Leaving Work On Disability: Benefits
When leaving work to go on disability, consider the following:
If your health insurance is provided by your employer, take the steps necessary to continue coverage. Alternatives include:
- Keeping your employer's plan under laws known collectively as COBRA (you may have to take over the premiums plus a percentage for administration)
- Become insured under your spouse's or partner's coverage if that is a possibliity.
- Get coverage through the individual market in your state. To find out what is available and the costs, see: www.healthcare.gov
Other Employer Benefits
Carefully review all benefits from work to determine which continue while you are on disability, and what you have to do (if anything) to keep them going. For instance, if you are entitled to a disability income, check the following:
- The paperwork you and/or your doctor need to complete to start the income.
- The length of the waiting period before you start receiving an income.
- The amount of the income.
- Whether the amount of the income can change. For example, due to inflation.
- Whether the benefit comes from an insurance company which is likely to be able to pay your benefit for the rest of your life, or from the general funds of the employer. If the income is from the employer's general funds, the financial stability of the company becomes important to you.
- What you need to do to continue to receive the income. For instance, does your doctor have to file a periodic report? Do you have to submit to a physical examination? Does the employer or insurer send an investigator periodically ?
- Are you allowed to make any money from work? If so, how much?
Determine, which, if any, employer-provided assets you want to keep. Negotiate for them. For example, you may want to keep a mobile phone or a laptop computer.
You may feel as if you are going on disability and never returning to work so you can finally say to your employer or co-workers the thoughts about them that you've been keeping to yourself. However, "never say never." None of us know what the future may hold. Even if the odds are slight, you may eventually be able to go back to work. Even more important, goodwill is helpful if there is ever a question about whether to continue your disability income.
Check your life insurance policies to find out if any of the include a waiver of premium due to disability. If so, apply for the waiver before the next premium is due. This is also a good opportunity to:
- Check to make sure the beneficiary is up -to-date.
- Check to find out if the policy has an advance benefit on it allowing you to get money from the life insurance company while you are alive if you have a short life expectancy. If such a provision is not included in the policy, contact the insurance company to find out if it can be added. Generally, the addition of such a provision is free.