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Berkshire: Workers Fear Disability

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Many U.S. workers lack disability coverage, but they tend to be aware of the risk of disability.

Researchers at Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, Mass., a unit of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, have published disability attitude figures in a summary of results from a recent survey of 520 U.S. workers ages 18 and older.

About 28% of the participants said they are very or extremely concerned about the risk that an accident or illness could keep them from working in the next 6 to 12 months.

In contrast, only 25% of the participants said they are worried about losing their jobs in the next 6 to 12 months due to economic conditions, the Guardian researchers report.

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Hispanic American participants expressed about as much concern about disability as all participants did.

African-American participants expressed much more concern both about disability and about layoffs.

About 50% of the African-American participants said they are very concerned about disability risk, and 52% said they are very concerned about the threat of layoffs.

About 41% of the employees with 401(k) plans or 403(b) plans said they might borrow from their retirement funds if they became disabled, the Guardian researchers report.