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Counter Shows Growing Number of Disabling Illnesses, Injuries

By SHRM Online staff  5/20/2011
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An online Disability Counter created by the not-for-profit Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) illustrates graphically the growing number of working-age Americans who experience a disabling illness or injury lasting for 30 days or longer.

The U.S. Social Security Administration reported that just over one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67. Yet the CDA’s research shows that while an overwhelming number of employees believe that a disability could happen to anyone at any time, they are in denial that it could happen to them.

Americans need to be better educated about the likelihood that illness or injury could prevent them from working for a prolonged period of time and about the importance of protecting income from that risk, said CDA President Barry Lundquist. “There is agreement among working Americans that their ability to earn an income is more important than any other resource in maintaining financial security. However, despite that importance, protecting income is not top of mind for most working Americans,” he pointed out. As evidence, the Social Security Administration reported that 67 percent of employees are not covered by private long-term disability insurance.

From the Disability Counter’s home page, visitors can access tools to improve their “disability IQ.” They can:

Take the Disability Awareness Quiz.

Get health tips on how to reduce the chances of suffering a disability.

Complete their Personal Disability Quotient (PDQ) to estimate their risk of becoming disabled and to project the value of their future income.

Employers can use the Disability Counter to educate employees about disability risk and ways to guard against it. And individuals can use it to become more educated about disability and take responsibility for their financial security, noted Lundquist.

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