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Individual Disability and Caregiving

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What You Need to Know

  • About 53 million adults were providing care for a child or adult in 2020.
  • More than 60% of the caregivers had jobs outside the home.
  • One in four Americans has taken leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

As a broker, you are often helping your clients prepare for the future, safeguarding them against potential risks and ensuring they have enough money to maintain their lifestyle into retirement. It’s equally important to help them maintain their lifestyle if they experience a disabling event and become unable to earn their usual income before they retire.

Consequently, individual disability insurance — or IDI — is a critical part of any financial plan, because it will pay monthly benefits when your clients can’t work due to an injury or sickness.

But what if your clients have a family member with a serious health condition?

Caregiving Benefits

An important feature to look for in an IDI policy is a family caregiving benefit. A family caregiving benefit will pay clients if they must take time from work to care for a seriously ill family member. Make sure the policy you’re offering to clients includes comprehensive coverage, including a family caregiving benefit, to help provide income protection for them and their families in the case of an injury or illness.

A 2020 study showed that 53 million American adults provide care for a child or adult. 61% of caregivers were also employed, performing a balancing act to ensure their loved ones were taken care of while they continued to work.

However, some caregivers also needed to take a leave of absence: One in four Americans have reported taking leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

A Generational Issue

Your clients in the “sandwich generation” are especially at risk.

Often Millennials and Gen Xers, these clients have a greater likelihood of needing to care for both children and parents.

One-third of parents with kids ages 8 to 14 are dual caregivers responsible for an aging family member. Clients in the “sandwich generation” are more likely to need income protection that will kick in if they take time from work to care for a loved one with a serious health condition.


So how might a family caregiving benefit work? Imagine these scenarios:

  • A marketing manager’s teenage son suffers serious injuries from a car accident, resulting in an extended hospital stay. She cuts her work hours and pay so that she can be by her son’s side as he recovers.
  • A chief financial officer learns his wife has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The executive reduces his hours and pay for a period of time to care for his wife and to spend as much time as possible with her.
  • A mortgage broker’s father needs substantial supervision after suffering a debilitating stroke. He takes time from work to help his father as he undergoes rehabilitation.

In situations like these, many people would choose to spend time caring for their loved one regardless of the impact on their finances. Caring for a seriously ill or injured loved one can be stressful. However, a policy that provides benefits can help relieve the additional financial stress of income loss and medical expenses that might occur.

An individual disability insurance policy is essential for helping your clients prepare for their future. Illness or accidents can strike your clients or their loved ones at any time, so make sure the IDI policy you recommend includes a family caregiving benefit. You can provide your clients peace of mind, knowing that if the unimaginable happened to them or their loved ones, they won’t have to worry about income and can focus on what matters most: caring for themselves and their families during a tough time.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Jill Frohardt (Photo: The Standard)Jill Frohardt is second vice president for individual disability insurance sales at The Standard.