Protect one of your most valuable assets-your income.
If you're unable to work due to a sickness or injury, disability insurance can help you cover your essential living expenses. It can help you pay bills like your mortgage, tuition and car payments, and help cover expenses for food, clothing and utilities. By replacing a portion of your income, disability insurance can help protect your financial security until you get back on your feet and return to work.
Man on the street video (3:03) - A compilation of short interviews with random consumers in New York and New Jersey, chronicling their understanding, concerns and opinions about disability insurance. Improve your understanding of disability insurance and how it can help protect your income.
MetLife provides group disability insurance to employers and also provides administrative services to employer-funded disability plans. With respect to individuals, MetLife offers individual disability insurance policies. The individuals in the videos linked to below are covered under employer-funded disability plans, for which MetLife provides administrative services.
Disabilities can happen at any age (2:56) - Learn how MetLife helped Lolet, a young, successful wife and mother, navigate a complicated pregnancy.
You wake up one morning and things are different (2:18) - What started off as a normal day at work, quickly turned into a bout of disability leaves. Learn how life for Steven and his family was impacted in the course of one day.
Interested in Disability Protection?
Find out about enrolling through your employer by speaking with your benefits representative. If your employer doesn’t offer disability insurance or you would like to purchase additional insurance, have a MetLife rep contact you.
1. 9th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, 2011.
2. MetLife Disability Claims Data, 2010.
3. Actual rates will vary based on factors including the applicant’s age, health, occupation and state of residence as well as the amount of coverage, maximum benefit period, waiting period and carrier issuing the coverage. Initial rates may increase
Like most disability income insurance policies, MetLife's policies contain certain exclusions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your representative about costs and complete details. For policies issued in New York: Individual disability income insurance policies provide disability income insurance only. They do NOT provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Insurance Department. The expected benefit ratio for these polices is at least 50%. This ratio is the portion of future premiums that MetLife expects to return as benefits when averaged over all people with the applicable policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
The definition of disability will vary depending on the terms of your own individual policy and/or your employer's plan. Some policies and plans consider you disabled when you're unable to perform the duties of your own occupation, while others pay only if you're unable to perform in any job suitable for you based on your training, education and experience. Some policies and plans may use an own-occupation definition for a period of time (e.g., two or three years), after which an any-occupation definition is applied. Other policies and plans require that you not be gainfully employed while you're collecting benefits or that you are unable to earn a certain percentage of your pre-disability income because of injury or sickness.
There are policies and plans that will pay you a portion of your total disability monthly benefit amount if you have lost a part of your income due to a disability—this type of feature is usually referred to as a residual or partial disability benefit. Additionally, some policies and plans may include a rehabilitation benefit that pays some or all of the cost of occupational rehabilitation approved by the insurer while other plans may include a rehabilitation provision that requires you to take part in an occupational rehabilitation program in order to continue to receive benefits.
Keep in mind that many policies and plans have exclusions and limitations and may not cover disabilities caused by suicide attempts, war, or attempts to commit a crime. Disabilities due to pre-existing conditions are also frequently excluded for a period of time after the plan or policy goes into effect, and some plans and policies will limit the maximum benefit period for disabilities caused by mental disorders and substance use disorders.
With individual disability policies, you can select the maximum time your benefits will be paid, subject to the insurer's underwriting guidelines. With most group disability plans, the employer selects the maximum duration of benefits. The most frequently offered maximum benefit periods are two years, five years, and to age 65. Policies with shorter maximum benefit periods will have lower premiums.
It's generally recommended that disability coverage be chosen to replace 60 to 80 percent of after-tax income. If you purchase disability insurance with after-tax dollars, your benefits will usually be income tax free. If you have group disability insurance that is paid for by your employer, however, benefits will generally be taxable.
Small business owners have special concerns in addition to protecting their income with disability insurance and should consider obtaining professional advice about disability policy options that can help protect a business if an owner becomes disabled (e.g., business overhead expense insurance and disability buy-sell policies).
