Despite employees’ lack of knowledge about employer-provided disability insurance, almost all respondents recognize the importance of this insurance and desire its coverage, according to a survey released Monday.

Ninety percent of respondents think employers should make this insurance available to their employees, 88% think is it is important for them personally to be covered, and 61% say this coverage is "very important."

The Consumer Federation of America and Unum survey release coincides with May’s Disability Insurance Awareness Month. The research gauges employees’ knowledge of and attitudes toward group disability insurance. 

The Social Security Administration estimates that just more than 1-in-4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before age 67, according to their website.

Considering the fact the survey reveals 66% of younger employees (18-34) admitted to knowing "not very much" or "nothing at all" about disability insurance, brokers should work alongside younger employees to ensure they are advised of their insurance in case disability strikes.

Most employees recognize that they do not understand group disability insurance with only more than half (52%) say they know "not very much" or "nothing at all." Thirteen percent say they know "a lot" about this insurance, while more than one-third (35%) say they know only "a little”. Those indicating the poorest understanding tended to be young adults and those from low- and moderate-income households.  

This lack of understanding may even extend to knowing whether employees have access to or are covered by group disability insurance at work.  Two-thirds of employees (65%) believe their employers offer it but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 32% of working Americans have access to long-term disability coverage through their employer. 

When the employer does not offer disability insurance, employees are much less likely to know anything about it. Among the respondents without access to employer-sponsored coverage, more than two-thirds (69%) say they knew not very much or nothing at all about disability insurance, compared to 37% of employees who have this coverage.

Lack of knowledge is especially an issue with employees who work in small organizations that are less likely to offer disability insurance. Sixty-two percent of employees at organizations with fewer than 100 workers admit to not knowing much or nothing at all about the insurance, compared to only 47% of employees in larger organizations.

The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corp, which contacted 3,000 adults at least 18 years of age by landline or cell phone during three consecutive weekends.  1,191 are either full- or part-time employees.  The margin of error of the aggregate data is +/- 3 percentage points.

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