A SUDDEN LOSS OF INCOME
Working on the railroad is a dangerous job. As FELA attorneys and personal injury lawyers, after tragic work accidents we have seen grieving spouses burdened by the questions of how they are going to pay the mortgage, buy groceries and provide for the surviving children. We have seen railroaders who became permanently injured or seriously ill worry and struggle with these same concerns.
When a tragedy occurs, family and friends may be there to help your family financially. If there is a personal injury claim, there may be a financial recovery after litigation. Neither are solutions to the immediate challenges faced when a family member dies or is seriously injured and the family’s income suddenly ends or becomes a fraction of what it was previously.
HOW YOU CAN PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
You may believe, as many do, that life insurance is too expensive to buy a policy. You may, also, feel uncomfortable talking about the subject. Life insurance, however, can’t be purchased after a death, and disability insurance is generally no longer offered or is financially prohibitive after an injury or diagnosis of a serious illness.
Now is the time to start the conversation and take steps to protect your family’s future.
Following are suggested subjects to discuss:
1) LIFE INSURANCE - The most effective time to obtain life is insurance is when you are young and healthy. Term life insurance can be purchased for a specific number of years (e.g., 20 years or 30 years). Whole life insurance is for your whole life. Be sure to keep beneficiary information up to date.
2) DISABILITY BENEFITS & INSURANCE – Injured or sick railroaders may be eligible for sickness, disability or occupational disability benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board (“RRB”). Visit www.rrb.gov or call Hoey & Farina at (888) 425-1212 for more information. Purchase enough disability insurance to cover the difference between RRB benefits and your monthly bills.
3) DEATH BENEFITS & RESOURCES – Inquire about benefits and resources available to railroaders and family members provided in union contracts (e.g., Off-Track Vehicle Accident Benefits) and independent foundations (e.g., John Edgar Thomson Foundation).
4) JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS – Allows your spouse access to funds without delays.
5) ESTATE PLANNING AND LIVING WILLS – A Living Will is a directive to physicians detailing desires concerning medical and end-of-life care. A Last Will & Testament specifies such things as to the distribution of assets, organ donation and funeral arrangements.
6) DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY - Effective for the period of time when an individual is unable to make informed financial and health care decisions for himself.
7) IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS - All documents relating to insurance and benefit policies, bank accounts, wills, etc. should be kept in a safe place, where your family can locate them.
8) HOEY & FARINA MAGNET - Hoey & Farina's train magnet placed on your refrigerator provides your family access to immediate help.
For additional information, read What Do I Tell My Family – Part I & Part II. Please share with your friends and fellow railroad workers this Straight Track article regarding how to protect your family’s future. If you have questions, contact Hoey & Farina at (888) 425-1212.