Food, Water And Disability Insurance – The Essentials of Life – Disability

For most people the ability to earn a living is their most important asset. Imagine you suddenly become sick or injured and are unable to work. How long would you be able to maintain your same standard of living without an income?With the US savings rate at an all time low, few people, regardless of occupation or family situation have enough set aside to sustain them through an extended disability.Getting injured or becoming sick is very stressful. Now think about not being able to work and the mounting pills of bills. This extreme stress will probably slower your recovery and cause some depression.If you are already suffering from an accident or illness could you imagine worrying about putting food on the table or trying to keep the lights on? You could avoid all of the pain and undue stress with a Disability or income protection policy. The small premium you pay now could not compare to the benefits a disability policy can provide if you became disabled.As Employment opportunity shrinks more people are becoming self employed. These self employed people loose the benefit of group coverage, sponsored by a company. Regardless of your current income bracket, income protection should be your 1st priority. Think about it, if you suddenly loose your ability to earn a living, more sooner then later you world probably go into “survival mode” and start to sell or worse loose the assess that you work so hard to obtain. You could drain your savings and retirement accounts but how long would that last? Could you get by on your spouse income- possibly, but if you are like most, your monthly bills depend on two incomes. You could depend on Social Security Disability Benefits-not necessarily; less then half of all disability applications are ever approved.To get approved for Social Security Disability benefits, your disability has to be so severe that you are unable to do any work-not just your own or current occupation. If approved your benefits wouldn’t start for 5 months and your disability must be expected to for 12 months or results in death. Most Americans protect their home and vehicles but forget about protecting the most important thing “their income”! Without an income you will no longer be able to afford your home, vehicle and other basic elements of living.When life is good it’s difficult to imagine being disable from an illness or accident. It’s time to face the facts, that a disability can happen at any time or any place to anyone.Accidents and Illness will force 1 in 5 US employees to miss work for at least a year before they turn 65. A Howard University report reveals that 53% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were due to the inability to pay medical expenses. There can’t be financial security unless you first protect your income.Ask yourself tough questions. How much income protection would you need if you could no longer work? More people get life insurance before disability. Did you know that you are 5 times more likely to become disabled during your working years then you are to die pre- maturely. An illness or accident will keep 1 in 5 workers out of work for a year sometime during their working careers (US Census Bureau December 1997) and 3 in 10 workers entering the workforce will become disable before they retire (Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet January 1999). Don’t fool yourself, there are many who are denied Social Security Disability benefits, even though they are unable to work. In the event that you are one of the fortunate, the waiting time is usually over a year before you are approved. Could you afford to maintain your standard of living without income for over a year?Over 90% of disabling accidents are not work related. This means that you wouldn’t qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits. And for those of you who think Disability Insurance is for the older worker, 52% of workers receiving Social Security Benefits are under the age of 55 (Social Security 2007 Annual Statistical Report). If you were unable to work for an extended period, what sources of income would be available to you. How could you manage? You could drain your savings and there are some definitions that you should know before shopping for the right disability Insurance Policy.The Policy Elimination Period – is the period of disability that must elapse before receiving disability payments. It’s similar to the deductible on your auto and home owner’s insurance policy. Example: Jim Smart has a disability policy with a 30 day elimination period. On April 1st Jim was having some chest pain and after much convincing from his wife, decided to go to his Dr. for a check up. Jim Dr. reassured Jim and his Wife that it wasn’t a heart attach, but he pulled a muscle and he would not be able to perform any of his normal duties at work. Jim would get his 1st disability check in 60 days (approx. May 31st or June 1st). Disability Payments are always paid after being disabled or at the end of a period of disability.Own Occupation – means that the Insurance Company would consider your current occupation at the time of a disabling injury or sickness. Example: If you are a welder and your job requires you to be able to stand for long periods of time if you hurt your toe and your Dr. said that you could do other work but no prolonged standing, then you would still qualify for disability benefits if you had the Own Occupation Rider on our policy.The Extended Care Option – This type of benefit is of critical need for individuals, who will face the lost of income or even the loss of a career to stay at home and tend to an ill family member. Provision would pay disability benefits to you in the event that your spouse or close relative was injured or sick and you had to take off work to take care of that person.The Partial Benefit Provision – This Provision will still pay benefits when the insured is able to work, but in a limited capacity. This provision often pays benefits for an extended period of time if the disabled insured has a loss of time, duties or income regardless of the amount of income earned when returning to work or while the gingival continues to work.Mental Health Coverage – According to Mental Health America (2003), clinical depression has become one of America’s most costly illnesses. Left untreated depression can cost more then $51 million in absenteeism from work.Disability Statics:At age 32 the chance of becoming disable for 90 days is 6.5 times greater than the chances of death. (Source: National Association of Insurance Commissions)More then 51 million Americans – 18% of the population is disabled.3 out of 10 of the people entering the workforce today will become disable before they retire. (Source: 2007 Social Security Administration)70% of American workers in the private sector have no long- term disability protection. (2007 Social Security Administration)$1004 is the average monthly benefit paid by Social Security Disability Insurance. (Source: 2008 Social Security Administration)2.35 million People were injured in auto accidents in 2008. Care crashes are the leading cause of acquired disability in the United States. (Source: NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System)75% of disabilities are cause by an illness rather then an accident. (Source: Commissioners Disability Table)According to a Harvard report, 62% of all personnel bankruptcies filed in 2007 were due to an inability to pay for medical expenses. (The American Journal of Medicine June 4th 2009)The likelihood of being disabling for 3 months or more is greater than dieing in any given year. (Source: Society of Actuaries)Accidents or illness will force 1 in 5 US employees to miss work for at least a year before they turn 65. (Source: Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, November 2005)Every year 350,000 personal bankruptcies are attributed to unexpected illness or injury. (Source: Injury and Illness contributors to bankruptcy, Health Affairs 2005)