To estimate the benefit amount you would need if you became disabled, ask yourself how much monthly income would cover your living expenses. Would these expenses go up or down if you became disabled? These expenses must be carefully considered. Work-related expenses may go down. Medical expenses may increase. Education expenses may increase as you retrain. Some insurance policies may have premium waivers. By considering all these factors, you should be able to come up with an appropriate amount.
To get an estimate of how much disability income insurance you would need to maintain your current standard of living, visit our Disability Needs Calculator.
Social Security. Social Security disability benefits may be available to eligible individuals prior to age 65, depending on your income and how long you have been paying Social Security taxes. However, to qualify for Social Security benefits, you generally must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of a physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or last for at least 12 months. Social Security disability benefits are not intended for temporary conditions. You should also note that Social Security's disability rules are different from those of other government or private programs. For more information on Social Security Disability benefits eligibility criteria, you may visit the Social Security Administration's website at www.ssa.gov.
There are several ways to obtain disability coverage. Some companies provide their employees with group coverage; check with your benefits specialist where you work to find out if you have or are eligible for coverage. In addition, various associations (e.g., AARP) offer disability income benefits for members. You may also purchase an individual disability policy yourself. Rates vary according to your age, health, occupation, and the policy features you choose. Here are some smart shopping tips with respect to an individual disability insurance policy:
Compare policies from at least three different insurers. Compare price, the definition of disability, and whether the policy is noncancelable or guaranteed renewable.
Buy young. Insurance generally gets more expensive as you age. Also, as you get older, you may develop health problems that could preclude coverage.
Buy a noncancelable policy. If you have this type of policy, the company cannot change your premiums or cancel your coverage as long as you pay your premiums on time. In addition, if you purchase your policy at a younger age, you'll be able to lock in a lower premium.
Increase the waiting period. Longer waiting periods will reduce your premiums. Be sure you have enough savings to cover a longer waiting period and/or will receive extended sick pay through your employer. If you're trying to trim the cost of a policy, having benefits payable through age 65 is generally more important than a short waiting period.
Choose a financially strong insurer. Independent agencies such as Standard & Poor's and Moody's rate the financial health of insurance companies.
You will need written proof of your disability to file a claim. Your insurer may also require medical records from your doctors concerning the details of your disability. Your insurer may also want you examined at their cost and/or may require financial information from you.
Your benefits will begin accumulating after you have been disabled for the predetermined waiting period. If you return to work before the waiting period is over, you most likely will not be eligible for benefits. Note that the premiums for your disability policy are usually waived during your disability.
Like most disability income insurance policies, MetLife's policies contain certain exclusions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your representative about costs and complete details.
All policies and riders may not be available in all states, at all issue ages and to all occupational classes. Ask your representative for complete details. Eligibility is subject to underwriting approval.
For policies issued in New York: These policies provide disability insurance only. They do NOT provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The expected benefit ratio for these policies is at least 50%. This ratio is the portion of future premiums that MetLife expects to return as benefits when averaged over all people with the applicable policy.
The information contained in this document is not intended to (and cannot) be used by anyone to avoid IRS penalties. This document supports the promotion and marketing of insurance or other financial products and services. Clients should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor since any discussion of taxes is for general informational purposes only and does not purport to be complete or cover every situation.
MetLife, its agents, and representatives may not give legal, tax or accounting advice and this document should not be construed as such. Clients should confer with their qualified legal, tax and accounting advisors as appropriate.
Disability insurance is issued by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on IDI2000-P/NC, IDI2000-P/NC-ML, IDI2000-P/GR, AH 5-88, AH 6-90, AH 7-96-CA, AH 8-96-CA and IDIP12-01-IDIP12-05, IDIP12-08. May 2014
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166
|• Not FDIC-Insured • Not Insured By Any Federal Government Agency
• Not Guaranteed By Any Bank Or Credit Union
The Essentials of Disability Insurance
No one knows what the future holds, so it's important for you to do your best to prepare for what life may bring. To help disability customers through an emotionally and financially difficult time, we created these "10 Simple Tips" to share our point of view and provide guidance and answers to common questions about disability insurance. Certainly everyone's circumstances are different, but these will help you get started and make the best decision based on your specific needs.
