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Broken leg The primary benefit of disability coverage, which most employees understand, is the partial payment of income should a working person encounter a covered disabling event. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Disability Insurance Awareness Month came to a close in May, but its messages are as relevant as ever. The seriousness of those messages creates the opportunity—and responsibility—for benefits managers and advisors to engage with employers well ahead of open enrollment. Like May, open enrollment will arrive—and be over—all too soon.

The reality is that one in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability, and more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they reach retirement age. While people take disability leave from the workplace for a variety of reasons, the most common causes—depression, arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases, and lower back and neck strains—can happen to anyone and have persisting impacts on individuals, their families and their employers. In fact, the Integrated Benefits Institute found that illness-related lost productivity costs U.S. employers $530 billion per year due to almost 1.4 billion days of employee work absence.

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