Monday, July 9, 2012

In a given moment

We are moms. Packers of the lunches, teachers of the minds, drivers of the children. We are all-powerful, right? It would be nice to think so.

My family knows all too well that anything can happen in a given moment. One glance away can mean a fall. One normal, innocent step can turn into trauma. Paralysis. Life-altering moments are not picky; they strike children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, and brothers. All races. All body types. Any level of education. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that we have a one in five chance of becoming disabled in our lifetime. For some, this is an “old age thing”. But for others, the hand of fate barges in when no one was ready.

Before July 2010, I never thought twice about long-term disability (LTD). It was another cost on my open enrollment forms each year, which I happily bypassed. LTD means a nursing home, right? I have no need for that – I’m young, I’m healthy! My perspective changed once I saw how crucial LTD became in a loved one’s life.

Imagine your new life with paralysis. One unforeseen accident changes it all. You cannot move for weeks. You cannot perform basic skills, like getting out of bed unassisted or washing your hair (and trust me, we take for granted how easy it is to reach the sink to brush our teeth!). Imagine being hospitalized for weeks and sweating it out in rehab for months. Driving to work is not an option, possibly for an entire year.

Can you afford it? Medical bills are astronomical in this type of situation. Health insurance only goes so far; once they require you to leave the hospital or rehab, you have limited assistance with needs that have become crucial to living again; things such as in-home care, physical therapy, nutrition, equipment. And without the income you are used to from your job, this can be devastating.

Our family member’s long-term disability insurance allowed her a nice chunk of her usual income, and that money became truly invaluable. She had signed up for LTD for the very first time, only seven months prior. We reflect back on that decision often and are so thankful for it.

We signed up for LTD in open enrollment this year. As only a part-time working mom, I do not have the kind of income needed to keep my family afloat should something happen to my husband. And should an unforeseen incident happen to me, I do not want to burn up his hard-earned income on medical supplies. We want to keep our daughter in a safe and comfortable home. Forever, if we have our say.

It only takes a moment for life to change. You can take a few extra moments now to protect your family financially. It is so much more important than I had ever imagined.

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This post was written in partnership with Genworth Financial. All of the above is a true story, written by yours truly.

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