Many of us, hearing the horror stories and believing our digital world does not do a very good job of protecting our confidential information, have purchased Identify Theft Protection. It’s that coverage that regularly monitors credit reports, personal information, credit cards and bank accounts for unauthorized access and raiding. Most of the plans even include a $1 Million policy to protect us against loss. Given that 13 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2013, Identify Theft Protection seems like a reasonable purchase.
Paycheck protection / disability Income insurance also protects your family identity but in a much different way.
When you are healthy, working regularly, providing for you and your family, you create an identity – a distinctive character that identifies you as an individual or family unit. It is based on many components including what you do, where you work, where you live, what vehicle you drive, what hobbies or sports you follow, what or where you eat, your religious persuasion and even your political views. Most of these characteristics require money, a regular paycheck that pays for the both the necessities and luxuries of life. So if you become sick or hurt and are unable to earn a paycheck, how would that cause your identity to change?
If you’ve personally experienced a disability, you’ve likely seen the disabled person’s life focus change significantly. Many move from a vibrant, successful career to an internal concentration on simply getting well and whole, if possible. Entirely appropriate, but a significant change. The family of the disabled undergoes massive change as well. Regardless of their prior responsibilities, they must become focused on caregiving, hospital runs, taxi service, medication dispensing and more. The old responsibilities don’t go away; the new ones are simply added on top of an otherwise active life.
Let’s look at two distinctly different family portraits.
In the first, the disabled family member is rightly focused on getting better, putting all of his energy into healing and future wholeness, as best it can be defined. Because paycheck protection was purchased and maintained, the family is reasonably assured of having enough money to pay the rent or mortgage, buy food, make car payments, buy school supplies and pay for the medical bills that are not otherwise covered by health insurance plans. Disability is not easy but this family can look forward without additional fear of financial meltdown.
The second family is just like the first except they never had a financial advisor who presented the risk of disability to them, or otherwise decided that regular stops at Starbucks were more important than paycheck protection. In this case, they experience all of the pressures and uncertainty related to the disability as the family above. The disabled individual struggles through recovery or adjusting to a new normal. The spouse is still overwhelmed by the pre-disability responsibilities when the added weight of caregiving is added by the disability. But in addition, they now carry the weight of concern about financial survival. Does this mean losing the house or moving? How will the family eat? When can the disabled member return to work or find work to supplement family income? None of this uncertainty improves health, strengthens the family or positions the disabled family member for positive outcomes.
The likelihood of a disability lasting at least 90 days between age 26 and 65 is 1 in 4. And the average duration of a disability lasting 90 days is nearly 6 years (age 35, white collar and professional risks).1
Is it time to have a meaningful discussion about paycheck protection, coverage that protects families from the financial devastation of a disability? Download our WOW infographic for more surprising disability statistics and contact DIS for the resources and expertise you need to protect yourself and your clients.
1 GenRe Life & Health Fact Book, 2015-2016 (Calculations based upon the 2012 Individual Disability Experience Committee (IDEC) Tables