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Keeping SSDI funded: Because disability could happen to you

Although few like to admit it, we are all susceptible to bias in our decision-making. Among the most common biases is short-sightedness based on previous personal experience. Planning for disability is a good example of this phenomenon.

If you have been relatively healthy for most of your life, it is easy to assume that things will always be this way. You may wonder why you have to pay taxes to support programs like Social Security Disability Insurance that you will never actually need. Many people feel this way – until they become disabled.

The statistics on disability in America are eye-opening. According to the Social Security Administration, working Americans who are 20 years old today have a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled or dying before reaching retirement age. A 25 percent chance is significant, even scary.

Statistically speaking, the odds of reaching retirement age disability-free are in your favor. But the reason we invest in insurance is to protect us in case we are part of that unfortunate 25 percent.

Yes, private disability insurance is available, but such plans are not nearly as affordable or as comprehensive as Social Security Disability Insurance. It is a resource that is often undervalued, and that attitude threatens the long-term viability of the program.

If you are young and/or healthy today, you have much to be grateful for. At the same time, it is important to recognize that health is fragile and could change very quickly. For this and other reasons, we all have a vested interest in protecting the future of SSDI and keeping it adequately funded.

Source: Marshfield News Herald, "Facts about Social Security Disability," Michelle McDougal, July 26, 2014

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