The evolution of mechanical and damage fields, and the time to failure of material points ahead of a stationary crack in a compact tension specimen are computed using finite element simulations for a linear elastic/power law creeping material. These are compared with predictions obtained from fields based on two fracture mechanics based load-parameters: the steady-state C∗, and the time-corrected C(t). The finite element calculations predict opening stresses in the crack plane that are non-monotonic in the time interval 0 ≤ t≤ t1, where t1 denotes the time to transition from small-scale creep to extensive creep. This is in contradiction to the monotonic ‘self-similar’ decay of stress with time given by the C(t) field. Consequently, damage rates and times to failure of material points ahead of a crack are calculated using the finite element stress-field, and the C(t)-based stress-field diverge considerably. These observations suggest that the creep damage rates derived on the basis of self-similarly decaying opening stress fields may be severely inaccurate. © 2016, The Indian Institute of Metals - IIM.