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Private disability insurance might not be enough

Some residents of Central Florida may have heard about private disability insurance, and a lucky few may even have a substantial part of their income covered in the event that they are no longer able to work. Basically, these policies, like disability benefits obtained through the Social Security Administration, will replace a part of a person's income in the event that they can no longer maintain employment because of any number of medical conditions.

These policies can be a financial lifesaver for a family facing a sudden income crisis due to an injury or illness, such that some have even deliberated whether these types of policies could help relieve the financial pressure on the Social Security program.

However, a big problem with this proposal is that, currently, private disability policies, at least those available through a person's employer, are a bit of a luxury. While the vast majority of workers with a work history could qualify for benefits under the federal SSDI program, only one in three workers have access to private disability coverage.

Moreover, while in some cases private insurance companies would be quicker to award benefits for certain conditions, the SSDI program does not put a time limit on a person's disability payments; so long as a person is legally "disabled," that person can draw benefits. Such is not always the case when it comes to private insurance.

While it is important for Florida residents to realize that private disability insurance is a financial product that may be available to them, the reality is that Social Security Disability is currently the program that reaches the vast majority of employees in this state when they find themselves medically unable to work. The program's standardized legal protections have been available for decades, and hopefully their importance will continue to be appreciated.

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