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Do You Need Disability Income Insurance?

Apr 13, 2023 | 4 min. read

Illnesses – not injuries – are the leading cause of long-term absences from work. It may be time to rethink this important coverage.

If your daily work environment poses few safety risks, you may think disability insurance is an unnecessary expense. After all, what are the chances of injury if you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, right? The flaw in this logic is that illnesses, not injuries, are the cause of most long-term absences from work.

Other common misconceptions about the impact of disabling injuries or illnesses are related to their frequency and duration. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, over one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement, with the average long-term disability claim lasting over 34 months.

For anyone who works for a living, these are troubling statistics. You count on your paycheck to cover monthly expenses and sustain your current lifestyle. But if you lose the ability to work and your paychecks stop, how long could you live on your savings? reports that 70 percent of Americans would face financial difficulty after just one month. In fact, disability is the number one cause of personal bankruptcies and results in half of all mortgage foreclosures. If you’ve never considered the need for disability income insurance, or simply think of it as a nice-to-have but unnecessary benefit, you’re not alone. Most people can readily understand the need to insure their tangible assets, such as their home and car. But a thorough risk assessment should also include the less tangible but arguable even greater risk of losing your income.

Won’t I be covered by Social Security?

Misinformation is one culprit in disability insurance being overlooked — many people believe they already have adequate coverage through Social Security. But according to, Social Security Disability Insurance has eligibility restrictions and a waiting period, and it only replaces about 33 percent of current income, on average.

What about the coverage I have through my employer?

Many employers provide long-term disability insurance benefits that cover between 40 and 60 percent of lost income, and some offer employees an option to purchase additional coverage. It’s always a good idea to investigate employer-sponsored coverage, because it’s normally easier to qualify for than a privately-owned policy. However, insurance provided through your job won’t go with you if you leave, and that could leave you vulnerable.

What about worker’s compensation?

Although employers are required to provide this insurance, it only kicks in if you suffer a work-related disability. Close to 75 percent of disabilities do not fall into this category, and are therefore ineligible for worker’s comp, according to the National Safety Council.

Cover Yourself from the Unexpected Today

At First Command, we believe in a comprehensive, holistic approach to planning for life’s inevitable risks. As part of our process, we will provide an assessment of your current coverage and make appropriate recommendations when necessary. To learn more, visit or contact a local First Command Financial Advisor.

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