Monday, October 13, 2014

What Can We Learn from the Council for Disability Awareness Annual Long Term Disability Claims Review?

Since 2005 a non-profit organization known as "The Council for Disability Awareness" (CDA) has conducted an annual review of long term disability claims among workers in the U.S.  This organization, based in Portland, Oregon, is directed by 18 member companies that provide long term disability policies and/or administer long term disability plans.  The 18 member companies are: Aetna, Ameritas, The Guardian, Lincoln Financial, Ohio National, The Standard, AIG, Assurant, The Hartford, Mass Mutual, Principal Financial, Sun Life, American Fidelity, Disability RMS, Illinois Mutual, Met Life, Prudential and Unum.  Long term disability industry giants such Cigna and Liberty Mutual are not part of the organization.
The "2014 Long Term Disability Claims Review" provides an interesting analysis of the current trends in the disability claims process, including detailed data analysis of the Social Security Disability Claims program.  A copy of this report can be found here.   
The data analysed by the report is highly relevant to debate taking place in Congress regarding the solvency of the Social Security Trust Funds and SSD.  Many correlations can be made between the rise in Social Security Disability claims between 2009 and 2011, and the number of claims made during this period under long term disability policies.
One of the aspects of the report that caught my attention was the data regarding the percentage of claims by gender.  It has been said that the entrance of women into the workforce in the past four decades accounts for the sharp rise in the number of persons receiving Social Security Disability. The data gathered by the CDA confirms this theory.  In fact, the 2014 report found that "Fifty-six percent of new disability claims approved during 2013 were for women and 44 percent were for men. The percentage of claims for men increased in both 2012 and 2013 after claims for women increased in 2010 and 2011."