When workers and their families are planning for the future, they may look to their employee benefits options. This includes retirement plan options for the day when the employee can retire. It may also include life insurance coverage just in case something goes wrong and they need to make sure their family is taken care of. However, many people never consider the chance they will become disabled and unable to provide for their loved ones.
According to the Social Security Administration, almost a quarter of adults will become disabled before they reach retirement. Tens of millions of Americans are considered disabled, and unable to work to support themselves and their families. Disability happens more often than most people consider and can take workers and their families by surprise.
While some risk factors make it more likely that some individuals will become disabled, disability can happen to anyone. Risk factors include physical health, exercise, use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, and high-risk activities. However, injuries and disease can strike even the healthiest and most risk-averse. This includes disorders and diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and mental illness.
Most private industry workers have some form of health care insurance provided by their employers. However, a much smaller percentage of private industry workers are offered short- and long-term disability insurance programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, participation in disability insurance programs has increased over the years, but it still remains a minority of private industry workers.
In 1999, only about a quarter of private industry workers were covered by long-term disability insurance. By 2014, almost one-third of workers had long-term disability coverage. Service industry workers have the lowest rate of disability insurance coverage, while management and professional occupations have higher rates of coverage.
Disability insurance replaces a portion of the income lost when an individual is unable to work because of an injury or illness. Short-term disability policies generally cover people who are unable to work for 3 to 6 months. Long-term disability policies usually provide coverage through age 65 or regular retirement age.
A major problem for workers covered by disability insurance is that insurance companies may deny their disability claim. Disability claims may be denied because the insurance company does not consider the injury severe enough to be considered a disability, or claim the injured was not covered at the time. Disability claims can even be denied because of administrative errors, leaving the injured individual without the benefits they earned through service to their employer.
Greg Paul has years of experience fighting for his clients to make sure they get the disability benefits they deserve. We represent individuals and families who have been denied benefits by their insurance company or plan administrator. You have a limited time to appeal your disability denial, so do not delay. If you have been denied short-term or long-term disability benefits, contact our office for a free consultation.