Women more financially vulnerable to disability
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Women -- whether working, stay at home, single or married --
are more at risk financially should they become disabled, a new study
Fifty percent of women surveyed by The State Farm Center for
Women and Financial Services at The American College say the impact of becoming
disabled on their household's finances would be at least "somewhat
devastating.” Eighteen percent of women (compared to only 12 percent of men)
are "extremely concerned” about the impact a disability could have on their
financial situation. Women are almost twice as likely as men to think their
cash reserves would last less than one month in the event of a disability (22
percent versus 12 percent).
Single women are especially financially vulnerable, with
more than one in four single women surveyed saying the consequences of
disability would be "totally devastating,” according to the study, based on an
online survey of 2,400 women and men in November 2011. Married women are
also at risk; they are more likely than married men (20 percent vs. 11 percent)
to say they are concerned that their spouse will become disabled and unable to
Women are less likely than men to feel confident about job
security (28 percent vs. 39 percent), covering basic expenses (25 percent vs.
25 percent) and being able to afford medical care (17 percent vs. 25 percent),
if they were to become disabled.
Women are not only more apt to experience financial hardship
due to a disability, they are also significantly more likely than their male
counterparts to develop a disability during their working and senior years, the
study revealed. Specifically, between 1999 and 2009, Social Security Disability
Insurance (SSDI) applications for men grew by 42 percent vs. an increase of 72
percent for women.
Employer-sponsored plans are the most common means of
disability insurance, however less than half have this benefit; 45 percent of
women (and 51 percent of men) are covered. Female entrepreneurs are at
evengreater risk, the study showed.
While more than half of men have done at least some research
into how much disability insurance they need, only about four in 10 women have
researched the issue. Fifty-two percent of men, compared to 37 percent of
women, have discussed the possibility and implications of a disability with a financial