By: John F. Burton, Jr. and Emily Spieler
Published: April, 2001
Health and Income Security for an Aging Workforce
Brief No. 3 ~ April 2001
After rising sharply in the 1980s, workers’ compensation costs and benefits declined during the
1990s. The recent decline may reflect, in part, a decline in the availability and adequacy of these
benefits. Workers in the second half of their work lives are particularly likely to be affected by these
changes. Although workers’ compensation continues to compensate workers for acute short-term
injuries, the availability of benefits for permanent disabilities associated with aging appears to be
declining in many states. This trend is likely to shift benefit costs to other social and private insur-ance.
To the extent that other programs do not replace earnings lost due to permanent disability,
these costs are shifted to workers and their families.