The nonprofit Council for Disability Awareness warns that the number of employees protected by private disability income insurance declined in 2011 for the third consecutive year, while the number of long-term disability claims continued to rise.

Top long-term disability insurance carriers paid $9.3 billion in 2011, a 2% bump over 2010. Insured lives covered by employer-paid and employer-sponsored group long-term disability programs declined by half a percent.

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