Group Disability Insurance protects your employees from financial risk in the event of an employee disability.
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Recent studies have shown that one in five people will experience a disabling injury or illness before the age of 65. Without the right insurance coverage, if an employee of yours suddenly becomes disabled, it could financially upend their lives. With Group Disability Insurance, your firm can offer coverage for workers who experience a disabling event.
Group Disability Insurance, sometimes called Disability Income Insurance, is a form of coverage that provides partial payment of your employees’ income in the event of a major illness, accident, or sickness of an employee. An employee’s inability to come to work due to a disability could seriously impact his or her financial standing and may lead to severe hardship for the employee and his or her family. As a business owner, you should take this into consideration when deciding on the kinds of benefits to provide your employees.
Group Disability Insurance provides income replacement benefits to employees while they are unable to work, maintaining their standard of living until they can hopefully return to their job. Moreover, Group Disability Insurance can give your employees and their families peace of mind, knowing that their employer has gone through the necessary steps to provide coverage in the event of an unfortunate illness or disability.
Group Disability Insurance is important for small businesses, especially in a competitive hiring environment. Smaller businesses may be up against larger companies with the financial backing to offer generous benefits packages. In a hot job market, it’s crucial to consider how your benefits package stacks up against those of other companies and how that will impact your ability to attract and retain top-notch talent. Group Disability Insurance provides a layer of financial protection for your employees and, as part of a comprehensive benefits package, can play an important role in employee retention and talent acquisition.
Some examples where Group Disability Insurance could come in handy:
- An employee is injured unexpectedly and cannot continue his normal working hours
- One of your employees must go on maternity leave after the birth of her baby
- Your employee develops a chronic condition that severely impacts his ability to perform the duties required of his job
Group Disability Insurance is applicable to all businesses and is an important consideration for companies looking to provide comprehensive benefits to their employees. While generally not required by law, there are a handful of states that do have some form of state-mandated temporary disability benefits requirements for employers, including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.
According to the 1985 Commissioner’s Individual Disability Table A, 50 percent of Americans will become disabled for 90 days or more between the ages of 35 and 65. There is a good chance that some of your employees will deal with a temporary or permanent disability during the course of their careers. As a business owner, you should consider offering disability coverage for when something like this occurs in order to minimize the financial risk to your employees.
From the perspective of your employees, it is important for you to offer Group Disability Insurance to protect them from the risk of losing financial stability in the event of an accident, injury, or illness. Not only does Disability Insurance protect your employees, but it also helps your business in attracting and retaining talent at your organization. These days, employees are becoming more and more aware of the kinds of benefits that employers are offering. In order to be a competitive player for talent, you should consider offering Group Disability Insurance as a part of an attractive benefits package.
Group Disability Insurance is often provided by an employer to their employees. Typically, when an employer purchases Group Disability Insurance, coverage is applicable to all employees, regardless of pre-existing health conditions.
Group Disability Insurance only applies to employees that are employed by the business owner. Therefore, once employees leave your business, they cannot take the coverage with them. Generally, Group Disability Insurance has lower premiums than individual disability insurance and offers less extensive benefits than individual disability insurance.
Individual disability insurance is guaranteed by individual and has no ties to the employer. Each applicant is individually underwritten by the insurance company, therefore each plan is catered to the individual. Individual disability insurance often has higher premiums, but it also offers more extensive coverage and better benefits. In many cases, employees may opt to purchase an individual disability policy to supplement the more generalized Group Disability Insurance offered by their employer.
Group Disability Insurance provides a percentage of pre-disability income if an employee is unable to work due to illness or injury for a specified period of time. The percentage of income that is covered can range, but typically employers purchase plans that cover 50 to 60 percent of income. A common misconception of Group Disability Insurance is that it can cover medical costs. This is untrue, as Group Disability Insurance only provides income or wage replacement benefits.
Group Disability Insurance plans also often take into account disability payments or benefits that an employee may receive from other sources, like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or workers’ compensation. Generally, policies are constructed so that the amount of employee income that is covered is reduced by the amounts payable by other sources, so that the employee doesn’t end up receiving more compensation while disabled than while actively working.
Typically, you will find that there are two types of Disability Insurance available in the market as an employer. These two forms of Disability Insurance are based primarily on the projected length of time of the disability, and as such are called short-term disability and long-term disability.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
This type of insurance will cover an employee who suffers an illness or injury that renders him or her disabled and unable to work. Short-term disability (STD) will cover a portion of the employee’s lost wages or income. Typically, this is a fixed percentage of your employee’s income. For example, STD may cover 60% of an employee’s income. STD is used primarily to protect the employee with income protection.
Short-term disability usually kicks in shortly after the date of the debilitating injury or illness. STD typically lasts for less than a year. Depending on the disability insurance plan, you may have a waiting period of a few business days before your employees receive their payment.
Some common life events that are typically covered by short-term disability include:
- An unexpected disabling injury
- Pregnancy or birth of a child
- Prolonged sickness
- Post-operative recovery after surgery
Long-Term Disability Insurance
As its name suggests, long-term disability (LTD) insurance typically begins once your employee’s STD benefits come to an end. There is usually a waiting period before long-term disability comes into its full effect; this time can range between 90 to 180 days. The purpose of long-term disability insurance is to assist your employee in the event of a longer-term disability that directly affects his or her ability to continue working.
Long-term disability usually provides coverage until your employee can return to work or is no longer disabled. In some cases, LTD may also cover a person until they reach Social Security retirement age.
Some common life events that are covered by long-term disability insurance may include:
- Chronic illness
- Mental illness or mental disorder
- Degenerative diseases without a cure
- Back pain
- Accidental injuries that have a prolonged effect
- Cardiovascular disease
- Circulatory diseases
- Heart attack
The main difference between workers’ compensation insurance and Group Disability Insurance is that workers’ comp provides benefits to employees that suffer work-related accidents, injuries, or illnesses while working for your business.
Workers’ compensation may be required by your state in order to conduct business. In the event one of your employees is injured or becomes ill in your workplace, workers’ compensation covers both lost income and medical expenses for work-related events. However, workers’ compensation will not cover any accident, injury, or illness that occurs outside of the workplace or is unrelated to work.
As such, it is crucial to still consider Group Disability Insurance to cover any costs that may occur as a result of non-workplace related accidents, injuries, and illnesses for your employees.
As a business owner, there may be many benefits to offering Group Disability Insurance to your employees. Not only will it benefit and protect your employees in the event of a debilitating injury or illness, but it can also be a compelling part of an employee benefits package that will attract top talent in your field. The risk of an employee developing a short-term or long-term disability is real, and many employees seek out employers who can provide financial protection in the event of an injury. With Group Disability Insurance, your business can provide critical financial support for employees in their time of need.