Simply offering an employee assistance program may correlate with a relatively low disability claims rate.

Researchers backed by Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Hartford, have included that conclusion in a summary of results of 94,000 U.S. employees who work for 11 companies that use Hartford disability insurance.

The researchers presented the findings at the Disability Management Employer’s Coalition Conference in Boston.

The researchers found that the average duration of short-term disabilities reported by employees who had access to EAP services was 14.5 days shorter than the average duration of short-term disabilities reported by employees with no such access.

The duration was shorter even for employees with EAP access who did not use EAP services, possibly because the employers with EAPs had a more positive workplace culture, the researchers report.

The researchers found that the percentage of STD claimants who returned to work at the end of short-term disabilities was about 33% for employees who used EAP services, about 20% who had access to EAP services but did not use the services, and only 16% for employees who had no access to EAP services.