Disability Statistics

It happens more often than you’d imagine:

  • Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire
  • Over 36 million Americans are classified as disabled; about 12% of the total population. More than 50% of those disabled Americans are in their working years, from 18-64
  • 8.3 million disabled wage earners, over 5% of U.S. workers, were receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits at the conclusion of March 2011
  • In December of 2010, there were over 2.5 million disabled workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s receiving SSDI benefits

 

 Chances of becoming disabled:

The following statistics come from CDA’s PDQ disability risk calculator:

  • A typical female, age 35, 5’4”, 125 pounds, non-smoker, who works mostly an office job, with some outdoor physical responsibilities, and who leads a healthy lifestyle has the following risks:
  • A 24% chance of becoming disabled for 3 months or longer during her working career;
  • With a 38% chance that the disability would last 5 years or longer,
  • And with the average disability for someone like her lasting 82 months

 If this same person used tobacco and weighed 160 pounds, the risk would increase to a 41% chance of becoming disabled for 3 months or longer.

  • A typical male, age 35, 5’10”, 170 pounds, non-smoker, who works an office job, with some outdoor physical responsibilities, and who leads a healthy lifestyle has the following risks:
  • A 21% chance of becoming disabled for 3 months or longer during his working career;
  • With a 38% chance that the disability would last 5 years or longer,
  • And with the average disability for someone like him lasting 82 months

 If this same person used tobacco and weighed 210 pounds, the risk would increase to a 45% chance of becoming disabled for 3 months or longer.

 A sample of factors that increase the risk of disability: Excess body weight, tobacco use, high risk activities or behaviors, chronic conditions such as; diabetes, high blood pressure, back pain, anxiety or depression, frequent alcohol consumption or substance abuse.

 A sample of factors that decrease the risk of disabilities: Maintaining a healthy body weight, no tobacco use, healthy diet and sleep habitats, regular exercise, moderate to no alcohol consumption, avoidance of high risk behaviors including substance abuse, maintaining a healthy stress level, and effective treatment of chronic health conditions.

 

Common cause of disability:

 According to CDA’s 2011 Long-Term Disability Claims Review, the following are the leading causes of new disability claims in 2010:

  • Musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders caused 27.5% of new claims*
  • Cancer was the 2nd leading cause of new disability claims at 14.6%
  • Injuries and Poisoning caused 10.3% of new claims
  • Cardiovascular/circulatory disorders caused 9.1% of new claims
  • Mental disorders caused 9.1% of new claims

 Cancer claims were lower as a percentage of new disability claims in 2010, although cancer remains the second leading cause of new disability claims and the fourth leading cause of ongoing claims.

The most Common cause of existing disability claims in 2010 included: diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (30.1% of all existing claims), diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (13.4%), diseases of the circulatory system (12.7%) and cancer (8.4%).

Approximately 95% of disabilities are caused by illnesses rather than accidents.

*This category includes claims caused by neck and back pain; joint, muscle and tendon disorders; foot, ankle and hand disorders, etc.

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