Be Prepared, Not Scared: Protect Your Income

By Barb Walker, GHB Employee Benefits Agent

When you are healthy and able to work it is difficult to imagine being disabled and possibly losing your steady income for an extended period of time.

But disability, and the resulting income loss, is a lot more common than people think. The statistics, though eye-opening, should not scare you but help prepare you. Consider that:

  • As I write this, 1,696,788 is the total count of Americans workers who have a disabling injury or illness in 2016. (You can check out GHB’s live counter HERE)
  • 3 out of 10 workers will become disabled for 3 months or more before retiring.
  • The average long-term disability absence lasts more than 2.5 years.
  • 7 million workers under 65 are receiving Social Security Disability benefits; nearly half  are under age 50.

Any disability, especially one lasting more than 90 days, would quickly drain a family’s savings.  When someone’s income is lost because of an illness or accident, there can not only be a potential loss of savings and retirement income, but even the loss of your home through foreclosure, and possibly, bankruptcy.

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have disability insurance that could protect you. Without it, you would need enough emergency savings to last 31.2 months. That’s the duration of the average long-term disability claim. Unfortunately, many of us are totally unprepared for the financial hit that disability can bring.

The key to protecting your income? Start planning, now.

The Council for Disability Awareness is a non-profit that provides educational resources to help you consider how to protect yourself should a disability occur.  The following will help you plan:

Disability insurance can be an invaluable lifeline for disabled workers and their families.

  • If your employer offers disability insurance, be sure you fully understand the benefits and how your company’s disability insurance program works.
  • If disability insurance is NOT provided by your employer, it can be purchased individually at affordable rates.
  • Self-employed individuals can also benefit greatly by having disability insurance

To learn more about preparing for a disability and what you can do to increase your financial security, please contact me at or call at: (206) 930-0596.

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