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September 19, 2014

Bridging the disability insurance gap

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 3:47 am, Tue Jul 15, 2014.

(BPT) - For most people, the prospect of losing income due to injury or disability is a frightening one, but in reality, few believe it is a challenge they will ever personally face. Only 28 percent of employees feel confident in their ability to replace earnings in the event of a disability, according to findings from the 2014 Prudential report, Disability Insurance: Beyond Paycheck Protection. In addition, just 38 percent think their ability to pay for health care costs - such as wellness and preventative maintenance, chronic conditions, and critical illnesses, is very good.

“The reality is a vast majority of Americans underestimate their risk of becoming disabled. Helping them understand the likelihood of experiencing a disability at some point, coupled with the potentially devastating financial impact it can have, is an important foundation to help educate them on the importance of disability insurance,” says Eric Hamilton, vice president, disability products and absence management, Prudential Group Insurance.

Other findings included the fact that an impressive 82 percent of employers offered long-term disability insurance in 2013, yet 33 percent of employees still say they are without disability insurance of any kind.

The question is what steps can individuals take to help ensure they have an adequate financial safety net? According to Council for Disability Awareness, there are some basic steps that can be implemented to start bridging the gap between no protection and complete coverage:

* Complete an income/expense review: Get a clear picture of where your money is coming from and where it is going.

* Trim expenses: Look for ways to reduce spending.

* Identify alternate income sources: Does your company offer employer sick pay?

* Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Do what you can to avoid disability in the first place.

* Take action: Develop an action plan in case you are faced with a disability.

Life is unpredictable. No one plans on becoming disabled, but planning for the unexpected can bring tremendous peace of mind. To learn more about the value of disability insurance and for help determining how much you need visit www.prudential.com/view/page/public/30153.

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