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disability questions
Feb 12, 2002

I am a partner in a "C" corporation in Georgia. I have worked with this company for 11 years. I'm 46 years old and am concerned about the level of disability coverage I have. As a small company, we have just now grown to 20+ employees and have just now established a Human Resources Department to serve as a peer group intermediary between my employees and The Board; which is to say that I do not have any experts related to disability. I do not believe that I have disability insurance (I have tested positive for years and I don't think disability insurance would be made available to someone with HIV). What are my social security disability benefits (I'm sure I've made maximum contributions for the past 15+ years) and what are the requirements? As a Key Employee, is there anyway to establish a level of disability insurance in addition to social security at this late date? My partners would be supportive of anything that might be available to me.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

You should have your HR Department (or your insurance broker) investigate the cost of implementing a long term disability plan for all of the employees, including the key employee. The LTD market is quite restrictive, especially for small groups. However, if this is done as a company-paid benefit, you should be able to buy a certain level of coverage for all employees without answering any medical questions. I am not sure what level of coverage will be available. It might be as low as $5,000 or $6,000/month or as high as $10,000. A standard plan would be 60% of salary up to a maximum monthly benefit. Two carriers to check with are UNUM and Prudential. You would not be able to purchase an individual disability policy with your positive HIV status.

With respect to Social Security disability benefits, the amount of the benefit payable is based on age and salary. Although I know your age, I don't have your salary information. At the highest level, which would be for someone earning $84,900 or more, the benefit for someone age 46 would be approximately $1,900/month.

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