YOU ASK:

Can you buy additional disability insurance beyond your employer's coverage?

WE ANSWER:

Yes, you can opt to get additional disability insurance aside from what your employer already provides. However, you should check the benefit percentage so that your additional disability insurance policy will pay you beyond what the employer's disability insurance will pay you.

You see, disability insurance, like other types of insurance, will not pay for the same thing twice, something which is called double-dipping. This happens even if you bought the policy from different insurance companies. The two policies will coordinate so that you receive the maximum benefit.

For instance, if your employer-based disability insurance protects 50% of your income and your additional disability insurance covers 65% of your income, depending on how the two policies are coordinated, you will get 50% from your employer's insurance and 15% from your additional insurance. Yes, you can't expect to receive 50% from your employer's insurance and 65% from your additional insurance.

Also, it may not make sense to get additional insurance, particularly if you are already covered with Social Security, which also has their own benefit program for disability.

However, this program is more for long-term disability, since one of the eligibility requirements is that the medical condition or injury should have lasted for at least a year or is expected to last for at least a year. In addition, if you are injured or get sick during the course of doing your job, you can also claim from workers' compensation.

There is an advantage, though, of getting private disability insurance - it is easier to make a claim against this policy than applying for disability benefits from Social Security, where the process is more stringent and disability is defined differently than how it is defined by private disability insurance.

Also, what you get from private insurance will not affect your Social Security disability benefits. Disability payments from private sources are considered as needs-based and are not part of the equation when computing for Social Security disability benefits.

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