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Uncomfortable truths about disability that may surprise you

Uncomfortable truths about disability that may surprise you

September 27, 2023

What are the odds that you will become too sick or injured to work? Or that if such misfortune happens, it will cause significant financial strain for you and your family? Unfortunately, many people don’t face the uncomfortable truths about these questions. And it could cost them.

So, here’s some hard facts:

  • Just over one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire.1
  • 72 percent of American employees live from paycheck to paycheck without enough savings to cushion the financial impact a disability may cause.2
  • The average monthly benefit paid to all disabled workers by Social Security Disability Insurance at the end of 2022 was $1,358.3

Potential financial loss

Your income — when viewed over your entire career — is often your single most important asset. A permanent disability, therefore, can have a significant impact on you and your family. The figures below demonstrate the potential financial loss of future earnings if you were to become permanently disabled.

For example, a 35-year old worker with an annual salary of $75,000 who experiences a permanent disability may lose up to $2,250,000 in potential earnings by age 65.


How much could a disability cost you? You can use our calculator to find out.

Causes of disabilities

It is not uncommon for people to assume that most disabilities are the result of accidents. In reality, the majority of disabilities people suffer are due to various forms of illness.

chart 2 


These statistics show that over the course of a person’s life, it is not uncommon for one to become disabled. What may come as a surprise to many is not only the causes of disabilities, but the potential financial loss associated with a permanent disability. Disabilities can occur at any time.

Educating yourself about these uncomfortable truths is a good place to start to help you reduce your own personal financial risk of becoming disabled. A financial professional can provide suggestions and guidance for implementing a plan. (Need a financial professional? Find one here)