Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merciful capitalism

On the long-term disability front, my application was approved. This should mean that the financial situation remains stable. I was fortunate to be working as a computer programmer for a company that had good benefits. The state short-term disability benefit checks appear be swindling down to nothing. I'll have to check on that. The private company that provides the long-term disability checks does so with the understanding that whatever other benefits you get will be subtracted from what they have to pay you. So for example if they guarantee you $100 a month, but you are getting $20 from the state, they will only give you $80. They also require that you apply for Social Security benefits, in order to continue the subtraction process, and if you fail to apply for Social security benefits, they will subtract from you what you would have gotten. I have completed the parts of the application that I can online, but there are some additional forms I have to send in, and I am being slothful about that.

The motivation of the LTD benefit provider is understandably to provide as little as possible for the least time possible. This is America, and they are a for-profit enterprise. They sent me a very nice letter that they will continue my life insurance policy without requiring me to pay a premium, until I turn 65 or am no longer prevented from doing any work by my disability. At which point they get to drop me. The LTD policy itself is finite in duration: They wrote me that they provide benefits for two years and then assess whether I am still prevented from doing work by my disability. What I think that means is that, two years from now, they assess me and (if I am still walking and able to move my arms), they declare me fit to flip burgers at a fast-food place, and deduct from my benefits whatever I would earn from doing that. Or, better for them, they declare me fit to do a high-paying job, and stop paying me altogether. And I'll bet that the life insurance policy then goes way because my hypothetical "new employer" will pick it up. And no, I'll bet they don't let me pay the premium, because (reasoning backward from objectives and keeping in mind that that is America) the law will work in such a way as to forbid them from canceling the life insurance policy of a dying man, but enable them to craft a set of circumstances to hand his policy off to thin air. At that point, if I still want benefits and life insurance, I'd be forced to get lawyers going to prove that I am not fit to load 16 tons.

Am I a pessimist? No, just experienced.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by