As of 2019, the baby boomer generation includes all individuals within the 55 to 75-year-old age range – or approximately 75 million people in the U.S. today.
If you find yourself on the wiser, more experienced end of this group, the time to put an individual disability insurance plan in place has passed. Hopefully, most of your financial needs are now accounted for, and you are enjoying a happy, healthy retirement.
However, if you are in your 50s and still haven’t invested in this type of income protection, you should consider applying online for disability insurance. In this article, we explain why it’s better late than never to protect your source of income with disability insurance.
Risk of nonfatal injuries & illnesses among baby boomers
The probability to develop complications of certain body systems (skeletal, muscular, circulatory, digestive) increases with age. So it should come as no surprise that the likelihood of experiencing becoming unable to work due to a health condition increases with age.
According to an aging workforce report, approximately 40% of individuals aged 55 to 64 suffer from at least two chronic conditions. Similarly, the probability of experiencing a disabling event also increases as one grows older. The report reveals that approximately 13% of individuals aged 35-64 have a disability. Common disabilities that impact one’s ability to earn an income include:
- Difficulty walking and climbing stairs.
- Loss of vision, hearing, and cognition.
Furthermore, there is a 30% chance that a baby boomer suffering a devastating illness or nursing an injury will stay home at least 2 months before going back to work. According to a CDC report, workers aged 55-64 spend an average of 35 days out of work after sustaining occupational injuries. Male workers with hip injuries are said to be absent from work for more days than their female counterparts.
Perhaps the most compelling case in favor of disability insurance can be found in the reasons people file claims for benefits. Approximately 90% of all disability claims stem from medical illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease – not physical injuries. And even the most common physical conditions that do lead to claims, such as arthritis and back pain, are hardly isolated. They develop gradually over time, and rarely get any better.
What is disability insurance?
Disability insurance – also known as disability income insurance – is the most cost-effective way to protect your paycheck from injury and illness. In the event that you become too sick or hurt to work, disability insurance will replace the majority of your income will your recover.
Policies typically pay benefits equal to 50-60% of earned income – either until you resume work or until your benefit period expires. Individual coverage is a critical component of everyone’s financial safety net, from manual laborers to high-income earners.
To figure out how much you can expect to pay per month, get a free, personalized disability insurance quote from Breeze. You can check your coverage options in just a few seconds, and get covered in as little as 15 minutes.
Why you should invest in disability insurance early?
The earlier you apply for disability insurance coverage, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Here’s why.
- Individual disability insurance is nearly impossible to obtain after retirement: Most insurers stop paying disability benefits when policyholders reach age 65. Furthermore, you’ll become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, and will no longer need disability insurance once you reach retirement age.
- Monthly premium rates increase with age: Like other types of insurance, disability income protection is much cheaper when you are young. This is because you are healthier and less vulnerable to ailments and injuries. As you grow older and more vulnerable, disability insurance becomes more expensive. So, buying disability insurance during early on in your career ensures that you will pay premiums at the same low rate even as you grow older.
- Pre-existing conditions could leave you ineligible for coverage: Many insurers will not only consider your age, but they will also consider your health condition before approving your application for coverage. In case you develop a health problem before getting coverage, you could be ineligible for coverage. This means that any disability that can arise due to a pre-existing condition could make you ineligible for disability benefits. Therefore, it’s best to apply for coverage before you develop a health condition.
Other options for baby boomers
If you are past the retirement age and are still employed, there are various insurance coverage options that may come in handy as well.
- Group disability insurance: Although it’s not nearly as comprehensive, group disability insurance is an excellent option that could cover you when your individual disability insurance plan expires.
- Long-term care insurance: This is a type of insurance is similar to disability insurance in that it starts to provide benefits when your health has greatly worsened. This coverage will pay for expenses incurred at an assisted living facility or nursing home. It can also pay for an in-house caregiver. However, it does not replace your income.
- Supplemental security income: This is a program that caters to blind or disabled individuals with low income. You are eligible to receive SSI payments if you are between 18 and 65 years, and as long as you meet the agency’s eligibility criteria. If you’re 65+ but are not disabled, you may also qualify for SSI payments as long as you do not exceed the financial limits.
While focusing on your health and well-being throughout your working lifetime is important, doing so won’t rule out the unexpected. That’s why it’s important to invest in disability insurance sooner than later to protect your most valuable asset – your income.
As a baby boomer, it makes more sense to invest in this type of insurance now, before complications that are linked to old age start to manifest and it’s too late. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to find affordable disability insurance coverage. Breeze allows individuals to get instant disability insurance quotes, and apply online in minutes.