Five Common Causes of Disability—Protecting Your Employees and Your Business

8-23-five-common-causes-imageThe concern over losing employees is something that keeps many HR managers and CEOs up throughout the night, and for good reason. Replacing even a $10/hr employee can cost over $3,000, and the expense of finding someone to take over a high-level position can be $8,000 or more. Even if you treat your employees like gold and are sure they’ll never want to leave, there’s little you can do to prevent disability from impacting their ability to work.

There’s a reason why some of the world’s most successful companies offer disability insurance—it helps protect them against losing valuable employees. Here are just a few of the most common reasons/causes for disability, all of which make a strong case for why you should either offer or convince your employees to opt into disability insurance.


1. Musculoskeletal

Illnesses of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues account for approximately 30% of all disability cases. Many of these types of issues can result from extensive periods sitting in front of a computer—tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome come to mind—but others, such as osteoporosis, can come out of nowhere and are difficult to predict. As one might expect, musculoskeletal issues can make performing just about any type of work a challenge, hence their prominent contributions to disability.


2. Cancer

Every year, more than 70,000 people in their twenties and thirties are diagnosed with cancer. Despite significant medical advancements over the past few decades, the dreaded “C” word still strikes fear into the hearts of even the strongest individuals. Cancer can hit with no warning, and it’s something that very few people can adequately predict ahead of time, even with routine screenings in place. When an employee is diagnosed with cancer, their world revolves around treatment and getting healthy—getting to work every day may become a low priority, or even an impossibility.


3. Arthritis

About one-in-three adults suffers from arthritis in one form or another. The problem can be especially disconcerting for those who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a progressive disease that can make performing basic daily functions a true challenge. Disability claims often come as a result of an arthritis diagnosis, and for those who type for a living, the chances that problems might pop up at some point during their working years are  high enough to warrant considering disability insurance.


4. Heart Disease

Heart disease affects people of all ages and all walks of life. Coronary heart disease was projected to cost the country over $108 billion in 2010, which takes into consideration health care services, medications and lost productivity. Health and wellness should always be encouraged to help prevent heart disease, as it’s one of the few conditions that can be heavily influenced by lifestyle.


5. Mental Health Problems

Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can seem innocuous compared to physical ailments such as cancer and heart disease, but they end up costing the United States over $42 billion annually. These conditions can make maintaining a consistent schedule and performing solid work difficult, if not impossible. And unlike a problem arm or a spinal injury, they often hide in plain sight. Fortunately, many mental health issues are highly treatable, especially if identified during the early stages.



If you think disability won’t affect your organization, you may end up learning the hard way how much of an impact it can have. Consider working with your employees to help them get the coverage they need. After all, the future of the company may depend upon it.