six months to the rest of your life, depending on what your company offers and the choices you make.
When selecting a Disability Income Policy, it’s important you thoroughly research the policy language and the resulting benefits.
Disability income products underwritten and issued by Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, MA, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. Product provisions and availability may vary by state.