|Income benefits paid to workers through the workers’ compensation system replace a smaller fraction of lost income benefits than previously believed|
Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.
Filling in gaps from earlier studies conducted by others, a group of researchers has released the findings of a significant new study showing persistent earnings losses for workers up to 10 years following a work-related injury, even for comparatively minor injuries. Moreover, the study reveals that income benefits paid to workers through the workers’ compensation system replace a smaller fraction of the lost income benefits than previously believed. [See Seabury, SA et al., “Using Linked Federal and State Data to Study the Adequacy of Workers’ Compensation Benefits,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine vol. 57, pp. 1165–1173, Oct. 2014].
Limitations of Prior Studies
Past studies from U.S. jurisdictions have generally found that injured workers experience significant losses from work-related injuries and that on average the replacement of lost earnings is low. Those past studies faced data limitations, however. For example, most of the studies relied on earnings information from state unemployment insurance (UI) records. While UI data provide rich information on wage and salary income within a given...