Category Archives: Workers’ Compensation

Workers' Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2010

Source: Ishita Sengupta, Virginia Reno, John F. Burton, Jr., and Marjorie Baldwin, National Academy of Social Insurance, August 2012

From the summary:
Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2010 is the fifteenth in a series begun by the National Academy of Social Insurance to provide the only comprehensive national data on this largely state-run program. The study provides estimates of workers’ compensation payments–cash and medical–for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs providing workers’ compensation.
See also:
Press release

The Effect of State Workers’ Compensation Program Changes on the Use of Federal Social Security Disability Insurance

Source: Melissa McInerney & Kosali Simon, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Volume 51 Issue 1, January 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In addition to traditional forms of private and public medical insurance, two other large public programs help pay for costs associated with ill health. In 2008, Workers’ Compensation (WC) insurance provided $57.6 billion in medical care and cash benefits to employees who are injured at work or contract a work-related illness, and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) provided $106 billion to individuals who suffer from permanent disabilities and are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. During the 1990s, real DI outlays increased nearly 70 percent, whereas real WC cash benefit spending fell by 12 percent. There has been concern that part of this relationship between two of the nation’s largest social insurance programs may be due to individuals substituting toward DI as state WC policies tightened. We first show that this negative correlation between the national series does not hold over time within states, the level at which a causal relationship should operate. We then test for a causal effect of changes in WC enrollment on DI applications and new DI cases within states over time, using state policy (the maximum WC benefit) as an instrument for WC enrollment. Despite a strong first stage fit, we find no statistically significant evidence that WC tightening caused DI rolls to increase, although the standard errors are large enough that we cannot reject effects of substantial magnitude. We conclude it is unlikely that state WC changes were a meaningful factor in explaining the rise in DI during our study period of 1986-2001, although further study using individual level data is warranted.

Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2009

Source: Ishita Sengupta, Virginia Reno, and John F. Burton, Jr. , National Academy of Social Insurance, August 2011

This is the fourteenth report the Academy has issued on workers’ compensation national data. Before the National Academy of Social Insurance began the publication, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) produced the only comprehensive national data on workers’ compensation benefits and costs with annual estimates dating back to 1946. SSA discontinued the series in 1995 after publishing data for 1992-93.

This report provides a benchmark of the coverage, benefits, and costs of workers’ compensation in 2009, to facilitate policymaking and comparisons with other social insurance and employee benefit programs….Key estimates from this year’s report are summarized below.

National Trends:
– Workers’ compensation programs in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs paid $58.3 billion in benefits in 2009, an increase of 0.4 percent from $58.1 billion in 2008.
– Medical payments decreased by 1.1 percent, to $28.9 billion, in 2009 but cash benefits to injured workers increased by 1.9 percent to $29.4 billion.
– Costs to employers fell by 7.6 percent in 2009 to $73.9 billion. This is the largest percentage decline in employer costs since 1987.
– Workers’ compensation covered an estimated 124.9 million workers in 2009, a decrease of 4.4 percent from the previous year due to the recession, which began in 2007. Aggregate wages of covered workers fell by 4.7 percent in 2009.
– Measured as a percentage of the wages of covered workers, benefits paid to workers increased whereas employer costs fell in 2009. As a share of covered wages, employers’ costs in 2009 were lower than in any year since 1980
– A total of 4,551 fatal work injuries occurred in 2009, which is a 12.7 percent decrease from the number reported in 2008, and the lowest since 1992.

State Trends:
– Between 2008 and 2009, the total amount of benefits paid to injured workers declined in 27 jurisdictions while the remaining 24 jurisdictions experienced an increase in benefit payments.
– Among the 51 jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia), on average from 2008 to 2009, medical benefits declined in 27 states and cash benefits increased in 28 states.

