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Here's how to help your clients start their disability planning
Just ask your clients a few simple questions, like:
Ask your client ...

How will you pay the bills if disability strikes and your paycheck suddenly stops?

The fact is, most of your clients are simply not prepared. Some know it; many don't. Surveys show eight out of ten American workers worry about how they'd pay their bills if they had to miss work for six months or longer due to disability. Seven out of ten workers don't have enough savings to meet even short-term emergencies. Two-thirds of American families live paycheck to paycheck.

A good place to begin the disability planning discussion is asking your clients to complete the Personal Financial Security Plan.More than half of all workers have never even thought about how they'd pay the bills if disability stopped their income.

Ask your client ...

Are you aware of the added expenses of being disabled?

It's not just the loss of income that disability causes. Necessary medical care and rehabilitation is very expensive. Serious sickness or injury also causes many people to lose their jobs - and with it, their employer-provided medical insurance. Some may be eligible for COBRA, but most have no idea how expensive that option can be. Explain to your clients how long-term disability brings on additional unexpected expenses, like higher out-of-pocket medical expenses and personal care costs. Bottom line: The financial impact of disability are devastating: 350,000 personal bankruptcies and nearly 50% of all mortgage foreclosures are blamed on disability.

Ask your client ...

Does your job provide disability income benefits? Do you qualify?

Large employers usually provide their full-time employees some form of sick pay and long term disability income benefits. Most small employers, on the other hand, don't. In addition, more and more employers now offer disability insurance only on a "contributory" (i.e., employee-paid) basis. Even though the cost can be relatively low, most employees don't bother to elect coverage. Lot of misinformation surrounds disability benefits. For example, many employees mistakenly think their health insurance covers lost wages. It doesn't.

Ask your client ...

If you lost your paycheck today, how would that affect your retirement tomorrow?

Millions of workers depend on their 401(k) or IRA savings for their retirement income. They may not realize that unexpectedly losing their income today could be catastrophic. If their paycheck was interrupted or stopped because of accident or illness, their current 401(k) and IRA contributions would also stop. That could put their financial security during retirement in serious jeopardy.

Ask your client ...

Are you eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance? Do you understand how it works?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the primary disability insurance program for the majority of American workers. Yet one-third don't understand how it works or even if they're eligible. Fewer than half of the applications for disability benefits are approved, and the average waiting period is 2.5 years. Nearly 7 million workers currently collect monthly Social Security disability payments, almost half under age 50. The average benefit is only $1,004 per month.

Ask your client ...

Do you realize a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce your chances of becoming disabled?

Many of the major causes of disability - cancer, heart disease, obesity and back problems - are directly linked to personal behavior and lifestyle. It's never too late to adopt healthy living habits. Encourage your clients to quit smoking, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get periodic medical exams and screenings. Staying healthy can significantly lower the risk of becoming disabled. In addition, more and more companies are recognizing the value of a healthy lifestyle and are offering wellness plans for their employees.

Ask your client ...

Do you realize your odds of becoming disabled are quite real?

Disability is increasing. The number of American workers experiencing a serious accident or illness that keeps them out of work is rising. Statistics indicate that three out of 10 workers entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring. And it takes a long time to get back to work. The average long-term disability absence lasts 2.5 years. More than 90% of all disabling accidents and illnesses are NOT work-related. That means they're NOT covered by Workers' Compensation.

Visit the CDA website for more information: www.disabilitycanhappen.org
 
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