If a worker becomes disabled, it is often more expensive to his family than if he had died. Not only is his income lost, but he must pay for medical treatment. Disability insurance aim to replace lost earnings from a disability. Losing two fingers will qualify a worker for disability benefits under policies that use a wide definition of disability but will not qualify for stricter policies and Social Security.
Disability insurance policies use different definitions of disability for an insured to qualify for benefits. One of the more common definitions is the own occupation definition of disability. A person qualifies for an own occupation definition if his disability prevents him from performing his own job. Losing two fingers could qualify you for benefits if this loss prevents you from working in your field. A surgeon who lost two fingers would qualify for this definition but a teacher probably would not.
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The any occupation definition of disability is also commonly used for private disability insurance. It is a more restrictive definition of disability than own occupation. To qualify for benefits under any occupation, you must be unable to work in any occupation. Losing two fingers would not qualify you for disability benefits under a policy using the any occupation definition of disability. Because any occupation policies are more restrictive, they are less expensive to purchase than own occupation policies.
Residual Disability Benefits
A worker may be able to continue at her own job despite a disability. Her disability may prevent her from completing certain aspects of her job and reduce her total income. A residual disability policy replaces the gap in income for a worker who is still able to work but at a lower capacity than before. Missing two fingers would qualify you for residual disability benefits if you are making less income as a result of losing the two fingers.
Social Security Disability
Social Security disability payments are made to disabled workers in the U.S. The amount that Social Security pays a worker depends on the number of years worked and the average career salary. Social Security uses a strict definition of total disability. To qualify, a worker must be unable to work in any field and must remain disabled for at least a year. Losing two fingers would not qualify you for Social Security disability payments.