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Temporary Disability Period Shows Signs of Impending Disaster


Temporary Disability Period Shows Signs Of A Crisis

The Temporary Disability period showed signs of deterioration of the return to work function.   I was supposed to post on premium audits and classification by analogy. I then read a report from the NCCI that was astounding to me. I will cover classification by analogy next week.

Graphic of Color Blue And Red Arrows temporary Disability period With Light Lining
(c) 123rf.com

According to NCCI, The average duration of workers compensation temporary total disability claims benefits increased during the first half of 2011. This is very likely due to the economy and the availability of jobs in a return to work situation.

The average total number of disability days for a workers comp claims is 149 days. Ouch! The number looks even worse if you compare it to a very well-known standard. After 6 months of disability, the likelihood of a successful return to work is almost zero.

The 180 days (6 month) marker is a well-known and accepted standard for returning injured employees back to work. If I use simple math, it could just be me, but I see a very damaging trend in workers comp.

Subtracting the 149 days from the 180 day precipice, leaves 31 days, or basically a month. I may be making a very large assumption, but that means if the average Workers Comp claim increases by one month, then a Workers Comp crisis would result.

Picture Temporary Disability Period Man in Street Market

If the average length of disability extends beyond 180 days, does that mean that the average claim will be a permanent total claim or one where the vocational rehabilitation benefits would skyrocket?

That is why employers and their Workers Comp claim departments and adjusters (including TPA’s) may have to adjust their paradigms to throwing more effort into the return to work at the very beginning of the claim.

You may want to check out my Five Keys/Secrets to Lowering Your E-Mod. I put this list together over 20 years ago. It is timeless information.

I will post some of my suggestions that employers can use to facilitate a more effective return to work program nest time.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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