Over the course of life we can make certain assumptions: We might assume that our California health insurance will be sufficient to the task if we incur a debilitating illness or injury. Or – we might assume that we will receive financial support via our employer or the federal government should we suffer an illness or injury that disables us for an extended period of time.
Here’s something you should consider: You may own a California health insurance plan that has the best benefits money can buy, but it isn’t ‘built’ to cover the costs incurred while recovering from a disabling illness or injury. Further: While Social Security does provide long term disability benefits – based on the number of years you have worked and contributed to the Social Security system and your salary – it only works to replace a limited portion of your salary and the qualifications to receive benefits are very strict.
To wit: You must have been disabled for a full 5 months. Your disability must be expected to last at least 12 months or end in your death. And: You must be unemployable for any occupation – not just your own profession at the time of your disability.
First the good news: You may not need a California disability insurance plan. That’s right: You may already be covered under a group disability income insurance policy through your employer. You may also qualify for workers’ compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses (required in all states), along with other special or temporary disability programs to serve residents of the state.
Now for the other kind of news: As mentioned above, you may own a great California health insurance plan that sufficiently helped you deal with the health care costs of a serious illness or injury. That same plan is not purpose-built to the task of helping you defray the financial burden you will incur if you require months of recuperation time before you can either return to your chosen occupation or retrain yourself for an alternative career. Also: If it turns out that you don’t have California disability insurance through a group plan or it isn’t sufficient to the task or – if your disability makes access to the Social Security option not viable – without a California disability insurance plan to rely on you’ll be in a position we’ll call ‘self insuring’.
What do we mean by that? Well, it will fall to you to pay for your living expenses. If you feel that you have sufficient savings and that your living expenses are manageable for a period of time that could exceed 90 days and perhaps stretch into a period of years, then the thought of self insuring yourself in this situation may not be fraught with concern. If, however, you are like a lot of people and the absence of a steady paycheck for even a few pay periods could wreck serious financial havoc on your household budget, getting a firm handle on your disability income strategy is a great idea.
Here’s how we’d suggest you start the process: Talk with your employer’s HR department. Find out exactly what your disability benefits would look like if you did suffer a debilitating injury or illness. Next, reach out to us here at Vitality – we’ll provide the careful, considerate and always free consultation your inquiry deserves: We’ll help you review your current employer-provided coverage; we’ll help you sort through the process of understanding just how a private disability income plan works; we’ll secure an assortment of California disability insurance plan quotes for you to review; and we’ll help to ensure that you and your family have peace of mind about your disability insurance strategy and your financial security moving forward.