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Disability: Workers Still in a Fog

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Most U.S. workers seem to understand that anyone can become disabled, but few seem to know just how common that disability really is.

The Council for Disability Awareness, Portland, Maine, has explored that issue in an analysis of results from a survey of 1,006 U.S. workers who were employed full-time, were ages 18 to 68, and had a household income of $30,000 or higher.

About 83% of the participants agreed with the statement that disability “can happen to anyone at any time,” but 31% estimated that the average U.S. worker has a 1 in 100 chance of becoming disabled. A total of 91% said the odds are 1 in 10 or lower.

In reality, the actual odds that a new worker will experience a long-term disability before the anticipated retirement age are 1 in 3, the CDA says.

About 60% of the participants said they had taken no steps to protect their income, and 37% of those said they had not primarily because they had never thought much about income protection, the CDA says.

Only 22% said, “I don’t think about it because I have disability insurance,” the CDA says.

About 32% said they would cope with a long-term loss of income by selling their possessions.


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