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Your chances of becoming disabled might be higher than you imagine

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Those individuals who have done any sort of casual reading about disability insurance, ERISA or a related topic have more than likely come across the following eye-opening statistic: today's 20 year-olds have a roughly 25 percent chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. Indeed, our blog relayed this vital statistic just a few weeks ago.  

While one would certainly hope or imagine that this figure would have the desired effect of demonstrating just how real of a risk disability actually is, there's always the chance that this has not happened perhaps owing to the reader's healthy skepticism, the reader being well beyond their 20s, or the reader simply becoming inured to this number.

Whatever the reason, those who fall into this category may change their minds about the possibility of disability after seeing the following set of figures from the Council for Disability Awareness.

  • The chances of a typical working woman, age 35, becoming disabled for at least three months or more during the course of her career is 24 percent.
  • The chances of a typical working man, age 35, becoming disabled for at least three months or more during the course of her career is 21 percent.
  • The chances of a typical working woman or man, age 35, becoming disabled for five years or longer during the course of their career is 38 percent with the average disability lasting an astonishing 82 months (i.e., 6.8 years).

The purpose in sharing these figures is not to cause unnecessary alarm, but rather to highlight how disabling injuries and illness can occur in the blink of an eye and, by extension, impress upon people the importance of securing disability insurance as a hedge against the unknown.

In our next post, we'll explore some steps that those who have now seen the light can take to help determine just how much disability insurance they'll need.

Source: Council for Disability Awareness, "Chances of disability: Me, disabled?" November 2016

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