The state of public sector employee benefits
During the month of December, pandemic-related Short Term Disability (STD) claims and leave requests coming into the Unum Absence Management Center (AMC) remained high. Compared with November, overall levels were relatively stable, with numbers mirroring those seen this past spring.
A dip in the number of claims and requests late in the month reflects the Christmas holidays.
As a percentage, pandemic-related activity grew somewhat compared to November, reaching 28% of all STD claims and leave requests — a level not seen since mid-April.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new U.S. virus cases hit a record level on January 2, just at the end of our measurement period. STD claims and leave requests typically lag somewhat behind new cases, so we anticipate that our pandemic-related activity may rise again next month.
Even as vaccinations become available, experts warn the pandemic will likely get worse before it gets better. But as we have reported since May, our focus has never wavered from meeting the needs of our customers, no matter what comes. We continually adjust operations as necessary so that every customer gets the complete attention and service they deserve.
The Unum Leave and Claim Trends Report offers a line of sight into leave requests and Short Term Disability claims from our extensive customer base of employers across the United States.
The report, first released in May 2020, shows volumes and the proportion of COVID-19-related claims, helping employers, consultants and brokers understand trends and benchmarks as they navigate the ever-evolving COVID-19 landscape.
COVID-19 vs. non-COVID-19 leave requests and Short Term Disability claims [Back to graph]