Disability is a significant issue in South Africa, with an estimated 7.5 million people living with the condition.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those with disabilities are more likely to face poverty, lower education levels, and unemployment.
From physical barriers to social stigmas, individuals with disabilities navigate a world that can be unsympathetic to their needs.
Many environments are not designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, creating obstacles to mobility and access.
Despite their abilities and qualifications, people with disabilities often face barriers to employment.
Discrimination, the lack of accessibility, and limited opportunities can make it challenging to maintain a job.
In addition, people with disabilities frequently encounter social stigma and prejudice, which can lead to isolation and feelings of exclusion.
However, disability insurance can provide essential support during challenging times.
Many individuals are unaware of the eligibility criteria for disability insurance. It is also important to understand that disability insurance is not solely for individuals who have permanent disabilities.
In fact, it can provide support for temporary disabilities that prevent individuals from working.
Disability insurance serves as a safety net, providing financial protection for individuals who are unable to work due to a disability.
It offers a source of income to help cover living expenses, medical bills, and other essential costs during a challenging period.
Individuals should be aware of the specific details of their disability insurance coverage, including the waiting period before benefits commence, the duration of coverage, and the process for filing a claim.
Understanding these details can help individuals navigate the complexities of disability insurance more effectively.
Some disability insurance policies offer support for individuals aiming to return to work after a period of disability.
This can include vocational training, rehabilitation services, and other resources to facilitate a successful transition back to the workforce.
Meanwhile, as disability month is commemorated, YuLife, an Insurtech start-up, highlights the importance of disability insurance and provides key facts about disabilities in South Africa.
Disabilities are more prevalent than ever, the organisation believes, adding that about 3.5% of the South Africa population experiences severe functional limitations, while 12.2% have a moderate disability.
Meanwhile, the average age of a person with a disability is just 47, and about 28% of households have a member with a moderate disability.
The rights of the disabled are protected by law, the start-up explained.
“South Africa has laws in place that protect the rights of people with disabilities and the Constitution prohibits unfair discrimination based on disability or health status,” they said.
YuLife added that disability insurance is a powerful tool.
“Disability insurance plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between societal aspirations for equity and the reality faced by people with disabilities.”
They explained that group disability insurance provides financial security, access to supportive services, and peace of mind for employees and their families. It also gives organisations a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent.
YuLife explained that disability insurance takes two forms.
“Lump sum disability cover provides a lump sum payment to members in the event of permanent disability, supporting them when they cannot earn a stable income.”
“Income protection provides a monthly payment for an agreed duration if an employee becomes unable to work due to illness or injury.”
Meanwhile, YuLife added that gamified benefits and well-being apps encourage individuals to participate in daily challenges, promoting overall health and well-being.
“Many South Africans underestimate the need for disability cover, either due to financial constraints or the belief that they won’t need it.”
“However, accidents can occur, and the severity of a disability may render individuals unemployable.”
They added that people need to consider additional back-ups like income protection, which provides a monthly payment to members who are unable to work due to illness or injury.