Council for Disability Awareness Releases 2006 Claims Review From Leading Insurers, Social Security Data

- Review Reveals Continuing and Emerging Disability Trends -

May 01, 2007, 01:00 ET from Council for Disability Awareness

    PORTLAND, Maine, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A review of 2006
 long- term disability claims among the U.S. workforce released today by the
 Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) revealed that the number of American
 workers experiencing a long-term disability continues to grow at a rate
 faster than the growth of the workforce.
     CDA's 2006 Long-Term Disability Claims Review, an annual review of
 long- term disability claims among the U.S. working population, determines
 continuing and emerging trends in long-term disability claims, as these
 claims have a demonstrable impact on the health and financial livelihood of
 America's workforce.
     According to this year's review, more than 500,000 individuals received
 long-term disability insurance payments from CDA member companies in 2006,
 resulting in claims payments in excess of $7.2 billion -- a 7.5 percent
 increase in payments made in 2005. Coupled with these private payouts, the
 Social Security Disability Insurance program paid 6.8 million disabled
 workers a total of $79.9 billion in 2006 -- an 8.7 percent increase over
 payments made in 2005 and 105 percent more than the $39 billion provided in
 payments to SSDI program beneficiaries 10 years ago.
     "After reviewing both public and private claims data, it is clear that
 America's workers must better equip themselves to handle the possibility of
 a long-term disability and the financial burdens that may accompany it,"
 explained Robert Taylor, executive director of CDA. "This is especially
 true considering the continuing shift in responsibility for personal
 financial risks away from social programs and employers to the individual."
     Qualifying for disability benefits under the SSDI program continues to
 be a challenge, as only 39 percent of the 2.1 million workers who applied
 for SSDI in 2006 received approval for disability benefits. The CDA Claims
 Survey reported that 33 percent of individuals receiving private long-term
 disability insurance did not qualify for SSDI assistance and 95 percent of
 claims were not job-related.
     These findings are particularly noteworthy for female workers, as the
 rate of disability is growing faster for them than for their male
 counterparts, according to SSDI program data. During the past 10 years, the
 number of women covered under SSDI has grown from 16 percent to 47 percent
 of all covered workers, and the rate of disability for women workers has
 grown more than 60 percent -- compared to only a 32 percent growth rate for
     According to the review, the leading cause of long-term disability
 insurance claims continues to be musculoskeletal/connective tissue
 disorders -- accounting for almost one-quarter of all new claims. Cancer
 and cardiovascular/circulatory problems remained the second and third most
 common causes of new disability claims. Accidents and injuries, often
 thought to be a major cause of claims, accounted for less that 8 percent of
 new long-term disabilities last year.
     "CDA and its members are working hard to initiate a public dialogue
 that will increase disability awareness," Taylor explained. "By informing
 American workers about causes of and trends in disability, we believe we
 can help increase their chances for financial security in the event a
 long-term disability strikes."
     About the Council for Disability Awareness
     The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) is a non-profit group
 dedicated to helping the American workforce become aware of the growing
 likelihood of disability and its financial consequences. The CDA engages in
 communications, research and educational activities that provide
 information and helpful resources to wage earners, their families, the
 media, employers and others who are concerned about disability and the
 impact it can have on wage earners and their families. For more information
 about the CDA, visit:
     About the 2006 CDA Long-Term Disability Claims Review
     CDA conducts an annual review of long-term disability claims among the
 U.S. working population to determine continuing or emerging trends. The
 2006 Long-Term Disability Claims Review includes 2006 long-term disability
 insurance claims data supplied by CDA member companies and an analysis of
 the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program 2006 Annual
 Statistical Supplement.

SOURCE Council for Disability Awareness