Disability: Are Americans Prepared to Risk Their Retirement Security?

Council for Disability Awareness White Paper Addresses Erosion of

Traditional Financial Support for Disabled Workers and Its Effects on


Jun 17, 2008, 01:00 ET from Council for Disability Awareness

    PORTLAND, Maine, June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mounting home
 foreclosures and the rising cost of everyday living have forced many
 Americans to dip into their retirement savings. But tough economic times
 are not the only threat to retirement security. A new paper released by the
 Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), entitled Worker Disability: A
 Growing Risk to Retirement Security, addresses Americans' lack of awareness
 of the risks and the financial burden that an unexpected accident or
 illness can have on retirement savings. Despite the fact that three in 10
 workers entering the workforce today will become disabled before retiring,
 disability is often overlooked as a threat to long-term financial security,
 according to the CDA paper.
     "We have entered a new era for securing personal financial security,
 one that is shifting more responsibility to the individual," said Robert
 Taylor, president of the Council for Disability Awareness. "Unfortunately,
 while more Americans are becoming disabled, too many are putting their -
 and their families' - financial and retirement security at risk because
 they just don't understand the potential long-term impact of an
 income-limiting disability."
     The CDA paper notes that over the last 10 years, the number of American
 workers with long-term disabilities has grown four times the growth of
 workers in the United States. Yet, most Americans lack awareness about the
 threat of a serious illness or accident, resulting in a significant
 underestimation of the financial risk disability poses to them. Ninety
 percent of workers underestimate their chances of becoming disabled and 85
 percent do not express concern about their chances of suffering a
 disability lasting three or more months, according to a 2007 CDA survey. In
 addition, six in 10 workers do not know how they would manage an
 income-limiting disability.
     The CDA paper points out that American workers are being required to
 take on more responsibility for their own personal financial wellbeing, but
 most are not planning accordingly.
     Author and Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker, has analyzed this
 "great risk shift" from the employer to the worker. "Preparing for a
 disability has never been more important," explains Professor Hacker, who
 also provides the foreword to the paper. "Traditional sources of support
 for disabled workers have eroded, shifting financial responsibility for
 accidents and illnesses to the individual. Workers need to be aware of
 these intensified risks if they are to work toward and demand both private
 and public solutions."
     Professor Hacker, the author of The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic
 Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream, has analyzed the
 socio-political philosophy that encouraged the shift in benefit attitudes
 from the employer to the worker.
     The CDA paper outlines a call-to-action for employers, planners and
 advisors and the media to work together to help Americans better understand
 this growing threat, and empower workers in ways that strengthen their
 financial health and mitigate their financial risks. By doing so, this will
 help Americans to stay in control of their financial security - even if
 disability strikes.
     For the complete CDA paper and for more information about the CDA,
 please visit www.disbilitycanhappen.org.
     About the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) and the author:
     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. The author, Robert
 G. Taylor, is president of the CDA.

SOURCE Council for Disability Awareness