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Short-Term Disability The advantage of short-term disability is the immediacy of the benefit. It pays out quickly when you are temporarily injured or unable to work. It often kicks in right away or within a couple of weeks, although some policies can have longer waiting periods. When you can't work, it's nice to have income replacement as soon as possible. For this reason, if you're evaluating short-term disability insurance policies, you'll want to be sure to pay attention to the waiting period (often called the "elimination period") before the policy starts paying you. What are the downsides of short-term disability? Sometimes it can be expensive. In some cases, it can be as expensive as long-term disability; you'll want to compare costs. Other disadvantages include low payouts and inconvenient waiting periods, as mentioned earlier. Long-Term Disability The biggest benefit of long-term disability insurance is it can pay out when you're disabled and unable to work for an extended period—which you'll be grateful for 78 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k n ove m b e r/d e ce m b e r 2 0 2 2 essential skills | BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS Protecting Your Livelihood The Importance of Disability Insurance By Allissa Haines and Michael Reynolds As massage therapists, we rely on our bodies to deliver massage. Our incomes depend on bodies that can do the work, and if we are ever unable to provide massage, our financial security is in jeopardy. This is why disability insurance is important for massage therapists to understand. Disability insurance is insurance that kicks in when you are unable to work, such as when you have an injury, an unexpected disability, or something that inhibits your ability to work and interrupts your income. TYPES OF DISABILITY INSURANCE There are two major types of disability insurance: short-term disability and long-term disability. Short-term disability is designed to cover a disability or an injury that keeps you from working for a short time. It generally covers disabilities that last 3–6 months. It can be shorter, but in general, it's designed for injuries with a specific time frame for recovery. An example would be a broken arm. This would take a couple of months to heal and there is an expected point of full recovery. Long-term disability, by contrast, is designed for issues that keep you from working for much longer than a few months. The average claim or period for long-term disability is 35 months. However, a long-term disability may last a couple years, or it may last a lifetime. PROS AND CONS As a massage therapist, should you have disability insurance? If so, what kind? It's difficult to give general recommendations without knowing more about a specific situation, but let's cover some concepts that can help you better understand your needs and options. JACKSON SIMMER/PESELS

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