Cashing-in life insurance while you’re still alive

A cancer diagnosis upended the family and finances of the Venables. Life insurance helped to keep them solvent and paved the way to a life filled with hope. Learn how those living with a terminal illness can alleviate some financial stress by using their living benefits rider to withdraw from their life insurance policy. 

Jill and Mike sitting on porch.

Mike Venable is feeling particularly grateful for all the blessings he received in the past ten years, both big and small. That’s because he’s been living with a rare cancer much longer than anyone could have predicted. It hasn’t been easy. At first, he and his wife Jill Tigner kept up with medical expenses and their household bills, that is until they couldn’t keep up. They didn’t know where to turn.

“This New York Life experience opened our lives back up. We can now spend more energy on love and purpose, and less on fear and anxiety.”

What is a living benefits rider?

Like many people Mike and Jill had assumed their life insurance would benefit only the survivors of someone who has died. But life insurance can often be an important financial resource before a death. In this case, Mike and Jill had opted into the Living Benefits Rider (LBR) in their New York Life policy. The rider allows a policy owner with a terminal illness to access their death benefits while still living. 

They had forgotten all about the LBR. Fortunately, a few years after his diagnosis, Mike and Jill were meeting with their local financial professional for a routine review of his New York Life policy. Jeff Hudson knew his client was ill but didn’t realize just how dire his financial situation had become. 

Jeff reminded the couple of a seemingly minor decision they’d made to add the LBR at no cost. Mike and Jill were stunned and relieved to learn they could tap into Mike’s death benefits. Suddenly, they were able to manage their expenses. “I had no idea that [the LBR] could have such an impact on somebody’s life,” Jeff said.

Jill and Mike taking a walk.

Adding a living benefits rider can be a lifesaver.

The living benefits rider provided more than financial relief. “I noticed a change in Mike’s tone, his emotional state,” says Mike’s oncologist and friend, Andrew Pippas. “It’s been a great thing for him and Jill, just to focus on getting well, and not worry about finances.” 

Mike agrees. “This New York Life experience opened our lives back up. We can now spend more energy on love and purpose, and less on fear and anxiety.” “My approach is holistic,” Jeff Hudson says, adding that he always recommends that his clients opt into the living benefits rider. “We don’t assume the worst is going to happen, but life changes.” 

Mike is continuing with his expensive treatment. And he still works on their small business in the Chattahoochee Valley of Central Georgia. And most importantly, he has lived to see many family milestones. “We are living in a very joyful place, and New York Life has been a key ingredient in that joy.”

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Want to learn more about life insurance benefit riders?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.


The experience of the people described in this material may not be representative of the experiences of other clients. Experiences obtained by these people are not indicative of the future experiences that may be obtained. Certain conditions must be met to exercise policy riders. Receipt of accelerated death benefits may affect eligibility for public assistance programs and may be taxable. You should consult your tax advisor regarding your circumstances.  

In Oregon, the Whole Life policy form number is ICC18217-50P (4/18). The Living Benefits rider form number is ICC17217-495R.  SMRU 1820364