Disability insurance, as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, is a greatly underused resource in this country. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, 64 percent of wage earners believe they have no more than a 2 percent chance of becoming disabled for 3 or more months in the course of their working career, whereas the actual risk is 25 percent.
Because of this, many Americans fail to take advantage of employer-offered disability insurance or purchase private policies that could keep them from going under financially during a period of disability. Many figure that if they are seriously injured, they can always fall back on Social Security Disability benefits.
Social Security Disability is a great resource for those suffering with disabling impairments, but it is not easy to qualify. Those who do qualify often have to wait a substantial amount of time before they begin receiving payments, and many are only approved after appealing a denied claim. For these and other reasons, SSDI is not a resource the average person should count on.
Senators Kay Hagan and Mark Kirk, as well as Representatives Stephen Fincher and Carolyn McCarthy, in an effort to address limitations in disability insurance benefits programs and an over-reliance on Social Security Disability benefits, have reportedly formed a caucus called the Congressional Income Protection Caucus.
The caucus has attracted the attention of the insurance industry, and the American Council of Life Insurers is reportedly interested in working with the interest group to increase Americans’ awareness of the risks of disability as well as the importance of personal responsibility and preparedness in dealing with chronic disabilities.
Hopefully the lack of awareness and underuse of disability insurance programs begins to change as the financial challenges of the Social Security Disability program become more well-known in the coming years and because of the efforts of this caucus.
Source: LifeHealthPRO,”Disability benefits caucus attracts bipartisan support,” Allison Bell, November 26, 2013.