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Income Replacement Insurance

The serious disability of either spouse is a traumatic event. While dealing with the event, your own feelings and those of your family can result in overlooked details and additional confusion. Do you need Disability Insurance? Do you already have Disability Insurance also known as"Income Replacment Insurance" ?

The following checklist is intended to help you get through the period as easily as possible. The suggestions are general, and should be adapted to your particular situation through conferences with your family, legal and financial advisors.

Locate the following important documents:
  • Trust Agreements Living Will Document 
  • Powers of Attorney Employment Contracts 
  • Employment Benefit Booklets Social Security Records 
  • Pension Records Disability Insurance 
  • Life Insurance Medical Insurance 
  • Partnership Agreements Veterans Benefits, if applicable

Telephone the correct employee benefits office
Give them your name, current address, telephone number, and the date of the disability. If this is a large firm, provide the Social Security and payroll numbers.

The company can then begin to process a benefits claim immediately. Advise them of the nature of the disability. Some illnesses may not last a long time. Others have an identified longer duration, or may be terminal.

Many employers have people designated to assist in understanding their benefits and how their claims procedures work. They may be able to help you reduce the total amount of the claim in addition to the amount that will be your responsibility.

Notify the Veteran’s Administration
If the disabled person was ever in the military service, there may be eligibility for veteran’s disability benefits.

Record in a ledger all money you spend
This includes travel to and from medical facilities, including meals and room. These figures will be needed for tax returns.

Avoid spending large sums of money
Do not make any major purchases or financial commitments. Begin now to curtail your spending habits. If the disability turns out to be of short duration, and without major financial impact, you can always resume your spending patterns. If you have any major purchases or projects scheduled, postpone or cancel them immediately.

Notify your life insurance companies of this disability
Ask if there is a waiver of premium rider on the policies and if so, what are the terms. If you qualify, then premiums will be waived for the length of the disability. Do not permit any policy to lapse. If you do not have the cash to pay the premium, contact your financial planner immediately.

Notify the local Social Security office of the disability
Claims are likely to be processed much faster if you go in person to the nearest office to sign a claim for disability benefits. Look for the address under “U. S. Government” in the phone book.

Notify your disability insurer of the disability
Ask for a claim form and brochure on claims procedures.

Look to see if you have disability accident coverage
If the disability was the result of an accident, some auto club policies have this type of coverage, as do many automobile insurance policies. If so, notify your disability insurer and ask for a claim form.

Whenever possible, make copies of all communications
Keep written records of all telephone calls and personal visits with various officials. This can be very critical since it is possible that some claims are denied due to notice not being received promptly or claims forms not delivered within a specified period.

Call your financial advisor
If you get into a cash flow problem and have a tough time with bills, he or she may be able to restructure debt or obtain temporary credit relief.

Do not get discouraged
You have made some contingency plans for a disability and you have procedures to follow. You are going to survive this crisis economically, so concentrate on the personal issues and accept professional help to deal with the financial ones.

Establish a filing system for records and payments
Do this at the very outset or it will become much more difficult later. You might set up the following filing categories:

  • Bills not yet paid Drugs paid for 
  • Medical appliances paid for Physicians paid for 
  • Other providers paid for Institutions paid for 
  • Insurance claims filed/paid Medicare or Medicaid claims filed/paid

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