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Benefit Adequacy in State Workers' Compensation Programs

By: H. Allan Hunt
Published: June 2005
This article was published in the June 2005 Social Security Bulletin. It was originally part of a policy research seminar co-hosted by the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Social Security Administration (SSA) on June 24, 2004. The seminar, titled Interaction of Workers' Compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance, brought together experts in both workers' compensation and disability programs to examine and emphasize the overlap between workers' compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance. Presenters and discussants at the seminar also proposed policies to improve the coordination and management of workers' compensation and Social Security for disabled Americans who are eligible for both programs.

 This article summarizes several different methods used to measure the adequacy of wage replacement in state workers' compensation systems in the United States. Empirical research casts serious doubt on benefit adequacy, especially in the case of more serious disabilities.