How COVID’s effect on workers’ compensation claims has varied by state and industry


The percentage of COVID-19 compensation claims among all workers’ compensation claims paid has varied widely by state and occupation, as has the decline in non-COVID compensation claims, new research shows.

The percentage of COVID-19 claims among all workers’ compensation claims paid ranged from 1% in Kansas and South Carolina to 34% in New Jersey and 42% in Massachusetts in the second quarter of 2020 , according to a study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

WCRI also found that there was a substantial concentration of COVID-19 claims among workers employed in service industries (85% in the second quarter of 2020), particularly in assisted living facilities, hospitals, and physician offices. and dentists.

A number of factors may have contributed to the variation, including the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, presumption laws and compensation rules.

The WCRI study, The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Workers ‘Compensation Claim Composition, examines how the massive slowdown in economic activity at the start of the pandemic impacted workers’ compensation, and to what extent COVID-19 claims have arisen among workers. compensation system.

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This study covers claims with injury dates in the first two quarters of 2019 and 2020 with payments made for medical services or income benefits in the first two quarters of the respective years in 27 states. Researchers analyzed compensation claims from private sector workers and local public sector employees.

Source: WCRI

“This report will shed some light on the early impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers’ compensation and help policymakers and stakeholders track changes in key dimensions of COVID-19’s effect on workers’ compensation, ”said John Ruser, president and CEO of WCRI.

Compared to the first quarter of 2019, WCRI observed decreases in the first quarter of 2020 in the number of non-COVID-19 claims in all states, ranging from a 2% drop in Arkansas to a 20% decrease in Connecticut. Comparing the second quarters of the two years, the reduction in the volume of non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims was even greater, falling by at least 30% in the vast majority of states and by as much as 50% in the Massachusetts.

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For lost-time compensation claims with more than seven days of absence from work (including COVID-19 lost-time compensation claims), the study found even greater variation in changes workers’ compensation claims volume, with some states reporting increases and the number of lost time claims. For the second quarter, the 2019-2020 change in the number of lost-time claims ranged from a 27% drop in Nevada to a 63% increase in Massachusetts.

Overall, how the pandemic has impacted different industries due to lockdowns, the massive economic downturn and remote working has been extremely variable. Comparing the second quarter of 20202 to the same period in 2019, the largest drop in the number of non-COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims was 57% for office and professional workers. The smallest drop was 25 percent for construction workers.

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The 27 states studied account for 68 percent of workers’ compensation benefits paid in the United States. They are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina South, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The authors of this study are Dr Olesya Fomenko and Dr John Ruser.

WCRI is an independent, non-profit research organization based in Cambridge, Mass.

The study: The early impact of COVID-19 on the composition of workers’ compensation claims

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