When the time comes, many workers are surprised by the realities of ending or putting a career on hold due to a long-term disability (LTD). Surveys suggest that Americans have a limited understanding of LTD and the need for insuring against it.
As a result, many workers need help with the decision of whether to invest in the insurance or opt in when an employer offers it, as well as what kind to get and how much to pay. And when a disability means they need the insurance, they often urgently need expert advice to make the insurer meet its responsibilities.
Long-term disability is surprisingly common
About one in four workers become unable to work due to a disability. The Unum insurance company reports that about one-third of their LTD recipients are under 40 years old.
But when the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) asked workers under 40 whether disability or winning a huge lottery jackpot was more likely, about 20% thought the jackpot was likelier. The actual odds are about one in 259 million.
Personal savings usually aren’t enough
Half of survey respondents said they’d use their savings or investments to pay their finances if they were unable to work, and more than half believed they had enough money to last them 6 or fewer months.
But the average LTD is an absence of almost three years (34.6 months), according to the CDA.
Workers’ compensation covers very few disabilities
Job-related injuries or illnesses generally should be covered by workers’ compensation to replace lost income and pay for medical bills. But job-related injuries or illnesses are less than 5% of all the disabilities that cause workers to lose work. In other words, if your career is interrupted or ended by health problems, workers’ comp is very unlikely to help you because your disability is very unlikely to be job-related.
Advice on long-term disability claims
A knowledge gap puts consumers at a disadvantage in handling setbacks with a LTD claim. An attorney experienced with LTD can help even the odds. When you file a claim, it often comes as a shock when the insurer denies your claim or stops paying before you’re able to resume work. But insurance companies have excellent statistics and many of the most talented statistics experts alive.