Northwestern Mutual

Disability Income Insurance

Don’t let an unexpected injury or illness put your financial future in jeopardy. Let a Northwestern Mutual financial professional show you how disability income insurance can help protect your most valuable asset – your ability to earn an income.

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Disability Insurance Landing Page


Most people understand the need for health insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance and car insurance. But what if the unexpected happened and you suddenly were not able to earn a living because of illness or injury?

See the impact a disability could have on your ability to meet your living expenses and how disability income insurance could help you stay on track to financial security.

Disability Income Calculator

Many employers provide this coverage at no cost to you. Not sure if you have this benefit? Ask your supervisor or human resources department.

Calculate Your Monthly Expenses


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Your Monthly Income
Your Monthly Income With Individual Disability Insurance*

* Disability insurance products contain exclusions and limitations that could affect individual coverage. The amount shown for individual disability insurance benefit may not be available or may be less if you have other disability coverage.

Group disability insurance benefits from an employer typically replace about 60 percent of base salary. If your employer pays for this benefit, taxes will be taken out. Could you live on less than 60 percent of your current salary?

When you purchase individual disability income insurance and have a covered disability, you may receive tax-free benefits that replace a portion of what you earned while working.

How Disability Income Insurance Works

Disability income insurance does what no other form of insurance specifically can do: protect your ability to earn an income. If you found yourself suddenly unable to work because of illness or injury, disability income insurance could help you maintain your lifestyle and preserve your savings for other long-term needs

Disability income insurance from Northwestern Mutual is designed to:

  • Replace a portion of your income to help you meet current expenses.
  • Pay benefits for a predetermined number of years (until you either return to work or reach retirement age).
  • Provide benefits that are free from income taxes, assuming you pay your premiums with after-tax dollars. 
  • Complement any group short- or long-term disability plan you may have through your employer. 
  • Go with you; you own the policy and can keep it no matter where you work, as long as you continue to pay premiums. 

Individual Disability Income Insurance

1 in 4 employees will be disabled for three or months during their careers

If your employer offers a comprehensive package of benefits, you may have access to group disability insurance at work. That’s a great starting point, but you may also want to consider supplementing that coverage with individual disability income insurance from Northwestern Mutual.

Here's why:

  • In using our Disability Income Calculator, you saw that most group plans cover only a portion of your income. Think about how that might impact your lifestyle and your ability to reach your goals.
  • The group plan’s definition of "salary" may exclude bonuses and commissions, which could affect your benefits at time of claim.
  • Your benefit payments at time of claim will be subject to income taxes if your employer pays the premiums with pre-tax dollars.
  • A group plan can be terminated by your employer at any time and for any reason.
  • Your coverage may also end if you leave your job voluntarily or are terminated.
  • The waiting period before benefits begin can be as short as 30 days – and as long as 720 days.
  • Group plan benefits may extend for only a short amount of time, perhaps as little as two or five years.

For these and other reasons, it’s often a smart idea to purchase an individual disability income insurance policy of your own, whether or not you have an employer-sponsored plan. Individual disability income insurance is portable; you own the policy, which means your coverage will continue wherever you work. This can help ensure you have sufficient coverage when and for as long as you need it.

How you can protect your financial security with disability income insurance

Considerations When Purchasing a Policy

To help you zero in on what might be right for you, keep these considerations in mind as you tailor your coverage:

1. How much income protection do you need? While group disability income insurance provides a solid base for all employees, many employees often need supplemental disability coverage to ensure a sufficient level of income protection. Focus on a plan that gives you the ability to cover as much of your needs as possible.

2. Understand your contract and the definition of disability. Disability income insurance can be structured a number of different ways, which is why it’s crucial to understand the language in your policy. For example, your policy will spell out when and for how long benefits will be paid; it will also outline any policy exclusions and limitations. Most importantly, your policy will provide a definition of disability that tells you under what specific circumstances you can qualify for benefits.

3. Pay attention to when benefits start. Plans may start paying benefits after 90 days (the elimination period); on the other end, some may start paying after 720 days. The more emergency savings you have, the longer you can wait for disability income, and the lower your premiums may be.

4. Get benefits that last. Most companies let you choose benefits that last two years, five years, to retirement age, or for the rest of your life. Often, it makes sense to choose a benefit period that lasts through your working years.

5. Keep pace with inflation. A cost-of-living option (“rider”) can protect your future benefits from inflation.

6. Protect your future. If you anticipate your earning power will increase significantly over time, you may want to consider a policy that offers the special option to purchase additional coverage without the need for further evidence of good health.

Work with a company you can trust.

No one knows when a disabling injury or illness could strike. That’s why it’s important that the company standing behind your disability insurance policy has the strength and stability to be there when you need it most. As one of the most prominent companies in the individual disability insurance market, Northwestern Mutual offers these important advantages:

Financial strength. We have the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major ratings agencies.1

Longevity. In 1980, there were 54 companies that were considered major competitors in the disability income insurance marketplace. Today, that number is just 11. And the only one on that list that has remained in the disability income insurance marketplace without merging its product line with another company is Northwestern Mutual.

By taking these considerations into account, you'll be well on your way to protecting your most important asset – your ability to earn an income – with quality coverage you can count on.


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