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CDA 2010 Consumer Disability Awareness Survey
The Disability Divide

The gap between what employees believe - and how they act - about the potential for an income - threatening disability


The State of Disability in America

Continued economic volatility. Rising home foreclosures. Eroded retirement accounts. Stubbornly high unemployment. All have heightened American workers' sensitivity to the need for a reliable stream of income and financial security. Yet most don't realize a disability could interrupt their income - and fewer still are protected from that loss by adequate savings, private insurance OR government programs.

Just consider these recent statistics on disability in America:
  • Over 10% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 have a disability1
  • 8.1 million U.S. workers receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits as of October 20102
  • Nearly 90% of disabilities aren't work-related and therefore don't qualify for workers' compensation benefits3
  • Applications for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) increased 21% from 2008 and are projected to increase in 2010 as well4
  • Only 35% of initial SSDI applications were approved in 20094
  • 100 million Americans are not protected by private disability insurance5

How aware are today's employees of their chances of facing an income-interrupting disability? And how prepared are they to deal with the financial consequences if they do experience one? Those were just two of the key questions the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) set out to address in its 2010 Consumer Disability Awareness study.

To answer these important questions, the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) conducted an online survey with a nationwide panel of wage-earning consumers. These questions were designed to:
  • Understand workers' perceptions about disability
  • Identify actual behaviors related to these perceptions
  • Determine the level of preparation workers have taken to protect themselves and their families from the risk of suffering a disability
  • Learn to what extent workers are positioned to deal with an income loss caused by an illness or accident
We hope the insights gleaned from this research will help employees, employers and financial advisors alike bridge the divide between what employees think and what they do-as well as between what they perceive and what is real. It's this divide that leaves too many Americans and their financial security at risk from a disability-triggered loss of income.

  • 1U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2009.
  • 2SSA Beneficiary Data, October, 2010.
  • 3National Safety Council, Injury Facts, 2008 edition.
  • 4Social Security Administration, Office of Disability and Income Security Programs.
  • 5Council for Disability Awareness, Long-Term Disability Claims Review, 2005.
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