You often hear financial professionals talking about how disability insurance is very important. The thing is, you never really realize how important it is until it pays out the first time. That or the first time that you need it and don’t have it.
We were in the lucky group because my fiancee was covered by her employer’s disability coverage the first time we needed disability insurance.
Why We Needed and Used Disability Insurance
Bad feet run in my fiancee’s family and this is a problem for her because of her profession. My fiancee is a Registered Nurse (RN). Her job involves standing and walking almost all day (unlike my desk job in accounting). Bad feet and having to be on your feet all day is a bad combination.
Basically her feet kept getting wider due to bad ligaments. This was fine until it got to the point where she could no longer find shoes that comfortably fit her for 12 hour shifts.
We were surprised to find out if her problem didn’t get fixed in time there would be a point where they could no longer fix it. It was at this point that we realized she had to have surgery to fix it before it got worse.
The Problem with Surgery
There is a major problem with foot surgery if you’re a nurse. You can’t work if you can’t be on your feet. There is no light duty option like my desk job. No work = no income… unless you have disability insurance and your surgery is covered OR you have a ton of paid time off to take.
Honestly though, who wants to take PTO to have surgery? Doesn’t sound like a vacation to me! What saved us was her employer offers disability insurance as part of her benefit package. It honestly wasn’t even something we had thought of until this surgery came up.
Well, we didn’t consider it until we figured out she’d be off her job for at least 8-10 weeks. It was at that point we knew we had to come up with a solution.
Disability Offerings From Her Employer
Her employer’s disability coverage was paid for by her employer. It covered 60% of her standard paycheck and increases the longer she stays with her company. On top of that, you could buy an extra 20% of coverage for just a couple dollars a paycheck.
When they began offering the disability insurance we made sure to call and ensure her surgery qualified. After getting it cleared through disability insurance and planning for a good time to get it done we decided to purchase the extra 20% as it would pay out more than we’d pay in. No brainer there.
How Much Disability Insurance Helped Us
Instead of receiving 0% of her paycheck for 10 weeks or saving up multiple years of paid time off just for a surgery, we ended up receiving 80% of her paycheck for those 10 weeks. This was a huge benefit for us. Without this benefit she would have used a ton of her vacation time and we still wouldn’t have anywhere near a normal income.
I also have disability insurance through my employer and definitely understand the value of this benefit now. If I ever end up becoming self employed it is definitely something I’m going to have to look into getting on my own.
Keep in mind, we only used short term disability insurance. If something happened and we could no longer work in our field for the rest of our lives think how much that’d mess you up. That is what long term disability insurance is for and I hope I never have to use it.
Have you ever thought about disability insurance before? Do you have any? Why or why not?