The Social Security Administration recently announcesbeneficiaries will not receive higher benefit checks for a secondconsecutive year, which, The Guardian Life Insurance Company ofAmerica says, highlights why individual disability income protection should be attainedbefore it's needed.

Of the Americans on Social Security, almost 10 million receivedisability benefits, rather than retirement. Annually,cost-of-living adjustments are automatically fixed based on aninflation measure passed by Congress in the 1970s, but earlier thisfall the Department of Labor released inflationfigures signifying consumer prices are less than two years ago,which is when COLA was last applied, leading to no higher benefitchecks in 2011.

"The official absence of inflation isn't much comfort to thoseAmericans receiving disability benefits whose savings and homevalues haven't recovered from the recession," says LawrenceS. Hazzard, vice president of product strategy atBerkshire Life Insurance Company of America, which distributesindividual disability income insurance.

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