Workers’ Compensation

Source: New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, Volume 20, Number 3, 2010
(subscription required)

Articles include:
Workers’ Compensation in the United States: Cost Shifting and Inequities in a Dysfunctional System by Joseph LaDou

Workers’ Compensation Reform Requires an Agenda… AND a Strategy by Michael B. Lax

Why Are the Workers’ Compensation Systems Dysfunctional? From Scientists We Ought Also to Expect Science! by Sheldon W. Samuels

Workers’ Compensation Reform Policy by American Public Health Association

Social Networking and Workers’ Compensation Law at the Crossroads

Source: Gregory M. Duhl, Jaclyn S. Millner, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-16

From the abstract:
Over the past decade, social networking has increasingly influenced the practice of both civil and criminal law. One way to illustrate those influences is to examine a “system” of laws and the parties and lawyers in that system. In this article, we examine how social networking has influenced workers’ compensation law, looking at, in particular, the intersection of professional responsibility, discovery, privacy, and evidence with social networking in state workers’ compensation systems.

Workers’ compensation laws are no-fault insurance systems designed to resolve disputes efficiently. Consequently, the rules of evidence are often more relaxed and the rules of discovery often more restricted than in state and federal court litigation. The flexible and self-contained structure of workers’ compensation systems provides an ideal backdrop against which to examine how information from social networking sites can be used as evidence to resolve civil disputes.

A state’s workers’ compensation system should use the rules that have traditionally applied to non-electronic information as a starting point to address issues arising from lawyers gathering and introducing into evidence information stored on social networking sites. At the same time, because of the efficiency of workers’ compensation law and the large discretion vested in its judges, workers’ compensation systems have the potential to be laboratories for new technologies and how they can be used in the resolution of disputes, both inside and outside of workers’ compensation.

Workers’ Comp Screening Has Its Risks as Well as Rewards

Source: Fay Hansen, Workforce Management Online, September 2010

While background screening firms are adding workers’ comp checks alongside drug testing, credit reports and court records, collecting information on injuries and claims could expose companies to legal risks, including ADA compliance issues.

ith a prolonged hiring slump still dogging many industries, employment screening vendors are expanding their offerings and promoting new services to boost business. A number of vendors, such as LexisNexis, HireSafe and TalentWise, now include a review of workers’ compensation claims to their list of tools that employers can select to screen job candidates.

Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2008

Source: Ishita Sengupta, Virginia Reno, and John F. Burton, Jr., National Academy of Social Insurance, September 2010

From the press release:
Workers’ compensation payments for medical care and cash benefits for U.S. workers injured on the job increased 4.4 percent to $57.6 billion in 2008, according to a study released today (PDF) by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). For the first time, medical benefits accounted for over half (50.4 percent) of all benefits paid. An 8.8 percent increase in payments for medical care drove medical spending to $29.1 billion in 2008 (the most recent year with complete data), while wage replacement benefits paid directly to injured workers rose by 0.3 percent to $28.6 billion.

Comparing Workers’ Compensation claims with establishments’ responses to the SOII

Source: Nicole Nestoriak and Brooks Pierce, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 132, No. 5, May 2009

Comparing elements of the Workers’ Compensation database with data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses is a useful way to determine which types of injuries and illnesses the SOII is most likely to undercount.

Workers’ Compensation Resources

Source: John Burton’s Workers’ Compensation Resources, 2009

Welcome to John Burton’s Workers’ Compensation Resources. We offer access to data, research, and other information pertaining to workers’ compensation in the United States and other countries when possible. Visit the following areas of our site for more information:
About the Staff
Contact Information
Resources for Injured Workers
Workers’ Compensation Policy Review
National Commission Report
Conferences and Meetings
Data and Articles
Links to other sites
Grants and Research Opportunities
Advisory Board

Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2006

Source: Ishita Sengupta, Virginia Reno, and John F. Burton Jr., National Academy of Social Insurance, August 2008

From the abstract:
U.S. workers’ compensation payments for medical care and cash benefits for workers disabled by workplace injuries or diseases declined in 2006, according to a study released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The drop in payments in 2006 (the most recent year with complete data) reflects large declines in California payments for workers’ compensation cash benefits as reforms enacted in 2003 and 2004 took effect.