There are many good reasons educators join their unions, like access to legal resources, access to vetted and endorsed benefits, and the protection that comes with being part of a large organization. Many unions, like California Teachers Association (CTA), take a dedicated approach to making sure their members have access to high-quality and unique benefits. For example, for members enrolled in the CTA-endorsed Voluntary Disability plans, CTA recently introduced two new benefits, a Student Loan Benefit and a Cancer Benefit.1 These benefits provide an extra layer of protection for CTA members during challenging times when they are unable to work due to a disability.
Where car insurance protects your car, and home insurance protects your home, disability insurance protects your paycheck and helps you not to worry about your income if you’re out of work for a disability due to an illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth. As a California educator, you probably aren’t eligible for state disability insurance, so after your fully paid sick leave is used up, have you thought about what you would do for income?
While you may have health insurance to cover your medical bills if you’re out on disability, health insurance pays your doctor, not you. Disability insurance pays you directly.
Do You Really Need Disability Insurance?
The risk of disability is real. More than 25 percent of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled during their career.1 No matter what your age, the top five causes of long term disability claims can affect anyone.
Are You Financially Prepared for a Period of Disability?
While you probably have health insurance to cover your medical bills, ask yourself how long can you go without a paycheck. Are you fully prepared to get through an undetermined period of time without steady income?
What Does Disability Insurance Help Cover?
Disability insurance benefits are paid directly to you, so you can use them to help pay for items that medical insurance doesn’t cover, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, child care, or even college loans.
New Student Loan Benefit
Active CTA members approved for a disability claim under the CTA-endorsed Voluntary Disability Insurance plans with an active student loan may be eligible for an additional benefit of up to $200 a month (for a maximum of $1,000, not to exceed the balance of the student loan).1
New Cancer Benefit
Active CTA members approved for a disability claim due to cancer under the CTA-endorsed Voluntary Disability Insurance plans may be eligible for an additional benefit of up to $200 a month (for a maximum of $1,000). 1
Both benefits are paid in addition to the CTA-endorsed disability benefits from The Standard and are paid directly to CTA members to help pay for everyday expenses like student loans, rent/mortgage, or child care. These extra benefits are provided by CTA at no additional cost to members and are available for qualified disability claims with a disability date on or after 9/1/2018.
What Should You Look for in a Disability Insurance Plan?
When choosing an insurance plan, it’s important to ask questions and compare different options to make sure you’re getting the best plan for your situation. Some things to consider:
- When do benefits start?
o Most disability insurance plans have a benefit waiting period—a period of time after your claim is approved but before benefits are paid.
- Are pre-existing conditions covered?
o Most insurance plans may only cover pre-existing conditions after you have been covered by the plan for a certain period of time. How long are they making you wait?
- What extra benefits are included?
o Look for plans that include extra benefits like accidental death and dismemberment insurance, benefits for dependents and survivors, or access to independent review panels.
How You Can Learn More About Disability Insurance?
California educators who belong to unions such as CTA often have access to unique benefits including disability insurance. CTA members have access to disability insurance coverage with Standard Insurance Company (The Standard) as part of their union membership. CTA members can learn more about CTA-endorsed disability insurance from The Standard by clicking here.
1 Student Loan Benefit and Cancer Benefit are offered by CTA to eligible members on approved Disability claims with a disability date on or after 9/1/2018 who meet additional specific criteria. CTA provides these benefits at no extra cost, and The Standard acts only as the claims administrator of these benefits. Student Loan and Cancer Benefits are not provided under the Disability Insurance policy.
2 Council for Disability Awareness, 2014 Long Term Disability Claims Review.
3 U.S. Federal Reserve Board, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016, May 2017.