Recession created unexpected results in short and long-term disability claims

The recession created unexpected results in short and long-term disability claims in 2009 according to the Employer Measure of Productivity, Absence and Quality annual survey. Business owners in the United States saw fewer claims for short-term and long-term disability benefits in 2009. In addition, employers in the United States also saw lower short-term disability costs though costs per claim for long term disability rose by 25 percent.

The Employer Measure of Productivity, Absence and Quality annual survey is conducted by a non-profit organization called the National Business Group on Health. The survey looks at the disability claim numbers of over 300 of the largest corporations in the United States. The results of the survey may confound and run opposite of what many employers expected to happen during the recession. According to the President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health employers generally believed that short-term disability claims would increase during the recession. Normally, it is expected that the anxiety associated with losing a job causes employees to make more short -term disability claims says the President.

The Great Recession had the opposite effect. The reason why the claim trend occurred in opposite is because the labor market was so dire many employees delayed taking time off of work such as delaying taking time off for elective procedures.

In 2009, long-term disability claims decreased by 26 percent from 4.6 claims per 1,000 employees to 3.4 claims per 1,000 employees. Short-term disability claims decreased by over 17 percent in 2009 from 8.1 claims per 100 employees to 6.7 claims.

Source: prnewswire.com, “Recession fueled decline in short and long-term disability claims in 2009, National Business Group on Health’s EMPAQ Report finds,” 1/18/11

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