The Top 10 Causes of Disability

Woman with crutches sitting on a sofaOne of the most frequent misconceptions people have about disability insurance is that they’ll never need it. After all, a disability is catastrophic and it happens so rarely, it’s not a priority for most.

But the truth of the matter is that income protection is far more important than most think. Consider this: There are many causes of disability and one out of every four of us will be out of work for longer than our accrued paid time off allows.

The following list has the top 10 causes of disability.

The Top 10 Causes of Disability

  1. Musculoskeletal:  Between athletic or sports related issues, mere life events (such as hurting your back while helping a neighbor move) or things such as arthritis and chronic joint pain, this tops the list of reasons people are out of work for a few weeks to a few months. Muscle, back, and joint disorders count for more than one-in-four long-term disabilities.
  2. Cancer: Cancer is a frightening disease in and of itself and it becomes even more so when you realize it’s one of the top reasons people are unable to work. Each year more than 70,000 people in their 20s and 30s are diagnosed with cancer. The most common types of cancer seen in young adults are lymphoma, leukemia, testicular, melanoma, and breast cancer. The treatments of these types of cancer can debilitate some people, causing them not to be able to work for a significant amount of time. How will they pay their bills without disability insurance?
  3. Injuries: Exercise mishaps, surgery, accidents: About one in 10 long-term disability claims are caused by injuries and poisonings. When was the last time you broke a bone or tore a ligament that required surgery?
  4. Cardiovascular: Between stress, poor lifestyle choices, and genetic tendencies, heart disease causes nearly one in 10 new long-term disability claims. It strikes unexpectedly and can affect your ability to work for a few weeks or ever a few years.
  5. Mental Disorders: During a given year, about 26 percent of the adult population are diagnosed with one or more metal disorder. No wonder they account for nearly 10 percent of long-term disabilities.
  6. Pregnancy: That’s right…pregnancy. Though not often thought of as a disability, pregnancy and childbirth—normal and with complications—will keep you away from your job and your income (at a time you need it most). Short-term disability covers the time you’re off after child birth, beyond the accrued paid time off your employer provides. Why dip into savings when you have access to insurance?
  7. Nervous System: This includes eye and ear disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, early onset Alzheimer’s has been known to strike individuals in their 30s and affects nearly 200,00 Americans younger than 65. People in these age ranges have years to work, but can be without an income if diagnosed.
  8. Infectious Disease: Talk about “germ warfare” …on your paycheck. Disability claims due to infectious diseases have only increased as more diseases and infections grow resistant to antibiotics. Protect your immune system and your paycheck.
  9. Digestive System: Does the thought of losing your paycheck make you bit queasy? More than 34 million Americans are afflicted with diseases of the digestive system; 20 million of whom have chronic disorders. Many of these disorders prevent Americans from working for a short , or sometimes long, periods of time.
  10. Respiratory Disease: It is estimated that more than 35 million Americans are living with some form of lung disease and many are prevented from working and bringing home a paycheck as a result.

As you read this list, how many friends or family members do you know who are afflicted with any of these? Were their incomes protected or did they have to get into savings or sell of worldly possessions to pay their bills?