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May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month

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May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month... a month to show our love for disability insurance. To celebrate, I thought I'd join in and add my thoughts about why disability insurance is so important. As an insurance lawyer, who has handled tens of thousands of disability cases, I work with clients everyday who are wrongfully denied by disability insurance companies. Even though I help people across the nation fight for what they have paid for and legally deserve, I believe in disability insurance.

Every day there is a family somewhere in America, who relies on the security a disability insurance policy brings. Struggling with a long-term or even short-term disability and the added challenges that brings is difficult for those affected and their families. The value of investing in a disability insurance policy can save your financial life should you become so sick, or so injured you couldn't work.

For most of us, our most important asset is not our home, our car or our other possessions; it's our ability to earn a living. It's true that most - if not all of your plans for the future rely on your ability to earn a paycheck. It's also true that a lot of us think this ability will never go away or at least not until we are past retirement. The fact is: 54 million people in the United States are living with a disability according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, by age 45-54, 22.6% of people will have some form of disability.

Disability is much more common than most people think. That's where disability insurance comes in, as it provides an income to you and your family if are unable to work because of illness or injury. While you may think that Social Security or Worker's Compensation, or a long-term disability plan has you covered, that's not always true. 45% of those who initially apply for disability benefits through Social Security are denied and those who are approved get an average benefit of just $1,063 a month. That's not nearly enough to replace the average worker's income. Workers' Compensation covers only work-related disabilities, but 73% of disability injuries or illnesses aren't work-related. While an employer-sponsored plan is the cheapest option, more than 70% of employers do not offer long-term disability coverage according to the National Safety Council.

With those haunting statistics, it should be obvious why private disability insurance policies should be strongly considered. Before you go out and purchase just any plan, make sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Shop around and compare prices. Disability insurance can get tricky and pricey and you want to get the most coverage for the smallest premium.
  • Always stick with a reputable company and research them first. Look at their claims denial history, complaints, and any lawsuits filed against them. A cheap policy is no good if the company isn't reputable, goes under, or wrongfully denies your claim.
  • Read the fine print and then read it again. Make sure you know the ins and outs of your policy. Ask questions and if you aren't sure, consult a top disability attorney who can educate you.

Since May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month, it's the perfect time for a disability insurance makeover. If you don't have a policy, I strongly encourage taking the time to research and invest in one. Your financial future depends on it.

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