5 things you should be telling your clients during Disability Awareness MonthBlog added by Paul Wilson on May 15, 2013
Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson

Denver, CO

Joined: May 30, 2007

My Company


Disability insurance is one of the most misunderstood products sold by insurance professionals, and a large number of Americans remain uninsured or underinsured. According to the Social Security Administration, 69 percent of workers in the private sector have no private long-term disability insurance.

Here are five facts you should be sharing with clients and prospects during Disability Awareness Month (and the rest of the year, for that matter.)
1. Disability happens (and far more often than you think)

  • 3 in 10 workers entering the workforce today will become disabled before they retire, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • At age 42, a worker is four times more likely to become seriously disabled than to die during his or her working years, according to National Underwriter Life & Health.

  • Just over one-quarter of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • Over 37 million Americans — about 12 percent of the total population — are classified as disabled, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • More than 50 percent of those disabled Americans are between the ages of 18 and 64.
2. Disability is very expensive

Disabilities are costly and affect Americans in many ways. Here are a few examples:
  • Medical problems contributed to 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the U.S. in 2007, according to the The American Journal of Medicine.

  • Disability causes nearly 50 percent of all mortgage foreclosures, according to Health Affairs, a health policy research journal.

  • In the first year following a paraplegia, living expenses average $259,531 per person, according to the National SCI Statistical Center.

  • On the job injuries cost $176.0 billion in 2010 and 100 million days of production time, according to the National Safety Council.

  • 2 out of 3 American families live paycheck to paycheck, and 70 percent of families can only afford to be without a paycheck for one month or less, according to the The Council of Disability Insurers.
3. Disabilities occur in a number of ways

According to CDA's 2012 Long-Term Disability Claims Review, the following were the leading causes of new disability claims in 2011:
  • Musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders (28.9 percent)
  • Cancer (14.4 percent)
  • Injuries and poisoning (10.6 percent)
  • Cardiovascular/circulatory disorders (8.7 percent)
  • Mental disorders (9.2 percent)
4. You can decrease the risk of becoming disabled

Factors that increase the risk of disability include:
  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • engaging in high-risk activities
  • chronic conditions such as:
    • diabetes
    • high blood pressure
    • back pain
    • anxiety/depression
    • alcohol or substance abuse.
To decrease the likelihood of disability, encourage clients to:
  • maintain a healthy body weight
  • avoid tobacco use
  • maintain a healthy diet and sleep habits
  • engage in regular exercise
  • moderate alcohol consumption
  • avoid high risk behaviors
  • maintain a healthy stress level
  • seek treatment for chronic health conditions.
5. Worker's compensation and Social Security probably won't help

  • Worker’s compensation only covers you if you get injured, ill or die as a result of your job.

  • Less than 5 percent of disabling accidents and illnesses are work related, which means workers' compensation does nothing for the vast majority of victims.

  • 65 percent of initial SSDI claim applications were denied in 2012.

  • For those who do qualify, it takes five months or longer for benefits to kick in and, on average, Social Security pays out only approximately $800 a month.
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