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Retroactive and Waiting Periods May Affect Disability Length


Retroactive and Waiting Periods

Retroactive and Waiting Periods for Workers Comp temporary total disability (TTD)  are supposed to heavily affect the time that an injured worker stays out of work – or do they?  Yesterday’s article covered if Waiting Periods are actually still valid in today’s world.

Eternal Retroactive and Waiting Periods clock
Wikimedia Commons – Robbert van der Steeg

Most waiting periods in Workers Comp are 7 days.  Most retroactive periods are 21 days.  The waiting periods are very state-specific.

An interesting study was performed by a group of Liberty Mutual researchers.  The study was published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine.   The subject matter was low back pain injury data from 49 states’ WC programs.

I read over the study quite a few times.   What I gathered from the results is that there is a trend that shows that longer retroactive and waiting periods result in injured employees staying out of work longer.

However, the amount of claims in which this situation even occurs is so small (5%) that is was not significant as far as a cost factor.  Feel free to consult the study using the previous link.

Chart #3 in the study summarizes the findings.

One concern that I have is the motivated worker that returns to work quickly may be penalized by the retroactive and waiting periods in his/her claim.

Some companies and organizations have chosen to subsidize the waiting period and pay the employee for their waiting period.

I do disagree with employers supplementing the injured employee’s’ TTD  for the 1/3 reduction in their pay while out of work.   See this J&L blog article for the reason to not pay supplements.

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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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