May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM), a time when the insurance industry comes together to do something about the enormous gap that exists between Americans’ need for disability insurance and the actual coverage they have (or more likely don’t have).
Life Happens is the official sponsor of DIAM, but the Council for Disability Awareness also gets heavily involved in promoting the awareness campaign, and both provide resources for agents looking to raise awareness in their own communities.
The basic premise is pointing out that people don’t hesitate to insure their home, car and other valuable possessions, so why wouldn’t they also protect what pays for all those things—their paycheck?
Without a paycheck, 7 in 10 working Americans say couldn’t make it a month before financial difficulties would set in, and one in four would have problems immediately, according to a Life Happens survey.
That’s where disability insurance comes in. DIAM proponents want people to think of it as “insurance for your paycheck. It ensures that if you are unable to work because of illness or injury, you will continue to receive an income and make ends meet until you’re able to return to work.”
To get you thinking about DIAM, here are some eye-opening statistics, courtesy of Life Happens and the Council for Disability Awareness.
- You actually have a 3 in 10 chance of suffering a disability that keeps you out of work for 90 days or longer at some point during your working career. And keep in mind that 90% of disabilities are caused by illnesses not accidents. (Life Happens)
- A 25-year-old worker who makes $50,000 a year and suffers a permanent disability could lose $3.8 million in future earnings. (Life Happens)
- More than 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach the normal retirement age. (CDA)
- At least 51 million working adults in the U.S. are without disability insurance other than the basic coverage available through Social Security. (CDA)
- Only 40% of U.S. households have at least $6,275 in liquid savings. That is what it would take a family of four to replace income at the poverty level for three months. (CDA)
- 4 out of 10 American adults indicate they can’t pay an unexpected $400 bill without having to carry a balance on their credit card or borrow money from friends, family, or the bank. (CDA)
- A study of consumer bankruptcy filings from 2013 to 2016 found that 77.8% of debtors cited income loss as a contributor to their bankruptcy. This included 44.3% specifically citing medically related work loss as a contributor. (CDA)
- Each year around 5% of working Americans will experience a short-term disability (six months or less) due to illness, injury, or pregnancy. Almost all of these are non-occupational in origin.