Drop seen in disability time away from work

There’s some good news for employers to share about disability claims.

According to Unum, the giant disability insurance provider, the average length of time away from work due to long-term disability has decreased by 3 percent since 2008.

Cancer continues to be the leading cause of long-term disability claims (16 percent), while normal pregnancy is responsible for the highest percent of short-term disability claims (19.5 percent).

These statistics are all derived from an analysis of 2013 claims submitted to Unum.

The leading types of cancer associated with long-term disability claims in 2013 were breast cancer, genitourinary cancer and digestive cancer.

A higher percent of cancer patients taking long-term disability were 60 years old or older. In 2008, 16 percent were at least 60, and in 2013, 20 percent were 60 or older.

Aside from cancer, other leading causes of long-term disability claims for Unum in 2013 were:

  • back disorders (14.4 percent);
  • injuries (10.1 percent);
  • cardiovascular (9.2 percent);
  • joint disorders (9.1 percent). 

Aside from pregnancy, other leading causes of short-term disability claims were:

  • injuries, not back (10.1 percent);
  • pregnancy complications (8.3 percent);
  • digestive/intestinal (7.8 percent);
  • back (7.1 percent).

About the Author


Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.