Employer Disability Insurance

While some employers may decide to provide some disability insurance for their employees as part of an insurance benefit package, it is not guaranteed. There is no legislation or legal requirement for employers to provide this as a benefit.

As a result, if you are particularly interested in this benefit, you may want to try to negotiate it as part of your compensation package. If you are a valuable employee that a future employer wants to attract, this could be a part of your bargaining process with that employer.

Having said that, you will usually get some kind of short-term disability insurance from your employer. Short-term disability will provide benefit's for periods less than or equal to 6 months. However, this just gets you through a crisis.

On top of everything else that you may be dealing with because of severe illness or accident, your short-term disability insurance is likely to provide too little for you to live on. Most plans only provide between 50% and 70% of your full-time salary. Also, if you get this benefit paid for by your employer, those benefit's that you receive WILL be taxable in most jurisdictions. So, you can't expect it from your employer and you have to be ready with some level of financial planning in order to weather this kind of storm, whether you get it from your workplace or not.

In the end, the numbers usually works out better if you negotiate a higher salary and use the extra to pay for your disability insurance yourself. Why? Because if you ever do have to receive benefit's, these payments will be tax-free. (The principal is based on only taxing dollars once: money on which you have paid tax cannot be taxed again. So, if you have paid tax on the dollars which paid your disability premiums, the benefit's from your insurance are then tax-free.)

If you do get this benefit paid for by your employer, negotiate both short-term disability insurance as well as long-term protection when you negotiate for that new job. While you may have to top up your coverage with an individual policy due to the taxable nature of your employer-paid insurance benefit, it will be much cheaper than having to buy the total amount of insurance yourself.

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