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As long as they still feel some pain, more than a third of workers recently surveyed say it is acceptable for them to stay home and receive workers’ compensation benefits even when their doctors say they should return to work.
The results come from a survey of 1,004 adults called Public Attitude Monitor 1999, conducted by the Insurance Research Council in Malvern, PA. The survey shows that 35% of respondents think that behavior is almost always acceptable. That figure is twice as high as the 17% of respondents who said the same thing in a 1992 survey.
IRC senior vice president Elizabeth Sprinkel says the results could indicate a change in the public’s attitude toward occupational health.
"This change in attitude may be attributable to greater skepticism about medical decisions or possibly greater reliance on the individual’s personal assessment of his or her amount of pain and ability to perform job duties," Sprinkel says.
The news is not all discouraging, however. In the same survey, more than 90% of the respondents thought that other fraudulent workers’ comp activities are usually not or almost never acceptable.
Copies of the study are available for $10 each. For more information, contact: Elizabeth Sprinkel, Insurance Research Council, 718 Providence Road, Malvern, PA 19355-0725. Telephone: (610) 644-2212. Fax (610) 640-5388. E-mail: irc@cpcuiia. org. Web: www.ircweb.org.