Disabilities Rising Among Workers

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Preparing for an unexpected illness or accident has never been more important for America's workforce, especially as the number of workers experiencing a disability continues to rise -- 35 percent since 2000 -- and more families struggle to make ends meet due to an unforeseen stop in income.

Employees often look to their employers as a trusted source of information about financial matters, such as retirement planning and medical-cost management. However, as disability becomes an increasing threat to personal financial security, employees need additional information about the likelihood of experiencing a disability and how to manage the accompanying financial consequences. In response, employers are taking steps to help workers become better informed about leading healthier lifestyles and being financially prepared for unexpected illnesses and accidents.

To help employers with these efforts, the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) launched a new employer-focused Web site, www.disabilitycanhappen.org, that contains information and tools which employers can provide to their employees about the financial consequences of disability and how to plan accordingly.

"Preparing for an unexpected disability has never been more important for employees -- and their employers -- as 30 percent of American workers are forecasted to experience a serious illness or accident during their careers," explains Robert Taylor, president of CDA. "With this new site, CDA aims to provide employers with resources to help their employees, as well as their businesses, better manage the sobering costs related to disability."

The site contains information and tools for employers to help employees increase their awareness of disability and improve their financial planning, including:

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-- Five Questions Every Worker Should Ask -- A brief questionnaire to help workers assess how financially prepared they are in the event of a disability

-- Personal Financial Security Plan -- A tool to help workers understand their financial lifestyle and available sources of income should they become disabled

-- Disability Awareness "Quick Quiz" -- A quiz that tests workers' general awareness of disability-related facts

-- Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle -- Ways to stay healthy and reduce your chances of disability

-- Disability Myths and Facts You Need to Know - A fact sheet that debunks common myths about disability

The site also offers resources specifically for employers, such as internal communications templates, information about wellness programs and statistics on the impact of disability on the workplace.

"With an effective wellness program and good 'disability financial planning' American workers can lessen their odds of experiencing a disability and improve their chances of financial security should a disability strike," says Taylor. "When employers help employees lead personally and financially healthy lifestyles, everyone benefits."

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