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    Women are three times more likely to be disabled on the job.

    Disability Insurance and Women

    Women More Vulnerable continued...

    Yet a woman in her prime working years is much more likely to become disabled -- permanently or temporarily -- than a man. According to the Journal of the American Society of Certified Life Underwriters, a 35-year-old woman in a professional position is three times as likely as a man of the same age to become disabled for 90 days or more.

    A company isn't required by law to offer long-term disability insurance -- so many don't. If your company does, it's important to understand exactly how much reimbursement to which you'll be entitled. Disability benefits rarely cover 100% of a worker's income; typically they add up to around 60% of your gross salary -- which can leave you short in meeting your monthly bills.

    Many women believe they can rely on Social Security Benefits as potential income. But according to the 1998 Social Security Handbook, a full five calendar months must pass before the government can provide any disability benefits. And to qualify for benefits, your disability must not only prevent you from performing any type of gainful employment, but it also must either last at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.

    How Much is Enough?

    To determine how much disability insurance you need, the California Department of Insurance suggests you add up your necessary monthly expenses -- such as housing, car loans, food, utilities, and child care -- and then subtract any investment income. This is the amount you need to cover expenses in case of disability.

    Then add up whatever monthly long-term disability payments you would get from you employer, and add to it your spouse's take-home pay. This is your income in case of disability.

    If your second subtotal is greater than your first, you probably have adequate coverage. But if your second subtotal is smaller than the first, subtract your spouse's take-home pay from the first subtotal to see how much additional monthly coverage you should get for yourself.

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