During this year’s traditional benefits enrollment season, the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) urges agents and brokers, in partnership with employers, HR professionals, and the media, to step up efforts to educate wage earners about the risks and financial consequence of an income-limiting disability — and to encourage them to take appropriate steps to offset the risk.
A soon-to-be-released CDA survey shows that many wage earners see themselves as extremely unlikely to miss work because of an accident or illness. Their misperception is that disabilities do occur, but are typically due to such catastrophic events as a serious accident, rather than more common causes such as bad backs, chronic illnesses, heart disease, or cancer.
While most believe that a “serious accident” was the most likely cause of a prolonged disability, the reality is that only 10 percent of long-term disability claims result from accidents. (See sidebar, “Disability Claims by Diagnosis,” for more information).
The adversary: lack of preparation
This enrollment season, the discussion about the risks and consequences of disability couldn’t be more important, considering the difficult economic times and the many misconceptions American wage earners have about how they would meet the financial burdens of a disability. When asked what they would do if their incomes ceased, most wage earners admitted to being poorly positioned to avoid severe financial hardship.