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What is Accelerated Death Benefit (ADB) Insurance?

The top national life insurance beneficiary lawyer sets forth the definition of Accelerated Death Benefit insurance and tells us how to get an ADB claim paid.

What are Accelerated Death Benefits?

ADB is a death benefit rider attached to the insured’s life insurance policy that provides for the possibility of the insured receiving cash advances if he or she has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to die within two years. An insured will also qualify for ADB if he or she has a disease or illness that is expected to reduce his or her lifespan. For these reasons, the accelerated death benefit provision in a life insurance policy is also known as a “terminal illness benefit.” 

ADB is a type of “living insurance” because the insured can cash out part or all of the death benefit while living. Often the funds are used for medical treatment, such as an organ transplant, or hospice care, or in-home care if the insured has trouble with everyday activities.

There are life insurance policies that make an accelerated death benefit available to an insured even though ADB is not expressly provided for in the policy.

How Do Accelerated Death Benefits Work?

This type of living benefit was created in the 1980’s as a way for those diagnosed with AIDS to afford treatment and care, while retaining some death benefits for their beneficiaries.

The amount that the insured takes out is subtracted from the total death benefit, and the remainder passes to the designated beneficiaries upon the death of the insured. Some policies provide that the ADB can be borrowed from the total death benefit rather than taken from it.

How Can I Apply for an Accelerated Death Benefit?

If you have an ADB rider and you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you must provide proof of that diagnosis to your insurance company. If your policy does not expressly provide for ADB, your insurance company might still pay them.  Contact a life insurance beneficiary lawyer to help you.

Are Accelerated Death Benefits Taxed as Income?

No. ADB are usually tax-exempt for those who are expected to die within two years. 

ADB Example

Say a 42-year-old non-smoker named Lucy has a $800,000 life insurance policy. Lucy was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer. She decides to accelerate half of her life insurance policy and collect that benefit herself while living to provide for continuing medical care and other assistance when that becomes necessary.

Lucy’s life insurance company reviews her claim and offers an accelerated payment of $207,000. Lucy accepts and receives a check for $207,000. Her death benefit has decreased by the amount she accelerated ($400,000) and Lucy pays lower premiums on the new face value of the policy of $400,000. Lucy does not pay income tax on the accelerated benefit.

Contact an ADB Lawyer

If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and your ADB life insurance claim was denied, contact us. We can initiate litigation or negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf and get you the money you need for treatment and care.

Top Rated Lawyer Chad Boonswang

Chad Boonswang: Voted Top Rated Lawyer in 2020

Chad Boonswang: Voted Top Rated Lawyer in 2020 

The Boonswang Law Firm is pleased to announce that Chad Boonswang has been recognized as one of the top rated attorneys of the year by The Legal Community.

As a top rated lawyer of 2020, Chad Boonswang is dedicated to serving his clients and getting them the legal help that they need and deserve. On behalf of the Boonswang Law Firm, we are pleased to share this exciting achievement.

Boonswang Law Runs New Spot (video)


We are proud to share our new ad featuring information about how we help beneficiaries throughout the United States.

Our Founder Recognized with Avvo’s Highest Rating for 2015

Boonswang Law Rated with Avvo’s Highest Score

We are proud to congratulate our founder, Chad G. Boonswang, for receiving a perfect rating by our clients in 2015.  Mr. Boonswang’s rating is among the highest of lawyers whose practices focus on life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment claims, and we are very proud to have him lead us in representing our clients.


Chad Boonswang rated 10/10 once again by








Our very own Chad Boonswang has been recognized with the highest rating offered by is considered to be one of the preeminent websites in the United States for the review of lawyers, and our firm is extremely proud to have our leader recognized once again for this distinction.

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