Disability Insurance: Are You Covered?

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Your ability to earn a paycheck is one of your most important assets, and disability insurance can help protect you and your family’s finances in the event you can no longer work. The following are answers to some frequently asked questions about disability insurance.

Q. Is my income adequately protected?

A. One in five 35-year-old men and one in three 35-year-old women in the work force will become disabled for at least 90 days before reaching age 65, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Because becoming seriously disabled can hinder your ability to work, purchasing disability insurance to compensate for lost wages may be your best protection. It's important that you purchase disability insurance early, before you have the need. It is not likely you would be able to purchase disability coverage if you are already disabled.

Q. As an educator, do I need disability insurance even if I don’t have a hazardous occupation?

A. Most disabilities are actually not the result of accidents, but are due to illnesses such as heart disease, chronic back conditions, mental/emotional disorders and cancer. These kinds of disability-related illnesses can affect workers in all kinds of jobs. Keep in mind, too, that pregnancy is treated the same as any other disability. In fact, about half of disability claims processed through the CTA-Endorsed Voluntary Group Disability Insurance plan are pregnancy-related. Women educators may want to consider disability insurance to cover income shortfalls during maternity leaves.

Q.  Does workers’ compensation provide all the coverage I need?

A. Because workers’ compensation only covers job-related illnesses, injuries and deaths, many disabilities that happen outside of the work place are not covered.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Check your district's benefits program to find out what kind of disability coverage you may have. Then explore your options for additional coverage. California Teachers Association has a disability insurance program designed to work with your current benefits to provide the coverage you need. To learn more about member disability and life insurance, go to the Member Benefits website.

Do you know the correct answers to these questions?

  1. Just over one in four of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.*
    ___True ___False
  2. Almost 66% of Americans would find it very difficult or somewhat difficult to meeting their current financial obligation if their next paycheck was delayed for one week.**
    ___True ___False
  3. Most working Americans estimate their own chances of experiencing a long term Disability are substantially lower than the average worker's.***
    ___True ___False

The answer to all these questions is "true."

The fact is you are more likely to suffer a disability that will keep you out of work for an extended period than to die during your working years. Disability insurance can help protect you and your family from financial stress in the event you are unable to work due to a covered illness or injury.

* Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet, 2014
** Source: National Payroll Week, “Getting Paid in American” Survey, 2014
*** Council for Disability Awareness, March 2010