PORTLAND, Maine, March 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A growing number of
American workers are forecasted to experience a disability -- an accident
or illness that will keep them out of work at least three months -- during
their career. But the majority of workers in a new survey said they were
not concerned about the possibility of becoming disabled. In fact, more
than 80 percent of workers said they believe their chances of becoming
disabled are far lower than actual statistics report, according to the 2007
Disability Awareness Survey, released today by the Council for Disability
Data from the survey underscores the critical need to better inform
America's workforce about the likelihood of experiencing a disability, as
well as the potential financial consequences that may accompany a
disability. And CDA is embarking on an outreach effort to increase public
dialogue about disability awareness.
"Preparing for an unexpected disability has never been more important
for America's workforce -- especially as more American workers are
suffering from income-limiting disabilities that can leave them and their
families vulnerable to severe financial hardship," explained Robert Taylor,
executive director of CDA. "It's important that workers recognize the
growing threat that disability can pose to their financial security. And
with this survey, CDA aims to expand the public dialogue that will raise
the necessary awareness level on this critical issue."
A bleaker financial outlook for those unprepared
Since 2000, the number of disabled workers in America has increased by
35 percent according to recent Social Security Administration data. At the
same time, the financial health of many American workers has declined.
Workers are not only spending their earnings, but also are dipping deeper
into their savings and going into debt to make ends meet. The overall 2006
U.S. savings rate was negative 1 percent -- the worst since the Great
Depression. These statistics are distressing, considering two-thirds of
respondents with a 401k or IRA plan are unaware of what would happen to
their retirement savings should they become disabled and unable to earn an
Given this unsteady financial situation, it's alarming that nearly 60
percent of workers surveyed said they haven't discussed how they would
manage an income-limiting disability. In fact, almost half of these workers
haven't thought at all about the need to plan for the financial impact of a
On the other hand, of those workers who have planned financially for a
disability, more than 80 percent are confident about their ability to cover
living expenses if a disability strikes.
The CDA survey also showed that:
-- The majority of workers (56 percent) didn't realize that their chances
of becoming disabled had risen over the past five years.
-- Nine out of ten (90 percent) workers underestimated their own chances
of becoming disabled.
-- More than one-third (35 percent) of workers with 401k or IRA plans said
they haven't thought about or don't know what would happen to their
contributions if they were unable to earn an income for a period of
"As responsibility for long-term financial security continues to shift
to the American worker, the need to incorporate disability planning into
each person's financial security plan has become more critical," Taylor
said. "Fortunately, with good planning, American workers can dramatically
improve their chances of financial stability should a disability strike."
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 survey
In January and February of 2007, CDA worked with the research firm
StrategyOne to conduct a 15-minute telephone survey of 1000 working
American adults ages 18 to 65 nationwide. The margin of error for the
sample size was +/-3.1 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.
SOURCE Council for Disability Awareness