Millions of Americans are unemployed right now, but even without the pandemic, millions more are sidelined every year by something more common: an accident, illness or injury that results in disability. .
In fact, more than one in four 20-year-olds will have a disability that will prevent them from working for at least a year before they retire, according to the Social Security Administration.
It can be a long time without a paycheck. A study conducted by Dynata on behalf of benefits company Unum showed that 62% of workers could cover their bills for three months or less with their existing savings if they lost their main income. After savings were used up, workers said they would turn to family or friends (37%), dip into their retirement savings (36%), or use credit cards (35%) – all solutions short term with potentially serious long term implications.
Disability insurance can help provide financial protection by replacing part of a worker’s income if they are ill or injured and unable to work. It can be offered as short-term coverage – typically 3 to 6 months – or long-term coverage that can last for several years or until retirement.
One of the most affordable ways to get disability insurance is at work. Some employers pay for this type of coverage as a benefit, some share the cost with employees, and some offer it as an optional benefit that employees can choose and pay for independently.
However, there is an overwhelming desire among employees to have the option of acquiring disability coverage. The survey indicated that 85% of workers believe employers should offer disability insurance. However, only about half of employees said their company offered this benefit.
Employees with disability coverage said they value financial protection for themselves and their families (45%) or feared getting sick or injured (26%).
Despite statistics showing the frequency of injuries and disabling illnesses, the most common reason workers give for not having coverage is that they are healthy and do not need it. A third of employees agree, and the number is increasing for the younger generations: 42% of Millennials and 52% of Gen Z.
Another 29% of employees said they couldn’t afford it. However, workplace disability coverage is usually much cheaper than purchasing a private policy, and it’s often the only way to qualify for coverage as a member of a group. These bonuses tend to be more affordable and can often be paid by payroll deduction.
If you’re worried about taking care of yourself or your family if you can’t work, ask your employer about disability protection options and learn more about unum.com.
Content courtesy of Family Features