As Uncle Sam Bows Out, a Private Group Steps in to Continue a Vital Statistical Service

From 1997 to 2000, staff at the National Academy of Social Insurance prepared and published the Workers' Compensation Cost and Benefit Data Series, which tracks trends in claims and payments for job-related injuries and illnesses.

The National Academy of Social Insurance had stepped in to assume responsibility for the 20-year-old series after the federal Social Security Administration abandoned the initiative in 1995.

Key Results

  • Project staff compiled and published data on the costs and benefits of workers' compensation for the years 1994 through 1998.

  • Project staff added several categories of data that had not been included in previous reports on workers' compensation data published by the Social Security Administration, including:

    • State-level information separating medical and cash benefits.
    • Placing workers' compensation into context with other disability insurance programs.
    • Comparisons of recent trends in workers' compensation benefits and costs to those of the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
    • Data on benefits paid by type of disability.

Key Findings

  • From 1993 to 1998, workers' compensation benefits and the associated costs paid by employers to injured or ailing workers declined. Specifically:

    • Workers' compensation benefits (cash benefits and medical care) declined from $45.3 billion to $41.7 billion.
    • Employer costs (insurance premiums or the cost of administering self-insured benefits) decreased from $60.8 billion to $52.1 billion.
  • This downward trend reversed itself in 1998.