U.S. consumers may have a reputation for obliviousness, but they are more aware of disability risk than financial advisors generally recognize.
Analysts at the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), Portland, Maine, present data supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a recent survey of 1,267 individual and group financial advisors and a related survey of several hundred consumers.
The risk that a consumer will spend some time coping with a disabling condition while of working age is 1 in 4, but consumers think the risk is only about 1 in 10, CDA analysts say.
But the CDA has found that 83% of consumers agree that disability "can happen to anyone at any time."
Only 35% of advisors said they thought consumers would disagree with that statement, and 45% said they thought typical consumers would agree with the statement "disabilities happen infrequently."
In reality, only 5% of consumers agree with the statement that disabilities happen infrequently, the analysts report.
The CDA found that 31% of the consumers and 1% of the advisors agreed with the idea that people who face a disability while of working age rarely return to work.
The average long-term disability (LTD) claim lasts just 2.5 years, the analysts say. Many other people who experience disabilities have short-term disability claims due to conditions that clear up before those people can qualify for LTD benefits.