This is an option you can add to your policy at the same time you apply for life insurance.  It allows you to access part of your benefit amount, if you become permanently chronically ill.  You can collect as much as $500,000 in tax-free benefits (consult a qualified tax advisor) over four years to use as you see fit. That could be to help with medical costs, ongoing living expenses, or to replace lost income.  This rider is available for an additional cost, and must be selected at the issue of your policy.