Americans Flock to Disability Insurance
There were more new Social Security disability insurance beneficiaries between April and June of 2012 than newly created jobs, says the Congressional Budget Office. That is consistent with a longer trend: From January 2009 to June 2012, there was a net increase of 3.6 million Social Security beneficiaries and a net decrease of 1.3 million in jobs available nationwide.
“It is clear there is a great need to distinguish between proper and improper disability claims and to better incentivize and find acceptable work for those who are able,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in an official statement on the numbers. “Today, only 1% of Social Security disability recipients ever return to work.”
Sen. Sessions is echoing widespread concerns about the sustainability of the U.S. Social Security system and is pressing for tighter controls on who qualifies for benefits and for how long and how much. If approved, reforms would likely further restrict the ability of physicians’ and other medical professionals to collect appropriate income coverage when their careers are derailed by a debilitating injury or illness.
The best way of protecting your income as a medical professional – even from partial disability – is individual doctor’s disability insurance, particularly coverage designed as an own-occupation policy. An own-occupation policy typically pays a benefit if you are unable to work in your specialty as a result of a disability, even if you choose to work in another occupation. This is significantly different from Social Security and many less expensive or group disability plans, which often stipulate that you must be unable to work in any gainful employment in order to qualify for coverage.
Sen. Sessions warns that the Social Security Disability Insurance program is on pace to be bankrupt by 2016. Leaving your income protection up to Social Security or any other government-sponsored program is risky. Doctor’s disability insurance remains the best way to protect your income.