PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) is alerting all employers that disabling illnesses have become one of the fastest growing threats to employees' income. In fact, they now account for 55 percent of workplace absences.
The CDA's recently published 2008 Long-Term Disability Claims Review revealed that income-limiting disability claims have risen by 35 percent in the last decade. This same study found that 95 percent of reported disability claims are due to non-work related illnesses, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and back impairments.
Based on the rising frequency of disability, the CDA is urging employers to increase their efforts to educate employees about the risk to their incomes -- and encourage them to take steps to avoid this risk if possible and prepare financially if unavoidable.
"This benefits enrollment season it's critical that employers consider how to help their employees understand the very real threat of disability," said Barry Lundquist, interim president of the CDA. "Employees often mistakenly believe that disability is only caused by devastating physical injuries or accidents. But they're much more likely to be caused by illnesses -- like cancer or heart disease. Benefits enrollment season presents a perfect opportunity for employers to educate their employees about the financial risks caused by disability."
To help employees better understand their own personal chances of becoming disabled by illness or injury, employers can direct employees to the Personal Disability Quotient (PDQ), a new online tool found at www.whatsmypdq.org. The tool provides personalized information about the chances of disability based on a person's age, lifestyle and history, and calculates the amount of income at risk.
The CDA also provides employers with easy-to-use tools to educate their employees through its online Employer Resource and Information Center (www.disabilitycanhappen.org/employer). The Web site includes information and resources that illustrate the financial impacts of disability, tips on prevention and information about wellness programs.
"Through planning and prevention, employees can minimize their chances of becoming disabled -- or at least minimize the financial impact a disability can have on their income and lifestyle," said Lundquist. "For most employees, their income is by far their most valuable asset and their ability to earn that income cannot be taken for granted."
Additional resources available through CDA's Web site include personal financial security planning tools, sample employee newsletter disability articles, a common myths and misconceptions flyer, five questions every employee should ask about disability preparedness and links to a variety of other helpful articles and organizations.
About the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA)
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, employers and others who are concerned about disability and the impact it can have on wage earners and their families.
SOURCE Council for Disability Awareness