When you hear the word disabled, what comes to mind? Seniors living in nursing homes? Or your friends, your family and your neighbors?

If you’re like many people, you think of the former rather than the latter. The truth, though, is that disability is more common than most people would like to believe. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five Americans aged 18 or older suffers from some form of disability. That’s more than 53 million Americans

Because the CDC study looked at adults living independently, this group can be expected to overlap significantly with the country’s working population. At the same time, more than 82 percent of adults with disabilities are unable to work. Among people who cannot work due to disability, most report annual incomes of less than $15,000.

These numbers make it clear that disability is so common that it could happen to anyone, including you and your loved ones. And those who do become disabled can expect financial hardship as a result.

Here are some more eye-opening statistics:

  • Women have a higher chance of becoming disabled. While 19 percent of men surveyed reported a disability, a shocking 24 percent of women did.
  • Your risk can nearly double depending on your state. Southern states have higher rates of disability. In Alabama, 31.5 percent of those surveyed reported a disability. Minnesota had the lowest rate, with 16.4 percent respondents reporting a disability.
  • Mobility issues are the biggest problem, and 13 percent of those surveyed reported have a mobility-related disability, such as arthritis, back pain or spine problems.
  • All age groups reported disabilities, but the type varied by age. People between the ages of 18 and 44 were more likely to report issues involving a loss of cognition. People between the ages of 45 and 64 were more likely to report mobility issues.

The CDC study came out almost a year and a half ago, but many people continue to underestimate the true risk of disability. To better understand disability and the people it affects, download our “Face of Disability” infographic and share it with your clients. Better yet, give them a disability insurance quote. It’s an essential aspect of financial planning.


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