How Do You Find Out If You Have Enough Protection?

How Do You Find Out If You Have Enough Protection?

First, find out exactly what benefits your employer offers in the event of a disabling illness or injury. Most employers allow some short-term sick leave, which might last from a few days to as much as six months, depending both on employer policy and on duration of employment. In some states (for example, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island), state law requires most employers to provide disability benefits for up to 26 weeks. In California, most employers must provide coverage for up to 52 weeks.

No laws require employers to offer long-term disability (LTD) insurance but it is estimated that almost half of mid-size to large employers provide long-term benefits for at least five years. Typical group long-term disability benefits replace about 60 percent of salary, start when short-term benefits are exhausted, and continue anywhere from five years to life. Often, group long-term insurance is fully paid for by employers without contributions by employees. (That's why employer-paid disability income benefits are subject to income tax.)

Check with your employer's benefits office to see if you are covered and, if so, what is available to you. Find out how long you must wait before benefits begin and how long payments will continue during your disability. Find out, too, whether your employer's plan takes other disability coverage (such as government programs) into account when calculating your long-term disability pay. Ask for a booklet describing the disability coverage your company offers.