Teacher becomes disability insurance advocate


Teacher becomes disability insurance advocate

Our paychecks are important – every single cent of them. That’s why it can be difficult to make extra deductions when you rely on it. When it comes to disability insurance, many people feel like it’s an expense they can do without.

But Dr. Bonnie Vause, a special education teacher and past president of Johnston County Association of Educators, knows all too well the safety net it can provide.

VauseVause, who serves on numerous Educational Committees and Boards for North Carolina – N.C. Public School Children, N.C. Governor’s Teachers Committee, has had a Colonial Life policy for about 10 years.

The 57-year-old Wilson County, N.C., resident didn’t think she’d have to use it at this stage of her career, as most short-term disability claims are caused by maternity leaves. But when she had to miss work for shoulder surgery, she said she didn’t worry because she thought Colonial Life had always done great work and provided for customers in times of need.

Vause previously had to use sick time before she was covered for disability leave. She said she was surprised when the first check appeared from Colonial Life.

“But there was no mistake, and it helped me during the time I was out,” she said.

As a doctor of education, she has student loans, and the coverage helped her to stay up-to-date on her finances.

“You get nervous when you have to be out of work, and the last thing you want to do when you’re sick is worry about monthly bills,” Vause said. “But Colonial Life is there to back you up, and disability insurance is ‘your’ insurance on your salary. It’s your money, and you can use it to pay the bills you have when you’re out of work.”

Read more WorkLife stories about how disability insurance can protect your income:

What exactly is disability insurance?

Know the basics of disability insurance

No savings? 4 ways to protect yourself in financial emergency

Too healthy for disability insurance? Think again.

3 tips for managing money on disability


Vause, who’s been teaching in the same county for 25 years, takes time every year to make sure her colleagues who have questions completely understand disability insurance and how it can be used to replace income when you’re unable to work. She always suggests other teachers elect to have disability insurance as protection against monthly bills and rising medical costs. It’s something she wishes she had been told when she first started teaching.

“I’ve known several colleagues through the years, and many of them think they can’t afford it,” Vause said. “But I ask them if they can afford not to have it – could you afford to go three months without paying your rent or your mortgage? Of course you couldn’t.”

She once suggested a colleague take out a disability policy, and the advice turned out to be “lifesaving.” The colleague planned to be out of work for six weeks following the birth of her child; however, she ended up being out much longer. A disability policy helped her coworker keep her monthly bills current.

“Real life happens, and things you don’t plan on happen,” Vause said. “You really don’t think you’ll ever need it, but when you do, you’re so glad you took the time to understand the policy. It can make or break your finances. I am glad I’ve trusted this company to represent me and other colleagues.”

The policy or its provisions may vary or be unavailable in some states. The policy has exclusions and limitations which may affect any benefits payable.  

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