Higher-Paid Workers Receive Longer Temporary Disability Benefits: NCCI Report

Exploring the complex relationship between wages and temporary disability benefits duration, this report reveals higher-paid, older workers typically receive longer-term benefits
By: | March 28, 2024
worker with foot in a boot

Higher-paid workers tend to receive temporary disability benefits for a longer period of time than lower-paid workers, but other factors likely influence that duration, according to a research report from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

The relationship between wages and the how long temporary disability (TD) benefits are paid is a complex one that is influenced by a multitude of factors, particularly the age of the injured worker, according to the report’s authors.

The NCCI found that high wage earners tend to have the longest average TD duration, while low wage earners have the shortest. The average duration is 67 days for injured workers aged 29 and younger to 113 days for those 65 or older. After age 40, the increase in TD duration is less significant, the research noted.

The influence of wage on duration depends on a claimant’s age, the study found:

  • For workers aged 29 years and younger, low wage earners have a meaningfully shorter duration of TD benefits.
  • For workers in the age group 30 to 34, and those in the 64 and older age group, wage does not meaningfully influence duration within the age group.
  • For workers in age groups between 35 to 64, high wage earners have a meaningfully shorter duration.

The study authors noted age may be a factor because older workers typically earn more than younger ones on average and an older injured worker may take longer to heal.

The NCCI study also showed variations in average duration of TD benefits by state, economic sector, and body system/medical condition.

For instance, the longest average TD duration by state is in Louisiana, at 149 days, while the shortest duration was Iowa, at 71 days.

By sector, construction and utilities sector has the longest average and median TD duration of 116 days and 74 days, respectively. Other economic sectors all have relatively similar distributions, with means ranging from 85 to 100 days and medians ranging from 46 to 57 days, the report found.

“Nervous system claims, which include injuries such as quadriplegia, are relatively rare, accounting for 0.06% of all TD benefit claims, but are very severe when they do occur,” the report noted. Nervous system TD claims had an average duration of 264 days, and a median duration of 349 days.

In conclusion, it is crucial to consider the interactions between various factors when examining TD duration. The impact of wage on TD duration is not a straightforward relationship but is influenced by multiple factors, particularly the age of the injured worker.

For a copy of the report, visit the NCCI website. &

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected].

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