Today’s issue of WorkCompRecap features the release of the 25th edition of the National Academy of Social Insurance’s annual Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Costs, and Coverage Report, which found that in addition to its impacts on employment, the pandemic placed pressure on workers’ compensation and other disability benefit programs to keep households afloat.
In addition to the usual five-year study period data, this year’s report also highlights the one-year change in benefits, costs, and coverage between 2019 and 2020. In the first year of the pandemic, total benefits and total costs declined by 6.5% and 7.2%, respectively; more than the 6.1% decrease in covered jobs. NASI noted that the benefit decline was driven by a 12.8% decrease in standardized medical benefits; indemnity benefits fell by only 3.1%. While the declines in standardized costs and benefits continue a multi-decade long trend, the 2020 declines were especially large. The report also notes that states’ experiences in the first year of the pandemic varied considerably, with benefit changes ranging from an increase of 5% to a decrease of 22%.