What Happens If YOU, the Mason Contractor Got Hurt and Couldn’t Work?

Words: Bronzella Cleveland

For starters, the average American has no idea just how physical doing mason work is. This makes the title of this article even more important.

There’s one thing that’s the foundation for all of your financial plans – YOUR INCOME. Your ability to earn a living is one of your greatest assets and it needs to be protected. 

Personal Disability Income Insurance - (DI, for short), offers income protection so that if you are unable to work for an extended period of time due to a sickness or injury, you still have money coming in.

In general, we tend to think about disability in terms of catastrophic events or accidents. However, less dramatic and much more common conditions such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes cause the majority of long-term disabilities. * 

As most of us discover, it does not take long to build a lifestyle around our paycheck. From our “must-haves” to our “would like to have”, our hard-earned income goes quickly.

Our journey in the working world is impacted by life events. Life events influence how much we rely on our paycheck.

Imagine that six months from now you’ve purchased a brand-new house you have been saving for, you have a nice car and other luxuries, but then you become sick and are unable to work due to a disability. 

How would you pay for all these things? This is where personal DI can help you. 

So, if it is so important why doesn’t everyone own a disability policy to protect their income?

According to the center of Disability Awareness 2014 disability awareness study, the following excuses have been given:

  • I can't afford it - 33%
  • I've never thought about it – 30%
  • I don't know enough about it – 24%
  • It's not available through my work – 24%
  • I don't think I'll ever be disabled – 18%
  • I don't think it's a good value – 13%
  • I don't have any dependents – 13%
  • It has never been offered to me – 13%
  • I don't think I qualify for it – 12%
  • I have other sources of income - 12%
  • I’ll still be able to do my job even if I become disabled – 9%

Other considerations

There seems to be a general misunderstanding about relying too much on Social Security disability. Qualifying for Social Security disability is far from easy. Only about 36% of applicants are approved. **

The reason is because of their strict definition of disability. It says, “the ability to engage in ANY substantial activity by reason of ANY medically determinable physical or mental impairments which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” ***

This is a very difficult hurdle to get over.

There are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration when your Social Security Disability application is being processed. Things like your age, educational background, work skills and work history will also be looked at, as well as your disability itself. 

They ARE NOT interested in whether or not you can continue work in your current occupation. All they care about is if you can work in ANY other type of work as implied by the definition. 

Let’s say you are a concrete mason and you have been working on your knees for years. Now you can’t work anymore because your knees are shot. Well, that injury wouldn’t prevent you from working as an inside sales representative. Afterall, you would be sitting in a chair now, not kneeling on the ground.

See what I mean by “ANY” now?

If they determine that there are other types of work that you could perform in the national economy, your application for Social Security Disability benefits will probably be denied.

This kind of coverage isn’t usually offered through your employer. And it's rarely offered from my experience in the insurance business to the masonry businesses. However, the most common type of DI plan offered through work are group disability plans. It does have some limitations, and that is a whole other subject. Anyway, in all the disability policies I have written in my career, I don’t think I have ever met a mason yet who owned his own personal disability policy until meeting me. 

We are also sick and tired of talking about insurance. We have car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, business insurance, etc., that we believe to be vital or are mandated to own. We pay an awful lot of money for it. So, when someone asks about purchasing yet another form of insurance, heads explode!

The purpose of this article is to give you something to consider for your personal benefit that you may not have explored yet. In my opinion, it is fundamentally the most important insurance you could own because if you can't work and produce an income, your whole world could collapse.

As personal lifestyles become less healthy, the population ages and medical advances continue to extend life, the risk of suffering a disability is on the rise, threatening the short- and long-term financial security of more and more people. 

This danger couldn’t come at a worse time. Today, the trend in society is to transfer more responsibility than ever before onto the worker. We have to plan for and secure our own financial futures, while our access to resources that traditionally were available to help past generations, such as pensions or employer-provided retiree health benefits, is diminishing.

The numbers say that at some time during our working careers, three out of every 10 workers will suffer a disability and be unable to work for a significant period of time.****

So where do you go from here? 

Because a loss of income can be so devastating, you need to understand how you would manage your regular expenses during a period of lost income and make sure you're prepared.

To help, below are FIVE questions you should be asking:

  1. What are my “necessary” monthly living expenses that would continue if my income stopped (e.g., rent or mortgage, utilities, food, medical insurance, etc.)?
  2. Would my personal savings pay for my “necessary” monthly expenses – for one month, three months, 6 months, longer? Would my savings cover my “out-of-pocket” medical expenses (deductibles and co-pays)?
  3. Does my employer have a sick pay plan or long-term disability program, or both? Am I participating? When would it start, how much would it pay me, and for how long?
  4. What other sources of income might be available to help me pay for my expenses, and for how long? My spouse, family, second mortgage, credit cards?
  5. Could I afford my medical COBRA premiums, and what would happen to the contributions to my 401k account?

Answering these questions is a good start to help you and your family prepare should a disability interrupt your ability to earn a living.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why people don’t get DI. The excuses they gave in the one study sound like they never took the time to google disability insurance and related topics around it.

The reasons don’t really justify risking your most important asset (in my opinion).

Whether it is available through work or not, looking into getting this type of coverage is important for you and your family. 

If you would like to learn more, and not feel pressured to buy anything like when you go to a store in the mall and you hear that familiar line, “May I help you?” I would be happy to speak with you.

Go to www.TalkToArtie.com and schedule a call with me or call my office at (732) 508-7400.

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