Most Americans Unprepared for Disability, Survey Finds

A majority of Americans "are not prepared to deal with the possibility of becoming disabled and, in turn, unable to work," says a survey released Feb. 28 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It found 56 percent of U.S. adults said they would be unable to pay their bills or meet expenses if they became disabled and could not work for a year or longer. International Communications Research conducted the survey for Kansas City, Mo.-based NAIC.

Only 13 percent of respondents said it was somewhat or very likely they would become disabled and unable to work, but data from the Social Security Administration indicates 20 percent of the population will become disabled for a year or more before reaching age 65. NAIC said the findings illustrate the need for long-term disability insurance. While 44 percent of respondents said they had long-term disability coverage, 71 percent of them said this insurance was employer-provided.

"Many people don't think about the impact becoming disabled can have on their ability to earn a living and remain financially independent," said Walter Bell, NAIC's president and Alabama's insurance commissioner. "Understanding the role of disability insurance at each life stage is critically important to one's total financial security." NAIC provides information on disability insurance for consumers at Insure U (www.InsureUonline.org).

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