Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

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jjj88
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Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by jjj88 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:00 pm

I’m a white collar worker currently evaluating purchasing LTD insurance. I’m not concenred about disability that will sideline me for < 2 yrs (able to self insure over that timeframe), but I’d like to protect against the scenario where I can’t work for a very long time. This got me thinking, what could happen that would prevent me from working at my current job for such an extended period of time? Some immediate things that come to mind are a) stroke, and b) car accident or other type of accident that paralyzes me or causes brain damage. Do any bogleheads have real world examples of a) a white collar worker being disabled for a extended time preriod and b) the insurance company paying benefits for said disability? Thanks!

BogleMelon
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by BogleMelon » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:49 pm

I don't have a real world example. But I am an accountant, I can't work without a computer, I enrolled in a private LTD plan because I fear:
- Blindness (a simple disease like diabetes could lead to that in some cases!)
- Severe carpal tunnel

Of course there are tons of other diseases that could cause unemployment for over 2 years. Cancer and its treatment could be one of them..

Private LTD is expensive, but huge relief now specially when I get back and neck pain after 6 hours setting on a desk!
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

123
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by 123 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:16 pm

Head injuries can severely limit what anyone can accomplish. It can be due to an internal cause, like a stroke, or an external injury like a fall, auto accident, assault, or a thousand other things.

Physical injuries, like head injuries, can lead to severe emotional and mental problems due to reduction of motor skills, memory issues, lack of confidence. You are no longer the person you once were.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

bankle
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by bankle » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:19 pm

Acute leukemia diagnosed at age 55. Heavy duty chemos, and bone marrow transplant, with plenty of complications, side- and after-effects - grateful to now be cancer-free, but still unable to return to work.

I was a white collar worker also. My employer (over 100 employees) offered the insurance which provides about 70% of my prior income. Sorry I don't remember how much employees chipped in to participate - it was very minimal as I recall. It was a great employer with very good benefits. The plan administrator has been very easy to work with.

No prior history of cancer in immediate family, very minimal incidence in extended family. Healthy lifestyle, no exposure to any of the known risk factors for my disease. Just my turn, my bad luck.

bankle
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by bankle » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:21 pm

Forgot to add - I've been on disability since 2014.

mhalley
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by mhalley » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:22 pm

I worked with an er doc who had back problems and was able to use his lt dis to stop working. Can’t recall how old he was, early 50’s maybe.

willyd123
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by willyd123 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:47 am

jjj88 -

One of my areas of responsibility where I work is to manage the LTD process for employees who go out on disability. In terms of examples, you wouldn't believe what we see and how tragic some of the issues are. Many of the issues are people falling (e.g., one employee was cleaning his gutters, fell off the ladder and is now a paraplegic. This employee has returned to work. We had another employee get severely burned when their gas grill blew up. This employee also returned to work eventually. We had another fall in a skiing accident and they became a quadriplegic and never returned to work. And one who fell down their stairs at home and became a quadriplegic. They never returned to work. And one recent example is a senior executive of ours came down with early onset Alzheimer's).

So I really encourage people to think about the importance of LTD insurance. Even if you are fortunate and have a lot of assets and you think you can just self-insure against a LTD issue, think about how expensive it would be for your loved ones to care for you if, God forbid, you became a quadriplegic.

SoDakJeff
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by SoDakJeff » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:01 am

bankle wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:19 pm
Acute leukemia diagnosed at age 55. Heavy duty chemos, and bone marrow transplant, with plenty of complications, side- and after-effects - grateful to now be cancer-free, but still unable to return to work.

I was a white collar worker also. My employer (over 100 employees) offered the insurance which provides about 70% of my prior income. Sorry I don't remember how much employees chipped in to participate - it was very minimal as I recall. It was a great employer with very good benefits. The plan administrator has been very easy to work with.

No prior history of cancer in immediate family, very minimal incidence in extended family. Healthy lifestyle, no exposure to any of the known risk factors for my disease. Just my turn, my bad luck.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma here. Diagnosed in 2010 at age 56. Doc wanted me off work, but I was lucky - I tolerated the chemo well and was able to work part-time. I was off work completely, though, for the 3 months during and after my bone marrow transplant. I was a lot more clueless back then and thought LTD insurance through work would only cover me for work-related illnesses or injuries, so I didn't apply for benefits at the time. After I was back at work, I discovered the error in my thinking and applied for benefits retroactively, and the company came through with a check for $18k.

Like you, my diagnosis came out of the blue. Cancer free for 8 years.

