Variable Income and Disability Insurance Coverage

Dec 19, 2018 | Blog |

Chicago Disability Lawyers

If you work as a freelancer, salesperson, or in some other capacity where your income is variable on a day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month basis, then you may be concerned about the potential impact on your disability insurance plan and the benefits that you are entitled to receive (in the event that you do actually suffer a disabling injury, illness, or condition).

Policyholders with variable income may find they are at something of a disadvantage.  Insurers are constantly looking to minimize their costs, and if you have a variable income, they will almost certainly look to underestimate your income so as to lower the payout.  As the insurance policyholder, however, you are entitled to challenge an insurer’s decision to wrongfully deny, undervalue, and mishandle your claim.

Let’s take a closer look at variable income.

Variable Income Means Something Different for Everyone

There are many different types of “variable income” earners.  Some employees are paid a base salary, and receive a significant year-end bonus, while others are paid a significant portion of their total earnings in the form of customer tips.  Others are self-employed freelancers who earn on a project-by-project basis, and for whom work (amount, pay) can vary quite significantly on a weekly or monthly basis.

Disability insurance coverage is varied enough to suit the needs of each different type of variable income earner.

Disability Insurance Coverage Plans Can Vary in Terms of How Variable Income is Handled

Private disability insurance plans are quite diverse and customizable, on the whole.  Plans may evaluate your income (for the purpose of determining your monthly benefit in the event of a disabling injury or illness) differently.

Most plans determine your benefits amount by evaluating your monthly salary — this does not typically include supplemental income, such as bonuses, commissions, tips, and other compensation.  Some plans, however, are intended for those who are reliant on variable income.  These plans account for income earned through supplemental sources, such as overtime, bonuses, commissions, etc.  Service workers, salespersons, and freelancers/contractors generally require the latter type of insurance coverage.

If you have variable income, then it’s also important that your plan “average” your earnings so that your monthly income is derived based off your total annual income.  For example, some plans will calculate your benefit by averaging your earnings over the course of a year (prior to the disabling injury or illness).  This might also be a disadvantage if you’re a freelancer and having a “bad year,” however.  An alternative is to look for an insurance plan where they are willing to average your earnings over a longer period of time to get a more accurate evaluation of your monthly income (i.e., earnings averaged over a two year period).

Contact an Experienced Team of Chicago Disability Lawyers for Assistance

Here at the Bryant Legal Group, P.C., our attorneys have decades of experience representing private disability claimants in a range of disputes with their insurers, including those that involve wrongful denial of benefits or other insurer-related mishandling of a claim.

We have a fundamentally client-oriented approach to legal advocacy — unlike many of our competitors, we work closely with our clients at every stage of the dispute to ensure that we have all the information we need (and the “go ahead” of the client) necessary to act decisively on their behalf.  Over the years, this aggressive and well-informed approach to litigation has helped us recover significant benefits and compensation for our clients.

Ready to speak to an attorney about your disability insurance claim?  Call (312) 634-6160 or send us a message online to request a consultation with one of the experienced Chicago disability lawyers at Bryant Legal Group, P.C.

Bryant Legal Group - Chicago Healthcare and Disability Attorneys


"Mr Bryant, his partner Jennifer Danish and associate Steve Jackson were efficient, diligent and persistent towards finding a just resolution and favorable outcome for myself and my entire company."

"I used Jennifer Danish for a disability claim. Frustrated that I couldn’t get results myself I found her. She unearthed some issues my doctor did Not notify me of that affect the quality of my life. My end result was positive!"

"Mr. Jackson did an outstanding job in relation to my case. He insured I was. Both prepared as well as informed regarding the hearing. I would highly recommend his skills and personal dedication to the client."

"Though difficult for the obvious reasons, your involvement has made this process infinitely more tolerable. Please know of my sincere appreciation for your efforts. With Very Best Regards,"

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