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Supreme Court ruling on insurance payments for disabled children a step in the right direction

January 5, 2019

A landmark move and a progressive one. That is the response to the Supreme Court ruling that says insurance policies taken by parents or guardians for disabled children should be allowed to mature once the proposer turns 55 years old.

What this means is that the child will no longer have to wait until the policyholder is dead to get access to the payment.

It is a positive step, say experts as it ensures the welfare of disabled people who are dependent and may need financial help when their parents age and are unable to provide for them anymore.

Jitendra Solanki, a financial planner, who specializes in reaching out to families with disabled relatives, hopes the court order will move the Centre into looking into framing policies for the financial protection of disabled people.

The court's decision is landmark and the Centre should definitely work out a policy in this regard as advised by the court. There is also a lack of insurance options for people with disabilities in India and that needs change too. The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has also discontinued products that were available for people with disabilities. - Jitendra Solanki, Financial planner.

In many cases, a person with a disability is financially dependent on a guardian or a parent. The provision of early policy amount disbursement is a huge break especially for parents who are no longer able to work and provide for their child's daily needs.

"The Supreme Court's view on the subject of payment of maturity amount - lump sum or as annuity after the age of 55 years is favourable for all proposers of such insurance plans. Moreover, a situation could arise where when the incidence of claim arises, the beneficiary is incapable of claiming it due to ageing, medical problems or lack of awareness regarding the existence of a policy in his/her name. Getting the dues during the lifetime of the proposer will ensure that funds are utilised for fulfilling the needs of the beneficiary. Insurance companies come out with policies to address needs of families affected by some form of disability but they are only a few in numbers and are on offer only for a limited period of time. Having more policies that address the needs of such families with annuity plans could help in offsetting the medical or care-giving needs and alleviate the problems of the proposer to some extent. "Prashant Singh, Parent of child with autism.

The court order has come after petitioner Ravi Agrawal, who is disabled filed an appeal. His parents had taken an LIC policy called Jeevan Aadhar. It has also asked the Centre to look into such scenarios for policymaking in the future.

"It would a great if there were insurance policies for people with disabilities available. Parents would definitely opt for investments to ensure safety of their children." Dev Mehta, Parent.

For parents of disabled children, worries about medical expenses and future security are a constant factor. The least the government can do is ensure there are as many options made available as possible to enable them to secure their children's future in a hassle-free manner.

ALSO READ: Why financial planning is key when you have a child with a disability

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