Summary: Being off work due to a disability can have a huge impact on both your financial and emotional well-being. A recent RBC Insurance survey shows that nearly half (48%) of Canadian workers say they weren’t financially prepared to be off work due to a disability and 78% said that finances were tight. Emotional stress also took its toll with 81% indicating that they were upset about not being able to work and 76% saying the situation was stressful for the entire family.

TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2016 /CNW/ – Canadians off work due to a disability are facing a perfect storm – they need time to recover, but instead of focusing on their health, they’re often dealing with the financial stress of trying to make ends meet and the emotional stress of being away from work.

According to the 2015 RBC Insurance disability survey:

  • Three-quarters of Canadians (78 per cent) said finances were tight when off work
  • More than 80 per cent said they were upset about not being able to work
  • Nearly half (48 per cent) said they were not financially prepared to be off work

“Being off work with a disability can take a heavy toll on individuals and families. Not only are you coping with your disability and trying to get better, but the financial and emotional stress affects everyone in the family,” says Mark Hardy, director of Living Benefits, RBC Insurance. “Canadians want to work and live healthy, productive lives, but with one-in-three experiencing a period of disability lasting longer than 90 days during their working lives, Canadians need to take steps to ensure they’re prepared and protected.”

Stress on the family – and extra work for your partner
Being off work takes an emotional toll on the whole family that many people are not prepared to handle. Seventy-six per cent said the situation was stressful for their household, and 50 per cent said that their family relationships were strained. Nearly one in three (31 per cent) said that their able partner had to find extra work to make ends meet.

Emptying the piggybank
Missing work due to a disability can also put enormous strain on finances. Of those surveyed, 29 per cent said they had to dip into savings to pay for expenses, 17 per cent had to take on more debt, 17 per cent borrowed money from family and friends, and 9 per cent cashed in their RRSPs.

The situation is further exacerbated for those respondents who did not have any insurance coverage with over 60 per cent of Canadians indicating that they were in ‘rough shape’ while off work and described this period as ‘financially terrible.’

“When faced with a disability, many people are shocked to find that their employee benefit plans have limited coverage. Having a solid picture of your financial situation and knowing what disability coverage you have are essential first steps, so you don’t have to deal with a big drop in income at the same time that you’re dealing with a disability,” says Hardy.

Tips to help workers off work due to a disability

  • Investigate the coverage you have through your employer plan. Understand how the plan defines a disability, and what is and isn’t covered. Ask about employee assistance programs.
  • Be proactive and formulate a “return to work plan” with your employer and family.
  • Ask your medical professionals about services or programs that may be available to ensure you’re getting all the care you need to recover.
  • Explore any of your ‘Return to Work Benefits’ such as financial planning, job search and retraining, rehabilitation and other services to help make a smooth transition back into the workplace.

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 ± 2.9 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 Insurance

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