Why We Are So Unprepared When Disability Strikes

Millions of Americans have found that purchasing disability income insurance is an effective way to protect their income. This type of insurance is seen as a safeguard against the potential financial hardship that could occur should an untoward injury or illness result in a long term inability to work. However, new studies have indicated that the vast majority of Americans remain ignorant of the fact that they could quite easily develop a disabling condition that could prevent them from earning an income. 

Lack of Planning for Disability

It is estimated that around 61 percent of women and 46 percent of men have never looked into buying a disability insurance plan. Fewer than 10 percent have actually purchased such plans. Even those who work in the financial sector have a low awareness concerning planning for the possibility of disability. Fewer still have even consulted with advisers about what should happen if they or their partner become disabled. In fact, only around 37 percent of women and 52 percent of men have had a discussion with a financial adviser about how they would handle a devastating loss of work ability.

The financial impact of disability can be far more serious than most people ever realize. People with average incomes of $50,000 annually working for approximately 40 years are projected to earn over $2 million in future earnings. The loss of those earnings could be devastating for both individuals and families.

Fraudulent Claims

There have always been individuals who purposefully fabricate or withhold information in order to collect disability benefits that they are not actually entitled to. What may not be so well known is how these fraudulent claims affect the rest of society. Besides draining the already taxed pocketbook of the economy, people who are legitimately disabled pay the price and may be denied disability benefits they rightfully deserve. The way this happens is that their claims get caught up in red tape that ordinarily may not be there, were it not for the numerous fraudulent claims insurance firms and the government must continually process.

Meanwhile, the cases of fraudulent claims continue to rise in the United States. Some people abuse the system and go undetected. Many people are of the opinion that being disabled automatically involves what looks like a complete physical incapacity preventing the ability to communicate or move about. In actuality, numerous maladies qualify as disabilities, though they may not include obvious physical handicaps, and are often referred to as invisible disabilities.

Invisible disabilities can include chronic fatigue and pain that is brought on by diseases such as lymphoma, some form of heart failure, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia. Also, those who are mentally ill and people who have experienced accidents and long term illnesses may be in continual pain, suffering from debilitating migraines, or have other types of discomfort.

Financial Losses

The reality is that most Americans are unprepared for a possible disability. Without income replacement, they could face dire consequences. Those who have no financial safeguard in place could experience losing their entire savings, retirement funds and essential assets like their vehicles and homes.

Additionally, having no income for long periods of time can exacerbate disabling conditions and can put so much strain on relationships that they also suffer as a result. Therefore, everyone who depends upon a working income should find out how to protect that income through having an income replacing disability policy in place. 

Georgina Clatworthy is a freelance writer who regularly writes on topics relating to law, health and consumer issues. Those who have been denied disability benefits are advised to consult with a reputable attorney to help them go through the appeals process and get the compensation they deserve. Attorney’s with Marc Whitehead and Associates know what will qualify you for benefits, and can help you navigate the system if your claim has been denied.

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