How to Apply For Disability
It’s all in the Details
If you want to be in charge of your life story, don’t let someone else hold the pen. Know how to apply for disability.
More cautionary than carpe diem, this adage urges the reluctant grown-up in all of us to prepare for the unexpected, especially when it comes to disability insurance. According to CBS Money Watch, only about 40 percent of people purchase disability insurance versus the 70 percent buying life insurance. While death is certain and the prospect of a disability is not, it’s an essential safeguard against lost wages — and a loss of one’s health. While your job may not require you to dangle from high tension wires, you’re engaging in risky business without it.
How to Apply for Disability
Learn the lingo
The first step in avoiding a high-voltage disaster is to polish up your policy knowledge:
- Short Term Disability: If you’re unable to work for a short time due to childbirth, illness or an accident, short term disability provides you with a predictable standard of living during an unpredictable period of your life. Depending on the policy you choose, salary benefits and rehabilitation/dependent care benefits can bring budget relief and peace of mind.
- Long Term Disability: If you’re unable to work for a longer period of time due to injury or illness, long term disability replaces a portion of your income during an extended leave from your job. Monthly payment benefits and medical benefits offset the cost of rehabilitation, workplace modifications and dependent care, depending on the policy you choose.*
So how much do policies cover? Realistically, most policies cover between 50-70 percent of your income. Typically, insurance companies cap this amount to encourage policy holders to return to work as soon as they’re capable.
Explore employer-sponsored policies
Many employers offer coverage to employees as a benefit, so explore this option before purchasing a private policy. Interestingly, disability insurance is an oft-overlooked workplace benefit. In 2014, Forbes contributor Ashlea Ebeling reported that the number of insured employees decreased in the U.S. by 1.5%, despite employers’ increased efforts to provide group coverage.
Mind the gaps
If you do buy into an employer-sponsored policy, be certain that the coverage provided is sufficient. And if it’s not, consider purchasing a personal policy to replace the amount you might need.
And if the unexpected occurs, your policy will help you keep calm and carry on. For guidance on your employer-sponsored policy, or to how to apply for disability on your own, contact us at 304-263-3361 or 1-800-745-8483.
*Special thanks to Policygenius for data referenced in this blog.