May 1, 2012

Study Points to Lack of Knowledge about Disability Insurance

checkA recent Consumer Federation of America and Unum survey has shed light on just what employees think about disability insurance and the disparity between their understanding and real-life statistics. Of the nearly 1,200 employees surveyed, relatively few understood the reasons for work missed due to disability, most underestimated the frequency of missed work, and the vast majority knew very little about group disability insurance.

For example, about two-thirds of employees thought that injuries account for the majority of extended work absences (3 or more months). In reality, the vast majority of disability claims are for illnesses and other health conditions. Most employees believe that one quarter of disabled workers who are unable to work for at least three months will remain disabled for two years or more. Recent statistics have actually shown that this number is more like half.

Eighty seven percent of employees said they knew “a little” to “nothing at all” about group disability insurance. And of employees who believed they may be covered by a disability plan, 59 percent did not know how much it costs, and 53 percent had no understanding of their benefits. Regarding employee support of corporate policies that increase the availability of group disability insurance, 76 percent reported that they thought it was a good idea for employers to enroll employees automatically in such a program.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.