Disability Claim Denials, Is This the Wrong Time to Be Disabled in America? – Disability

14 million Social Security disability applications were denied in a single decade, between 2000 and 2010, while the percentage of denials escalated from 34 percent to 65 percent. Is this the wrong time to be disabled in America?Note the following headlines:Federal Disability Traffic Jam The Washington TimesSoldiers risk ruin while awaiting benefit checks Associated PressDisability Claims can be tough to collect Wall Street JournalIt’s time to stop billions of dollars of disability benefits from being denied, unnecessarily.Does the Disability Safety Net have holes in it? If more than 60 percent of Social Security disability claims are denied initially, then why are 63 percent approved at the hearing stage? What causes the turn around? Unfortunately 39 percent of claimants give up before determining if they would be successful going through the appeal process!!1.2 million Social Security Disability applications were filed in 1999 (48 percent of 579,000 were declined). In 2009, ten years later, 2.8 million Social Security Disability applications were filed (and 65 percent or 1,830,530 were declined). The number of disability applications more than doubled while denials more than tripled. In one year, more than $23 TRILLION dollars of annualized benefits were lost. That’s 1.8 million Americans who won’t collect benefits they thought they were entitled to.Based on the 2010 average payment to those who qualify, that represents more than $19.5 million of monthly benefits that won’t be paid. Annualized, $23+ trillion dollars per year is an overwhelming amount of disappointment.Many initial disability claims are denied for simple mistakes and omissions which have absolutely nothing to do with the claimant’s disability status. Think about what it is like to wait 17 months to hear you didn’t answer one question. Then you can wait another 17 months after you’ve added one simple answer. There must be a better way. Those facing claim denials are filing an unprecedented number of appeals burdening the already damaged system even more. With an average of nearly 17 months waiting for a judge to hear their appeal, what’s happening in the meantime?Currently there’s three-quarters of a million Americans stuck in the Social Security disability backlog. Not being able to pay their bills causes the man of the house enormous mental anguish. The state of marital relationships in these situations deteriorates rapidly. Soon our divorce courts will be experiencing the same type of backlog the Social Security Administration is now facing.Is this the wrong time to be disabled in America? Tens of millions of dollars in disability benefits go unpaid by private insurers. Over 40 states jointly investigated how one insurer handles their disability claims. Another state set up a system to scrutinize the handling of every rejected claim. What led to the dramatic change in the handling of disability claims? Or has anything changed at all and there’s just more adverse publicity?As reported in USA Today… 22,500 Veteran’s PTDS disability claims denied as personality disorders. How is it possible that a personality disorder, assuming it existed prior to military service, is diagnosed when psychological evaluations aren’t done prior to induction?According to the data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, more than 25 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets seeking care at the VA have PTSD. And this statistic doesn’t include the mentally ill vets who haven’t had treatment at the VA due to the stigma associated with PTSD. In the meantime, families go on welfare and food stamps. Homes are being foreclosed. Drugs and alcohol disrupts any hope for family harmony. Homelessness occurs! Suicides begin to take lives that the battlefield didn’t.One very simple yet insurmountable obstacle is the application process itself. The VA has a long history of bureaucracy. The disability claim form itself is a 23 page document. How many vets are accustomed to 23 pages of paperwork? The word “intimidation” comes to mind as a reason many veterans will never file a claim. A claim for benefits they were eligible for.Each year TRILLONS of dollars in Insurer, Social Security and Veterans Administration disability claims WILL continue to be denied. It’s imperative the claimants understand how to correctly file a Long Term Disability claim, “doing it right” the first time and dramatically improving the likelihood of collecting benefits.The U.S. Census Bureau recently projected a 75 percent increase in the age 65+ population by 2030. That will increase the number of age 65+ Americans to 69 million, more than 20 percent of the entire population. An aging population brings with it an automatic growth in the disability “TSUNAMI”. Since the Americans with Disability Act forces disability insurers to continue disability coverage to those over age 65, an older workforce guarantees more claims.We haven’t seen any valid creditable source that has identified any reason for the escalating rate of claim denials or what we’ll call disability claim “deterioration”. Hence, I can offer what I believe is happening in the backrooms of the insurers claims departments.Americans currently face the highest unemployment level we’ve experienced over the last three decades. The current state of the economy has impacted our American workforce in disastrous proportions. There’s a natural escalation of disability claims incidence with increasing unemployment.Mortgages are being foreclosed at an unprecedented rate. Several states have begun to deny previously valid claims as Medicaid budgets have become overwhelmed. Is it any wonder that the cost of medical care, and not being able to pay for it, is the largest cause of mortgage foreclosures?To continue, we now have causes of disability that didn’t exist two decades ago. Carpel tunnel and chronic fatigue syndrome are being diagnosed more than at any other time in our history. When we add fibromyalgia to the new list, we have an evolving problem that’s creating a nightmare for the disability insurers. These are known as “self reported” disabilities in that there’s no specific medical testing that can diagnose these conditions. It’s easy to understand how disability claim examiners can mistrust “self reported” symptoms. This makes it an onerous process for those who are truly adversely effective by one of these conditions from collecting benefits they’re entitled to.In summary, we now face a dramatic increase in the 20 percent of the population in an older age group. They’re still working with an increasing incidence of disability. Unemployment compounds the problem even more. And adding new causes of disability and our litigious society results in more PROMISES UNKEPT.Allan CheckowayCopyright 2011