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New Data Shows Continued Growth of Long-Term Disability Claims and Decline in Social Security Disability Insurance Applications Approval Rate
Date:5/13/2008

Council for Disability Awareness Releases its 2007 Claims Review from Leading Insurance Companies and Social Security Administration Data

PORTLAND, Maine, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Data from the annual Long-Term Disability Claims Review released today by the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) reveals the continued growth of serious disabilities among the U.S. working population. Over the last ten years, the number of U.S. workers with long-term disabilities has grown four times the growth of workers in the U.S. workforce. The Review also found that a growing number of female and younger workers are experiencing serious disabilities that are impacting their ability to work. Most disabilities continue to be caused by off-the-job accidents and illnesses.

The 2007 CDA Long-Term Disability Claims Review, the third annual review of long-term disability claim trends among the U.S. working population, includes primary data from the annual CDA member company long-term disability claims survey and analyzes selected worker disability data from the SSDI program.

According to this year's review, more than 560,000 individuals received long-term disability insurance payments from CDA member companies in 2007, resulting in claim payments in excess of $7.7 billion - a 7 percent increase in payments made in 2006.

The review also shows that in last year 7.1 million disabled workers received payments from the Social Security Disability Insurance program totaling $91.3 billion - a 4.3 percent increase over payments made in 2006 and more than double the SSDI payments to disabled workers just 10 years ago.

The number of workers applying for SSDI disability payments increased to 2.2 million in 2007, 2.6% more that in 2006, while the number of disabled workers approved for payments declined to 37.6 percent, the lowest approval rate in the history of the program. Despite the increase in monthly SSDI payments, now averaging $1004 per worker, payments are less reliable and have not kept pace with the growing financial needs of disabled workers, putting the financial security of workers and their dependents at greater risk.

"The CDA Claim Review shows that it is critical and urgent for American workers and their families to become aware of the growing instances of disability and to prepare for the financial consequences," explained Robert Taylor, president of CDA. "Our data also shows that accountability for personal financial security continues to shift away from trusted sources like social programs and employers to the individual."

Working women and younger employees are more vulnerable to serious accidents and illnesses that can impact their ability to earn a living. The growth in the rate of serious disability for working women is twice the growth rate of working men and younger workers, in their 20s, 30s and 40s are experiencing serious disabilities.

According to the review, the leading cause of long-term disability insurance claims continues to be musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders - accounting for almost one-quarter of all new and existing claims. Cancer and cardiovascular/circulatory problems remained the second and third most common causes of new disability claims. Accidents and injuries remain the fastest growing causes of new as well as existing claims.

"It's important that Americans recognize the growing threat that disability can pose to their financial security," explains Taylor. "With this annual survey, CDA continues to expand the public dialogue that will raise the necessary awareness level on this critical issue."

About the 2007 CDA Long-Term Disability Claims Review

CDA conducts an annual review of long-term disability claims among the U.S. working population to determine continuing or emerging trends. The 2007 Long-Term Disability Claims Review includes 2007 long-term disability insurance claims data supplied by CDA member companies and an analysis of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program 2007 Annual Statistical Supplement.

About the Council for Disability Awareness

The Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) is a non-profit group dedicated to helping the American workforce become aware of the growing likelihood of disability and its financial consequences. The CDA engages in communications, research and educational activities that provide information and helpful resources to wage earners, their families, the media, employers and others who are concerned about disability and the impact it can have on wage earners and their families. For more information about the CDA, visit: http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org.


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SOURCE Council for Disability Awareness
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