Written for the Set for Life Insurance Blog by Barry Lundquist, President of The Council for Disability Awareness www.disabilitycanhappen.org.
During the health care debate, there was much discussion about the 47 million Americans with no health care coverage. Conversely, we rarely hear that 100 million Americans – roughly 70% of America’s workforce – have no private disability insurance. For nearly every American worker, income is their most valuable asset – the engine that makes all other financial security possible – so overlooking disability protection is a potentially devastating financial blunder.
Most Americans can relate to experiencing a severe case of financial vertigo during the recent economic rollercoaster. After helplessly watching savings, jobs and even entire businesses evaporate, people are trying to figure out how to recover while protecting themselves from future financial calamities. For most of us, the importance of security and financial protection – which derive directly from one’s ability to earn an income – has dramatically increased. If we have been fortunate – or lucky – enough to avoid skyrocketing foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, they are in the news and on our minds. More than half are caused by or related to income limiting disabilities.
Consider the following facts, and think about the risks and implications for breadwinners with unprotected paychecks:
- On average, an American wage earner has about a three in 10 chance of losing their income from illness or injury for three months or more during their working career.
- The average disability that extends beyond three months will last two and a half years.
- Disability is on the rise. There are over eight million workers receiving Social Security Disability Benefits today (more than 5% of the workforce), and SSDI benefits are almost always more difficult than typical private insurance benefits to qualify for.
- The average SSDI monthly benefit is $1,064 and 97% of all monthly SSDI benefits received by disabled workers are less than $2,000 per month.
- Most Americans have little awareness of the risk and no plan to deal with disability’s devastating financial impact. Many feel “it won’t happen to me”.
To calculate one’s own risk of disability, wage earners can use the Council for Disability Awareness “Personal Disability Quotient” calculator, available at www.whatsmypdq.org.
Ask yourself one simple question: “if I became sick or injured and could no longer work, how would I pay my bills?” If your paycheck is among the 100 million unprotected ones, do not delay; now is the time to prepare, plan and protect your paycheck.
The Council for Disability Awareness