If you or others depend on your income - you need it.
If you have people who depend on your income - or if you depend on your income – you need disability insurance. Many people may be surprised to learn that social security disability benefits are not available if you are expected to be out of work for less than a year.1 One year without income could deplete your savings and have a significant impact on your finances.
Disability insurance replaces a portion of your income when you can't work.
If you were unable to work due to illness or injury, disability insurance can help to pay your most essential expenses, including food, utilities, school tuition, home and car payments.2
Most long-term absences are due to illnesses, not accidents.
While many people think that disabilities are typically caused by accidents, the majority of long-term absences are actually due to illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. In fact, only 10% of long-term disabilities are due to injury.3
You need it even if you're young and healthy.
Almost 1 in 4 of today's 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.4
What's more, it's easier and less expensive to get disability insurance when you're young and healthy
The risk of a disability during your working years may be greater than you think.
The risk of suffering a disabling illness or injury may be more likely than you realize. In fact, the average 20 year old is twice as likely to become disabled than to die before age 67.5 Disability insurance helps you to maintain a steady stream of income when you can't work due to illness or injury.
A good rule of thumb is to protect 60-80% of your after-tax income.
You will need to meet your essential living expenses if you should become disabled. 72% of consumer expenditures are to cover essential expenses like housing, food, transportation, health care and education.6 Visit the easy-to-use Disability Needs Calculator to help determine what amount of disability insurance is most appropriate for your situation.
Some disability insurance is better than no disability insurance.
When budgets are especially tight, it still makes sense to buy enough disability insurance to cover the rent or mortgage and keep your family in their home should you become disabled. Disability insurance is more affordable than you may think. For example, a healthy 35 year-old male may obtain a $1,000 monthly benefit for an initial premium of approximately $25 per month.7
Make sure you know how much disability insurance you get at work.
A good place to start is to see if disability coverage is made available to you at work. You might want to look carefully at coverage, however, since group benefits alone may not be enough due to the amount of income being replaced, potential benefit limitations and types of income covered.
There is no substitute for good advice.
Good advice on how much insurance is right for your needs can be found in a variety of places. Some prefer talking to a trained financial professional, while others prefer to do research online. Whichever approach works best for you, taking action to protect you and your family with disability insurance is an important part of a strong financial plan.
The financial strength and reputation of the company you buy from matters.
When you purchase disability insurance, the company you buy from is making a long-term commitment to you. If you become disabled, there is a chance you will receive benefits for an extended period of time, so it makes sense to buy from a company with experience, financial strength and a solid reputation.
So many people like you recognize the need for disability insurance, but don't move forward because they don't feel they have a reliable place to start. Start here. No one will call you. But if you want, you can always call on us.
For more information, visit metlife.com or call 1-877-SNOOPY-7.
1 2011, Social Security Administration Web site, http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html
2 Disability benefits begin to accrue after completion of the elimination period
3 2013 Long Term Disability Claims Review, Council for Disability Awareness
4 Social Security Fact Sheet, Aptil 2012
5 Social Security Fact Sheet, April 2012
6 Consumer Expenditures (US Department of Labor Statistics, October 2010)
7 Actual rates will vary based on factors including the applicant's age, health, occupation and state of residence as well as the amount of coverage, maximum benefit period, waiting period and carrier issuing the coverage. Initial rates may increase.
Like most disability income insurance policies, MetLife's policies contain certain exclusions, waiting periods, reductions, limitations and terms for keeping them in force. Ask your representative about costs and complete details. For policies issued in New York: These policies provide disability income insurance only. They do NOT provide basic hospital, basic medical or major medical insurance as defined by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The expected benefit ratio for these policies is at least 50%. This ratio is the portion of future premiums that MetLife expects to return as benefits when averaged over all people with the applicable policy.