Available through the workplace, disability insurance helps cover your expenses if you become unable to work due to illness or injury.
The definition of disability will vary depending on your employer's plan. Some policies consider you disabled when you're unable to perform your job duties, while others pay only if you're unable to perform in any job suitable for you based on your training, education and experience. Other policies 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 some policies 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. Other policies and plans may include a rehabilitation provision that requires you to take part in a vocational rehabilitation program in order to continue to receive benefits.
Keep in mind that many policies and plans have exclusions and limitations and may not fully cover certain disabilities and pre-existing conditions. Benefits differ from company to company, so speak with your benefits administrator for your workplace’s complete plan details.
Benefits may begin after you have met an elimination period – a plan-defined period of time, starting with the date you are disabled from work and the number of days you must continue to be disabled until benefits may begin. Most group long term disability plans have an elimination period of 90 days or 180 days. Under most group plans, generally the employer selects the elimination period.
When you choose disability coverage, consider how long you can manage without a paycheck. If you have significant savings, you may be willing to choose a longer elimination period. Typically, the longer the elimination period, the lower the premium.
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 typically have lower premiums.
Disability coverage that replaces at least 60 percent of your after-tax income is generally recommended.
To estimate the benefit amount you would need if you became disabled, ask yourself how much monthly income would cover your living expenses. Household expenses may include mortgage and car payments, groceries and child care. Consider all these factors to help you come up with an appropriate amount.
The MetLife Disability Calculator is another handy resource you can use to estimate the amount of disability insurance income you would need to help maintain your current standard of living.
Social Security disability benefits may be available to eligible individuals who experience a disability that is expected to last longer than one year, in addition to other requirements. 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, visit the Social Security Administration's website at www.ssa.gov.
Check with your workplace benefits specialist to find out if your company offers group disability insurance, and if you are eligible. If so, your benefits administrator can provide you with plan details.
You will need written proof of your disability from your treatment provider(s) to file a claim. You may also need to provide additional medical records concerning the details of your disability. Your insurer may also want you examined at their cost and/or may require financial information from you. Please see your company’s benefits administrator for details.
MetLife offers various ways to submit your claim based on your plan, including online, mail, phone and fax options. Plus, you can count on MetLife to provide caring, compassionate and accurate claims service if and when you experience a disability.