Flying Solo: Single Workers Lack Financial Safety Net

Benefits For Tomorrow Study finds singles would be hardest hit financially by illness, injury but lag behind couples in insurance

HARTFORD, Conn. – New research from The Hartford finds a majority of single Americans would be hard hit financially by an unexpected health issue that kept them from working, but lack a basic safety net.

The Hartford Benefits For Tomorrow Study found 87 percent of singles would need to make lifestyle changes to meet expenses if they lost income for three to six months, yet 44 percent of single Americans have disability insurance.

“When you consider that singles make up about half of the U.S. population that means a significant number of Americans are risking financial hardship by going without paycheck protection,” said Mike Fish, vice president of voluntary benefits for The Hartford. “Disability insurance obtained through the workplace costs on average about a dollar a day. That means for about the cost of a cup of coffee a day, workers can protect their finances and their independence from the impacts of a health issue.”

In the national poll, singles who don’t have disability insurance were asked what they would do if they could not work for six weeks or more due to a disability. They said they would:

– live off of their savings – 36 percent,
– withdraw from 401(k)  – 23 percent,
– use credit, either cards or bank loan – 8 percent,
– ask for a loan from a friend or family member – 5 percent, and
– move back in with family, parents, brother or sister – 4 percent.
“Because they are likely to dip into their retirement accounts, the singles without paycheck protection are not only putting their current financial situation at risk but their golden years as well,” Fish said.

The annual survey found only 28 percent of Americans completely understand disability insurance. Also, 45 percent of survey participants overestimated the cost of short-term disability insurance by hundreds of dollars, and another 45 percent said they had ‘no idea’ how much the coverage costs.

“We are dedicated to helping Americans understand their physical and financial risks and providing ways to shield their income,” Fish said. “That includes a new flexible disability product this fall that offers a variety of options so that workers can personalize coverage to their needs.”

During May, Disability Insurance Awareness Month, The Hartford will provide information about the coverage through social media, including a new column. Also, consumers can find out more about paycheck protection at The Hartford’s MyTomorrow web site

Survey Methodology
The Hartford Benefits For Tomorrow Study was developed by The Hartford and fielded via online survey by BuzzBack in March 2012. The nationally representative sample consisted of 1,000 full-time U.S. workers, aged 18-64. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent for the national sample.

About The Hartford
The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) is a leading provider of insurance and wealth management services for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. The Hartford is consistently recognized for its superior service, its sustainability efforts and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available here.