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Life says 80% of working Americans not financially prepared for disability

New survey by Life Foundation has revealed that nearly 80% of working Americans would turn to their employer or the government for financial support in the event of a disabling illness or injury, rather than disability insurance purchased on their own.

The findings suggest that many working Americans are leaving themselves financially vulnerable by not having the disability insurance protection they need.

Conducted by KRC Research, the Life survey asked 520 working adult Americans which source of financial support they would rely on most if they were to become disabled for one year or more.

Among the people surveyed 35% said that they would rely on employer-sponsored disability insurance coverage if they were to become disabled for one year or more. While coverage provided by employers is the main source of disability income protection in the US, most employers don’t provide disability insurance as an employee benefit.

The survey found that 13% would turn to workers’ compensation. 31% said that they would rely on government-provided benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2005 roughly 60% of people who applied for Social Security disability benefits were initially denied.

Despite the statistics, there are only six million individual disability insurance policies in force for a US workforce of 146.3 million. Just as one would insure their home, car or other valuable asset, it’s important to insure their paycheck, as well.

Matthew Tassey, past chair of the Life Foundation, said: Most people have a false sense of security when it comes to being financially prepared for a long-term disability. The reality is the majority of workers do not have disability coverage through work, and disability benefits offered by the government, such as Social Security or Workers’ Compensation, can be difficult to qualify for.