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

Disability Insurance Awareness Month came to a close in May, butits messages are as relevant as ever. Theseriousness of those messages creates the opportunity—andresponsibility—for benefits managers and advisors to engage withemployers well ahead of open enrollment. Like May, open enrollmentwill arrive—and be over—all too soon.

The reality is that one in four adults in the U.S. lives with adisability, and more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds willbecome disabled before they reach retirement age. While people take disability leavefrom the workplace for a variety of reasons, the most commoncauses—depression, arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases,and lower back and neck strains—can happen to anyone and havepersisting impacts on individuals, their families and theiremployers. In fact, the Integrated Benefits Institute found thatillness-related lost productivity costs U.S. employers $530 billionper year due to almost 1.4 billion days of employee workabsence.

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