Being a police officer is a profession like none other: it provides you with experiences that little can rival and allows you to help your community in countless immeasurable ways every day. Helping others is part of the job, but it’s important that you don’t forget to help yourself, too. As an officer of the law, you run a higher risk of becoming injured, paralyzed, or disabled than the general citizen because you put yourselves in high-risk situations more frequently.
Because police officers are often involved in situations like high speed chases, foot chases, returning fire, or physical combat, we can assume that the risk of injury or disability is higher for an officer than a regular citizen. Police officers place their lives on the line every day to provide necessary assistance to others and sometimes face consequences for that selfless behavior, be it paralysis from a gunshot wound, disability from a car accident, or head injury from a physical alteration. Bulletproof vests can only go so far.
As an individual with a job that could include danger at any time, have you considered how you will handle an injury or disability? Long term care is often needed when a situation like that comes to fruition, and long term care is far from affordable for the majority of people. Long term care includes services that provide care for someone for an extended period of time. Most people think of nursing homes when they hear the term “long term care”, but nursing homes are no longer the primary care setting. The majority of people who receive long term care actually receive that care at home.
Despite a common misconception, the government doesn’t pay for the cost of long term care. Medicaid will if you can qualify, but in order to be eligible, you must have essentially spent through all of your assets. The retirement pension plans provided to most police officers make them ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare, which can also cover long term care, but only for a brief period of time. Since police officers are not able to withdraw funds from these programs due to their pension plans, establishing your own plan is vital to your retirement security.
Some states have even set up organizations that help provide police officers and firefighters with long term care coverage. If you haven’t begun looking yet, now is the time. Even if you are a young officer, it pays to consider these things far in advance. It’s also important to note that 40% of individuals receiving long term care in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 65. Again, this isn’t just for nursing home care. Especially in the line of duty as a police officer, the risk of injury is relatively high no matter what your age. Being a police officer is one of the most rewarding professions out there and regardless of the risk of injury, the reward of helping others makes the risk seem inconsequential. Take the time to lookout for yourself and your family by planning ahead for any potential injury or need for long term care.
If you are not yet an officer but are looking into the honorable profession that is being a police officer, please take the time to read our other posts about why you should become a police officer and the prestige of the badge.