Is Disability Insurance a Luxury Good in America?

The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) released a report today that suggests the answer is “yes.”

The CDA 2019 Disability Awareness Survey analyzed why lower-to-moderate income consumers, those earning between $25,000 - $50,000, don’t have disability insurance. Among the responses, the most significant reason was, “I can’t afford it.” And almost 40% of those consumers in the lowest income band reported their savings - if they had any - would last less than one month. 

In complementary work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employee Benefits Survey data indicated that 63% of the highest income consumers in America have access to employer-paid short- (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) insurance benefits. However, only 18% of the lowest income consumers have access to STD and just 6% have LTD. This troubling disconnect amplifies the uphill battle many low-income consumers may experience if there is disruption to their regular income.

Fred Schott, Director of Operations for The CDA, said, “Through our survey, we learned there is a much greater risk for lower-to-moderate income consumers to withstand the financial shock of not receiving a regular paycheck because of an injury, illness or pregnancy. These findings tell us that the challenge lower-to-moderate income consumers face is more than just a matter of disability-insurance access and affordability. It’s a matter of financial wellness.”

About the Study

The CDA Disability Awareness Study of over 2,200 full-time employed consumers was designed to understand the impact of income, gender, and other influencers on consumer financial preparedness for being out of work for a period of time. Conducted in 2019 for The CDA by Greenwald Associates, it was sponsored by American Fidelity Assurance Company, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Lincoln Financial Group, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and MetLife Inc.

About The Council for Disability Awareness

The Council for Disability Awareness is a nonprofit organization with a mission to conduct research and education that helps consumers, employers and advisors understand the importance of income protection for working adults. Founded in 2005, The CDA acts as a public resource: curating information, releasing research reports, and acting as an industry source for journalists.


David Page, CD&M Communications

For The Council for Disability Awareness

207-347-3400 x19

Source: Council for Disability Awareness