You’ve heard of disability insurance, right? I mean what benefits manager worth his or her employee handbook hasn’t, right? You sit down with your employees and go over the basics at least once a year, right?
So why haven’t your employees? In a joint Consumer Federation of American and Unum survey of roughly 1,200 workers, the news isn’t good. Only 13 percent of employees say they know “a lot” about disability. Worse still, less than half of those who actually pay premium on a policy they own even know either how much they’re paying or what they’re paying for.
But the lack of education certainly doesn’t stop there. Misconceptions abound over disability insurance, and what would drive employees to need it. By a two-to-one margin, most people assume injuries spark more disability claims than illnesses when it’s actually the other way around.
And despite the fact that half of employees out of work for three months end up missing more than two years, the safety net for disabled in this country is tattered almost beyond repair. As I pointed out elsewhere on the site last week, the hidden gem in the latest trustees report on the state of Social Security and Medicare, the fed’s signature disability program has less than four years of funding left. And even if it were healthy, we’re talking about a benefit of right around $13,000 a year, which isn’t much help for most people.
Once employees get all the facts, though? A whopping 90 percent of employees clamor to sign on the dotted line, according to the CFA-Unum numbers. More than three-quarters of them would actually back automatic enrollment. And for all of those smaller businesses who’d struggle offering DI to employees? More than 70 percent of workers would support “the federal government providing these employers a one-time tax incentive to help them create a group disability insurance option.”
It looks like employees are already on board, and when it comes time for enrollment, that’s more than half the battle. Isn’t it time you did your part?