Topic Author
jjj88
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by jjj88 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:13 am

willyd123 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:47 am
jjj88 -

One of my areas of responsibility where I work is to manage the LTD process for employees who go out on disability. In terms of examples, you wouldn't believe what we see and how tragic some of the issues are. Many of the issues are people falling (e.g., one employee was cleaning his gutters, fell off the ladder and is now a paraplegic. This employee has returned to work. We had another employee get severely burned when their gas grill blew up. This employee also returned to work eventually. We had another fall in a skiing accident and they became a quadriplegic and never returned to work. And one who fell down their stairs at home and became a quadriplegic. They never returned to work. And one recent example is a senior executive of ours came down with early onset Alzheimer's).

So I really encourage people to think about the importance of LTD insurance. Even if you are fortunate and have a lot of assets and you think you can just self-insure against a LTD issue, think about how expensive it would be for your loved ones to care for you if, God forbid, you became a quadriplegic.
In your experience, how aggressive is the insurance company when it comes to the question “can this person work”? It seems like there is a lot of grey area. In your examples, some paralyzed employees returned to work and others did not....in a skeptical view of the world, I could see the insurance company saying “as long as you can sit in front of a computer screen and type, we’re not paying”.

Rupert
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Rupert » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:27 am

jjj88 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:13 am
willyd123 wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:47 am
jjj88 -

One of my areas of responsibility where I work is to manage the LTD process for employees who go out on disability. In terms of examples, you wouldn't believe what we see and how tragic some of the issues are. Many of the issues are people falling (e.g., one employee was cleaning his gutters, fell off the ladder and is now a paraplegic. This employee has returned to work. We had another employee get severely burned when their gas grill blew up. This employee also returned to work eventually. We had another fall in a skiing accident and they became a quadriplegic and never returned to work. And one who fell down their stairs at home and became a quadriplegic. They never returned to work. And one recent example is a senior executive of ours came down with early onset Alzheimer's).

So I really encourage people to think about the importance of LTD insurance. Even if you are fortunate and have a lot of assets and you think you can just self-insure against a LTD issue, think about how expensive it would be for your loved ones to care for you if, God forbid, you became a quadriplegic.
In your experience, how aggressive is the insurance company when it comes to the question “can this person work”? It seems like there is a lot of grey area. In your examples, some paralyzed employees returned to work and others did not....in a skeptical view of the world, I could see the insurance company saying “as long as you can sit in front of a computer screen and type, we’re not paying”.
For white-collar workers, it's important to purchase true own occupation LTD insurance, which would prevent the "as long as you can sit in front of a computer and type" problem you describe. Cancer and chronic-pain conditions, e.g., inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain, are conditions we see a lot in employees who apply for disability benefits. It's not so much the diseases as the treatments for the diseases that make it impossible to work full-time going forward. Fatigue and brain fog are common. I work for a law firm. I think you may be over-estimating the stinginess of disability insurance companies a bit. Our employees have had little trouble getting benefits approved so long as they had proper medical documentation.

kjvmartin
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:31 am

LTD is included by my very large employer for $40-$60 per pay period. It's a no brainer. I would estimate 99% of employees participate in the plan. We all know at least one person who has been off for an extended period of time where LTD kicked in.

Elysium
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Elysium » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:32 am

I am also interested in purchasing this insurance. Anyone has recommendations on what are some of the insurance providers and the type of insurance features to look for when selecting long term disability coverage. I recently reached out to my life insurance agent who sold me term life few years back regarding this, but his respose wasn't good, he didn't sound motivated.

Isabelle77
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Isabelle77 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:35 am

My father in law. Brain tumor caused by melanoma left him incapacitated for two+ years before his death at 61. He was an attorney and the LTD was vital to my mother in law.

Rupert
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Rupert » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:38 am

Elysium wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:32 am
I am also interested in purchasing this insurance. Anyone has recommendations on what are some of the insurance providers and the type of insurance features to look for when selecting long term disability coverage. I recently reached out to my life insurance agent who sold me term life few years back regarding this, but his respose wasn't good, he didn't sound motivated.
I'm no expert (there are experts here at Bogleheads who will hopefully chime in), but Guardian is widely regarded as the company offering the best coverage for certain white-collar professionals. You want own occupation coverage, as I noted above, which kicks in when you can no longer perform your present job. Some lesser, cheaper policies will only pay out if you can no longer perform any job. I think you also want a policy with a future increase option so that you can buy additional coverage as your salary increases without undergoing new underwriting. (Experts, please correct me if I'm wrong on that last point. I have multiple Guardian policies and get these future increase option notices all the time. My company pays for the policy, and the increase options, though, so I'm not actually handling the details.)

BogleMelon
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by BogleMelon » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:48 am

Elysium wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:32 am
I am also interested in purchasing this insurance. Anyone has recommendations on what are some of the insurance providers and the type of insurance features to look for when selecting long term disability coverage. I recently reached out to my life insurance agent who sold me term life few years back regarding this, but his respose wasn't good, he didn't sound motivated.
White coat investor blog has very useful information:
https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/disab ... roduction/

Make sure to click "Go to Part 2 of this series" to keep reading and so on. If I remember correctly it is 8 parts with 5 main LTD insurance companies suggested.
Mine is Principal due to special circumstances, but many goes with Guardian
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

Dottie57
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:55 am

Example1. My dad was 62 and a veterinarian and had big problems with his shoulders. Ltd paid him for 3 yearsuntil he hit 65. He had two surgeries during the time which helped but could not cure the problem.

