For Immediate Release | August 2, 2012


Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC – Workers’ compensation benefits declined to $57.5 billion in 2010 according to a report released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). The drop in workers’ compensation benefits was largely due to a 2.1 percent drop in medical benefits for injured workers. Employers’ costs for workers’ compensation also fell by 2.7 percent in 2010. As a share of covered wages, employers’ costs in 2010 were the lowest in the last three decades.

“Employers’ costs as a percent of payroll declined in 43 jurisdictions,” said John F. Burton, Jr., chair of the study panel that oversees the report. “This decline is probably due to the slow pace of the recovery, with many jurisdictions still experiencing relatively high unemployment rates.”

Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Coverage, and Costs, 2010
Change Since 2009 (%) 
Covered workers (in thousands)
Covered wages (in billions)
Benefits paid (in billions)
     Medical benefits
     Cash benefits $29.5 0.7%
Employer costs (in billions) $71.3 -2.7%
Per $100 of Covered Wages
Change Since 2009 ($)
Benefits paid
    Medical benefits
    Cash benefits
Employers’ costs
Source: National Academy of Social Insurance, 2012.

This report represents the first time the Academy has released employers’ costs by state. For a table showing employers’ costs for all fifty states and the District of Columbia, download the PDF  and refer to Table 12 (page 34).

Most states reported a decrease in the number of workers covered but an increase in covered wages between 2009 and 2010. During the same period, the total amount of benefits paid to injured workers declined in 26 jurisdictions and increased in 25. As a share of payroll, benefits paid to injured workers fell by three cents to $0.99 per $100 of payroll in the nation.

The share of medical benefits for workers’ compensation has increased substantially over the last 40 years. During the 1970s medical benefits nationally accounted for 30 percent of total benefits, whereas in 2010 the share of benefits paid for medical care was almost 50 percent. Experts attribute this trend to the rising cost of health care.

The new report, Workers’ Compensation: Benefits, Coverage and Costs, 2010, is the fifteenth in the series that provides the only comprehensive data on workers’ compensation benefits for the nation, the states, the District of Columbia, and federal programs.

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 & Cornell University
(732) 274-0600 |

Marjorie Baldwin, Arizona State University
(480) 965-7868 |

Virginia Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance
(202) 452-8097 |

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

See related news: Disability, Workers' Compensation

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