Why Every Irish Citizen Should Consider Income Protection

The Illusion of Immunity

It’s a common human tendency to believe, “It won’t happen to me.” We often feel invincible, thinking that serious illnesses or accidents are things that happen to other people, not us. Yet, many of us know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness that impacted their ability to work. The statistics might surprise you:

  • Every 3 minutes, someone in Ireland is diagnosed with cancer.
  • 1 in 2 people in Ireland will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Ireland.
  • 1 in 4 Irish individuals will grapple with mental health issues during their life.
  • In 2022, psychological illnesses like stress and depression accounted for 26% of income protection claims.
  • Also in 2022, orthopaedic conditions, including back injuries, made up 22% of income protection claims.


The Reality of Returning to Work


The journey back to the workplace after a significant health setback is not always straightforward. While many individuals can resume work within a year or two, the path to recovery varies for each person. Factors such as the severity of the illness, the type of job, and the individual’s overall health play a role in determining the duration of absence.


For some, the physical challenges might be surmountable, but the emotional and psychological toll can be more challenging to overcome. The fear of recurrence, coping with changes in physical abilities, or even dealing with the stigma associated with certain illnesses can be daunting.


Moreover, advancements in technology and shifts in job roles can mean that some individuals might return to a very different work environment. This can require retraining or upskilling, adding another layer of complexity to the return-to-work process.


Employers, colleagues, and the broader work environment play a crucial role in this transition. A supportive work culture, understanding superiors, and possibly even workplace accommodations can make the difference between a smooth return and a challenging one.


Given these uncertainties, having a financial safety net in the form of Income Protection can alleviate one major concern: the stress of income loss. With this assurance, individuals can focus on their recovery and rehabilitation, ensuring they return to work when they are truly ready, both physically and mentally.

Employer Support: A Mixed Bag

When faced with a health crisis, the support and understanding of your employer can make a significant difference. However, the extent of this support can vary widely between companies. Some employers might offer full pay for a certain period, while others might only provide partial pay or even none at all after a specific duration.


It’s essential to understand the terms of your employment contract and any sick pay entitlements. Some companies have a graded system where the longer you’ve been with the company, the better the sick pay benefits. Others might have a flat rate for all employees, regardless of tenure.


Moreover, the nature of your job and the industry you’re in can also influence the kind of support you receive. For instance, some sectors, like public service roles, might have more comprehensive sick pay policies compared to others.


Another factor to consider is the company’s size. Larger corporations might have more structured and generous sick pay schemes due to their resources, while smaller businesses might operate on tighter margins, affecting their ability to offer extended support.


Given these variables, it’s crucial to be proactive. Do you know if your employer would assist you during prolonged periods of illness? Would they be flexible with work-from-home arrangements or reduced hours? A straightforward inquiry to your HR department can shed light on the support you might expect and help you plan better for unforeseen circumstances.

State Illness Benefit: Is It Enough?

As of January 2023, the state benefit stands at €220 per week. Would that be enough to sustain your current lifestyle? For PAYE workers, the State illness benefit is available. However, if you’re self-employed, you’d need to apply for the invalidity pension, which has its own set of qualifying criteria.


Income Protection vs. Specified Illness Cover

While Specified Illness cover offers a lump sum payment if you suffer from a specified illness, Income Protection ensures a steady income if any illness or injury prevents you from working. This income continues until you’re medically cleared to return to work or until the end of your benefit period.

It’s noteworthy that the most frequent claims for Income Protection are due to psychological and orthopaedic issues. These conditions might prevent you from working but are less likely to result in claims from Specified Illness cover.


The Essence of Financial Planning

Income Protection is a cornerstone of sound financial planning. While price is a consideration, it’s just one of many factors. With competitive pricing and enhanced benefits tailored to the evolving needs of clients, Income Protection products are designed to offer comprehensive coverage against unforeseen events. In fact, last year, a whopping €118 million was paid out to 2,600 protection clients, showcasing the tangible support provided during challenging times.


Your Next Step

At Riordan Financial, we understand the importance of safeguarding your financial future. We’re here to guide you through the nuances of Income Protection and help you make an informed decision.

Contact Riordan Financial today and ensure peace of mind for tomorrow.