PRESS RELEASE: California Workers' Compensation Benefits Decline

For Immediate Release: August 16, 2011

Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC—Workers’ compensation benefits for workers injured on the job in California decreased 1.6 percent to $9.3 billion in 2009, according to a study released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).  In 2009 (the most recent year with complete data), the number of covered workers in California fell to 14.4 million, a 5.7 percent drop from the previous year, due in large part to the economic downturn.

Workers’ compensation benefits for medical care in California declined by 1.8 percent to $5.1 billion and cash benefits declined by 1.4 percent to $4.2 billion. Spending on medical care continued to make up more than half of total benefits in California.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Coverage, 2009
Aggregate Amounts
Change in Percent
Covered workers (in millions)
Covered wages (in billions)
Workers' compensation benefits paid (in billions)
     Medical benefits
     Cash benefits 4.2 -1.4
Medical benefits share 54% -
Covered workers (in millions)
Covered wages (in billions)
Workers' compensation benefits paid (in billions) $58.3 0.4
     Medical benefits
     Cash benefits
Employer costs $73.9 -7.6
Source: National Academy of Social Insurance, 2011.

Nationally, workers’ compensation benefits increased 0.4 percent to $58.3 billion. This change included both a 1.1 percent decrease in medical benefits and 1.9 percent increase in cash benefits. Employment of covered workers fell by 4.4 percent, while employer costs declined by 7.6 percent; both numbers represent the biggest percentage declines in over 20 years.

The new report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage and Costs, 2009, is the fourteenth report in the NASI series and provides the only comprehensive data on workers’ compensation benefits for the nation, the states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS:  For a copy of the printed report, media can contact Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097 or by e-mail at  All others should contact Ishita Sengupta at



Ishita Sengupta
National Academy of Social Insurance
(202) 452-8097

John F. Burton, Jr.
Rutgers University and
Cornell University
(732) 274-0600

Jack Hannan
Marketing and Communications
WCIRB California
(415) 778-7065


The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security and a vibrant economy.