Could You Wait 600 Days to Replace (Part of) Your Paycheck?

Here are the most recent government statistics (2009) for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

  • Disability benefits were paid to almost 9 million people.
  • Average monthly benefit received was $1,064.30.
  • Benefits were terminated for 630,074 disabled workers.
  • Workers accounted for the largest share of disabled beneficiaries (87 percent).
  • The average age of a beneficiary was about 53.
  • Men represented nearly 53% of the beneficiaries.
  • A mental disorder was the diagnosis for about a third of the recipients.

What these numbers don’t tell you is that according to the Social Security Administration, approximately 65 percent of those that apply for disability insurance through Social Security are rejected, and the backlog in Social Security disability applications is so large in some areas of the country that the average wait for a hearing in some states is almost two years (600 days).

The National Safety Council reported in 2004 that a disabling injury occurs every two seconds in America, and Health Affairs reported that unexpected illnesses and injuries cause 350,000 bankruptcies a year. According to the Health Insurance Association of America, one in seven workers will be disabled for five or more years during their time in the workforce, and in 2005, half of all mortgage foreclosures were caused by disabilities due to unexpected injury or illness.

Yes, SSDI is an excellent program, but if you become disabled, will you qualify, and if so, how long will it take before you start receiving benefits? What will you do for income while you wait to see if you will receive SSDI? How long could you go without a paycheck before experiencing financial problems?

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month—the time to protect your paycheck. You have insurance to protect your home, your car, your boat and your motorcycle, but do you have insurance to protect your paycheck? Go to www.protectyourpaycheck.org to learn more.

by Marvin H. Feldman

Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, is president of the Feldman Financial Group in Palm Harbor, Fla., and president and CEO of Life Happens. He is a 41-year Million Dollar Round Table member and was the 2002 president. He is a 33-year member of the MDRT Top of the Table and a past Top of the Table chairman. He also is the recipient of the 2011 John Newton Russell award, the highest honor bestowed on an individual by the insurance industry.

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