The State of Disability Today

In a recent presentation by the Council for Disability Awareness (, a non-profit organization with the goal of educating the public about disability and how to financially prepare for it, President Barry Lundquist shared some important statistics. The overwhelming message was that workers are unprepared for the risks posed by disability. The following are some of his most poignant statistical data.


  • According to a study by the Social Security Administration, 1 in 4 of today’s twenty-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.
  • 12% of Americans are classified as disabled, while only 5% of Americans are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
  • 65% of initial SSDI claim applicants were denied in 2009.
  • From 2008 to 2009, SSDI recipients increased by 21%. The main factors contributing to this increase were the poor economy, high unemployment rates and America’s aging working population.
  • The average long-term disability claim duration is 31.2 months.
  • More than 1 in 5 workers will be disabled for 5 years or more during their working careers.
  • Approximately 95% of disabilities are caused by illnesses as opposed to accidents.
  • 60% of adult Americans have no savings earmarked for emergencies.


For insurance advisors, this sends a clear message- the American people are in need of adequate income protection with the use of disability insurance. Adequate means at least 65% of their total income is insured. When the traditional carriers can’t or won’t meet this level, Petersen International Underwriters is here to answer the call. Contact us to learn more.


The above information provided by Petersen International Underwriters’ claims administrators, International Risk Management Group.