man staring at blackboard with covid arrow going up and economy arrow going down IBI’s report paints a picture of claims that increased significantly as the pandemic first set in, and then decreased as the economy contracted and jobs were lost due to the pandemic. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a mixed impact on disability leave claims by employees, according to a new report. The analysis, by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), finds that claims for respiratory illness conditions nearly doubled early in the pandemic, but that overall claims for short-term disability (STD) in April 2020 dropped, possibly due to layoffs and the decision of employees to postpone seeking medical care.

The report used the IBI disability/leave benchmarking database to compare year-over-year disability claims. The database is the largest of its kind, the company said, containing 6 million claims from 66,000 employer policies.

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