Example 2. Co-worker diagnosed with ALS. He collected both SSDI and LTD insurance.

I think LTDi is as important as lfe insurance. I bought my own, until I worked for a company that had a really good employee plan.

enjoyinglife
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by enjoyinglife » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:04 am

I became disabled due to a motor nerve disease at 58 that effects my lower legs (braces on both legs) and hands. Fortunately I had purchased a private LTD policy about 10 years before to cover to difference between the company provided disability policy that paid 60% of earnings and my total compensation.

Not having to worry about financial issues when you're dealing with health issues is a blessing.

willyd123
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by willyd123 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:32 am

Regarding how challenging the LTD carriers are in terms of claims, actually in my experience, they are pretty reasonable particularly if it is a group policy purchased through an employer. They know that if they are unreasonable with a claim that this will eventually get back to their main client (the employer) and this may impact whether the employer stays with the LTD carrier or not long term. Don't know if it's any different in terms of individual policies.

We had one Alzheimer issue where the affects of the disease during the early stages would not have made it impossible for the employee to work yet the LTD carrier went ahead and approved benefits. You can imagine how difficult it would have been for this employee to be productive given the circumstances even though he theoretically could have performed the job.

eob616
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by eob616 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:22 am

Elysium wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:32 am
I am also interested in purchasing this insurance. Anyone has recommendations on what are some of the insurance providers and the type of insurance features to look for when selecting long term disability coverage. I recently reached out to my life insurance agent who sold me term life few years back regarding this, but his respose wasn't good, he didn't sound motivated.
I bought an own-occupation policy from MetLife a few years ago through Policy Genius and was pleased with their service at the time. This was pretty soon after their start-up launch, but I think they're bigger now. I appreciated working through them because I had to find a policy that wouldn't weed me out for medical history. They did the heavy lifting to find a few adequate policies that would take me, versus my having to get into an apply/reject loop.

In addition to making sure it was own occupation, I bought riders that increase the coverage/premium each year (although I have the right to decline them, and I think this stops after a few years) and guaranteed insurability if I ever want to buy more beyond that.

They describe a number of riders in a list on their site:
https://www.policygenius.com/blog/long- ... explained/

I work in a job where visual acuity is important, so I worry about an accident or illness that would cost me my vision, in addition to other situations such as those described previously in the thread.

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Tamarind
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Tamarind » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:51 am

I purchased LTD this year through Guardian. There are many things that can render a person unable to work for a long time. Among people I know, under 50, with white collar jobs, I've seen all of the following cause extended disability:

Cancers
Diabetes
Multiple sclerosis
Arthritis
Complications of pregnancy
Brain injury

Unfortunately none of these folks had their own LTD insurance. Some got partial benefits from employer provided insurance.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:18 am

I was disabled in 1999 due to an auto accident. I had an LTD policy which if I could not perform a job with the same duties, LTD would be approved. I was in a sales engineering role w/travel, so I never returned to work. After being in the hospital several months, with several operations, I returned home.

My LTD policy was with MetLife, and they were very fair. When I came home, I had SSDI and LTD already approved. A SS worker visited me in the hospital, and I allowed him to quiz my doctors. In all honesty, I experienced zero push back from SS or MetLife. I was pretty busted up so they had no fear of fraud I suppose.

Because of LTD and SSDI our standard of living didn't go down. SSDI alone wouldn't have been enough. I also had a LTC policy with MetLife that paid for my CNAs for about ten years. This allowed DW to continue working to pad her pension and 401k balances. She retired at 55 to watch grandchildren.

My LTD benefits were tax free, as I had paid the entire policy cost. MegaCorp also paid all health insurance for entire family 100%, including my life insurance, and I continued to accrue pension benefits. At age 65 I went off of LTD totally, I had reduced the amount in 2015 because I took a lump-sum pension while the interest rates were very low.

I believe a LTD policy is more important than life insurance. If you are disabled, not only might you be unable to work, but you might need continuing home health services the rest of your life. If you die, your income will be missed, but you won't be a continual drain on family resources.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Kenkat
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Re: Long term disability - any real world examples of collecting benefits?

Post by Kenkat » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:33 am

One other thing to account for is that if you are relying on employer paid LTD (which typically pays 60%), those benefits are usually taxable. If you buy a supplemental DI policy, or primary DI if you don’t have an employer paid plan, those benefits are usually non-taxable as long as the premiums were paid with after tax dollars.

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