Protect Yourself: Plan in Case of Disability

<b>Protect Yourself: Plan in Case of Disability</b>“></td>
<td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Monica, a 37-year-old professional and mother, shattered her elbow when she slipped on her porch. In most cases, the story would have ended there, but Monica wasn’t that lucky. After her elbow surgery, Monica developed a condition called osteonecrosis, which caused her bones to crumble.

Once a successful worker in the financial sector, Monica became confined to a wheelchair and required a hired caretaker to bathe, eat and dress. Monica was awarded Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI), but it took two-and-a-half years to start seeing payments — years in which Monica couldn’t work and couldn’t afford rent. Monica used up her retirement savings to pay for her care. By the time she received SSDI, it was too late to save her finances.

Unfortunately, Monica is not alone in neglecting to plan for disability. According to a 2009 Harvard study, over half of all personal bankruptcies are caused by illness or injury.Yet, many people fail to consider that disability can happen to them. According to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), 60 percent of people feel that their chances of becoming disabled are 2 percent or less during their working years. The real number, according to the Social Security Administration, is 30 percent.

But you can take steps to protect yourself. First, visit www.whatsmypdq.com to learn your Personal Disability Quotient (PDQ), or your chance of an injury or illness that will keep you out of the workplace for an extended amount of time.

Then, evaluate your lifestyle and see if there are any changes you can make to reduce your chances of disability. The CDA recommends cultivating healthy behaviors, such as eating well and exercising to maintain a healthy weight. Regular check-ups and cancer screenings can catch problems before they lead to disability. Simply staying aware and using activity-appropriate safety equipment, like seat belts, safety goggles and helmets, can help you avoid disabling injuries.

“Through planning and prevention, people can minimize their chances of becoming disabled — or at least minimize the financial impact a disability can have on their income and lifestyle,” said Barry Lundquist, president of the CDA. “For most people, their income is by far their most valuable asset, and their ability to earn that income cannot be taken for granted.”

To learn more, join the discussion at www.twitter.com/the_CDA or explore the tools and resources available at www.disabilitycanhappen.org.

Are You Covered For Disability?

<b>Are You Covered For Disability?</b>“></td>
<td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As Americans deliberate out-of-network co-pays, dental coverage and other choices during open enrollment, they often overlook disability insurance — a potentially devastating financial mistake.

Many people discount the idea of disability insurance — they feel healthy and don’t expect to miss work as a result of illness or injury. But disability does happen with more frequency than workers think, and it doesn’t always mean wheelchairs or permanent bed confinement. Anything from back surgery, a broken bone, cancer, heart disease or even a short-term illness like pneumonia can cause someone to miss work.

According to the Social Security Administration, three in 10 of the workers entering the workforce today will become disabled at some point in their career. About one in seven workers will become disabled for five years or more. And disability can happen to anyone at any time — calculate your own chance of disability at www.whatsmypdq.org.

Bills don’t stop when someone stops making income. Americans need to make sure that, in the case of an accident or illness, they’ll still be able to meet their financial obligations.

“We currently are facing many economic challenges, and this season wage earners may see some changes in their benefits packages,” says Barry Lundquist, president of The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA). “It’s important that they don’t lose sight of their single most important asset — the ability to earn an income. It’s imperative during these difficult times to ask questions and learn about disability planning and protection.”

The CDA encourages employees to consider the following questions:

1) What are my necessary monthly living expenses that would continue if my income stopped?

2) Would my personal savings pay for my necessary monthly expenses for one month, two months, three months, six months or longer? Would my savings cover my “out of pocket” medical expenses, like deductibles and copays?

3) Does my employer have a sick-pay plan or long-term disability program, or both? Am I participating? When would it start, how much would it pay me and for how long?

The CDA encourages workers to ask their employer about disability benefits during open enrollment. For more information, visit www.disabilitycanhappen.org.