The important conversation Canadian workers aren’t having: The financial impact of becoming disabled

Disabilities happen – one in three Canadian workers will be off work for three months or more – yet 67% of us haven’t discussed how to handle financial impact of not working

  • Summary: Becoming disabled while working is a real possibility for many Canadians. 43% of working households in Canada have had someone take time off due to disability and one-in-three working Canadians will experience a period of disability lasting longer than 90 days during their working lives. Yet 67% of Canadian workers have not talked about how they would manage the financial impact of not working. Canadians need to have these conversations, know their coverage and be prepared.

Toronto, ON (Sept. 30, 2015) – While Canadians may be savvier than ever when it comes to planning their financial futures, many workers are not taking the time to discuss the financial impacts of becoming disabled. According to a recent RBC Insurance survey, 95 per cent of working Canadians agreed that a disability could happen at any time, yet 67 per cent have not discussed with their family how they would face the financial impacts if they could not work due to a disability.

These are important conversations to have, considering that 43 per cent of working households have had someone take off time due to disability, and that 72 per cent of Canadians would face serious financial implications if off work for three months.

“Working Canadians cannot ignore the real risk that they may be off work with a disability sometime in their working careers,” explains Mark Hardy, senior manager, Life and Living Benefits, RBC Insurance. “One-in-three working Canadians will experience a period of disability lasting longer than 90 days during their working lives. Workers need to talk with their family and take action today so they are prepared for future financial implications of not being able to work.”

“We Need to Talk”

Not knowing how to start the conversation (20 per cent) and a discomfort with talking about disability (19 per cent) are the leading reasons why Canadians are not talking about the financial implications of missing work. What would get Canadians talking? Thirty-four per cent would be more open to a conversation if their own financial situation worsened and 23 per cent would discuss the topic if they personally knew someone who had missed work due to a disability.

“There is a mistaken perception that a disability ‘will never happen to me,’ but becoming disabled is a real possibility during our careers. Disability can occur suddenly, and beyond the serious financial implications there’s also the emotional toll to consider, which further underscores the need for conversation,” added Hardy.

Canadian Workers Need to Confirm Coverage

Understanding what coverage you have is important for all Canadian workers. Many believe they have enough coverage through their employer, and may not realize that benefit plans have limited coverage. With 43 per cent of families indicating that they do not have disability insurance coverage through their workplace benefits package, workers need to confirm what they have and take immediate steps to ensure that they are protected.

Tips to Consider for Discussing Finances and Being Off Work Due to a Disability

  • Investigate the coverage you have through your employer plans. Understand how the plan defines a disability and what is and isn’t covered. If you need additional coverage talk with an insurance professional.
  • Understand your personal finances and how much income you need to cover monthly expenses.
  • Set aside an emergency budget to help you through at least three months of living expenses.
  • If you need support, talk with friends and family and ask about employee assistance programs at work.
  • The ideal time to bring up this conversation is when you are reviewing and discussing your annual financial goals.

About the RBC Insurance Survey

RBC Insurance commissioned Ipsos to conduct a survey to gauge public opinion of Canadian workers regarding matters related to disability, financial preparedness around disability and attitudes towards disability. The survey was conducted between June 12 to 19, 2015. In total, a sample of n=1,500 working Canadians was surveyed online using Ipsos’s I-Say online panel. The precision of Ipsos’s online survey are measured using a credibility interval, in this case the results are considered accurate to within � 2.95 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had the entire population of Canadian workers been polled.

About RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies, and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,000 employees, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.

Source: RBC Corporate Communications