The purpose of the SIF is to compensate an injured employee for the additional disability caused by pre-existing medical condition.
The laws surrounding Second Injury Fund (SIF) benefits have recently changed nationwide. These benefits are given to injured workers, who suffer an injury that worsens a pre-existing injury, preventing them from pursuing further work. These funds were earlier established by the states to reduce the financial burden that employers face when providing workers compensation benefits to their employees. It reduced the strain on employers by contributing towards the benefits package of injured workers in cases where the workplace was only partially responsible for the injury and resultant disability.
The funds were created by state government agencies from the surcharges collected on workers compensation from insurance companies. Over time, the SIF has lost much of its effectiveness in Missouri, thus pushing for the need for amendments. St. Louis Workplace injury lawyer explains how.
Second Injury Fund in Missouri
Originally, the SIF benefits received by injured workers included:
- Permanent Partial and Permanent Total Disability Benefits – Any employee with permanent partial or permanent total disability, and suffers a second injury that worsens the first disability, is eligible for SIF benefits for the degree to which the second injury makes the disability worse. For example, if a person loses sight in the second eye, while already having loss of sight in one eye due to a previous injury. Moreover, if an employee with a preexisting partial disability gets injured, making the preexisting partial disability total, the employee is eligible for a portion of the SIF benefits.
- Death Benefits – SIF benefits become eligible to the family of a deceased on in case the employer in uninsured.
- Rehabilitation Benefits – Benefits from the SIF are given for rehabilitation only if the worker goes to a rehabilitation facility approved by the Division of Workers Compensation.
Indemnity from Loss of Wages from a Second Job
An employee injured at the primary workplace and unable to continue work at a second employer becomes eligible for loss of probable wages through SIF benefits. If an employer fails to insure its workers compensation liability as necessitated by the law, an injured employee’s medical expense is provided by the SIF.
The amendments to the SIF in Missouri were brought about on January 1st, 2014. The changes incorporated for any second injury claims post January 1st, 2014, only the following benefits hold:
- Rehabilitation Benefits – These benefits remain the same, where benefits are only given if employees choose rehabilitation at a facility approved by the Division of Workers Compensation.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits – SIF benefits are provided where a permanent total disability is caused by a combination of new injury caused at the workplace and a pre-existing one, under very specific conditions.
Free Workers Compensation Consultations
Our legal team has a strong history of helping injured workers get the medical attention and financial compensation that they need. Contact our St. Louis, Missouri workers compensation law firm to ensure that your rights are protected. Please call (314) 361-4300 or toll free at (888) 872-6795. You can also complete our Online Case Evaluation Form.