The Missouri second injury fund applies to workers with a pre-existing injury who sustain a second workplace injury or illness.
The second injury fund (SIF) is a state run program that was initially intended to encourage employers to hire disabled veterans. The idea was that if a disabled worker got injured on the job, the employer and the insurance company would be liable for the cost of the most recent injury. Today, the fund applies to all workers with a pre-existing injury who sustain a second workplace injury or illness.
In some cases, it is not a single injury that causes a disability; instead it is the cumulative effect of a previous injury with a recent one. In these cases, workers’ compensation will pay the worker only for the most recent injury. The SIF will pay the difference between the cost of total disability and the amount paid by workers’ compensation for the latest partial disability.
How the Second Injury Fund Helps Injured Workers
Missouri’s SIF can help an injured worker, or the survivors of a worker who lost his or her life at work, in some situations. The SIF is funded by a surcharge paid by employers. The Missouri State Treasurer is the “custodian” of the SIF. The Attorney General’s Office defends all claims made against the SIF and has the Treasurer’s authority to settle cases for the Missouri second injury fund. The SIF pays for the following various expenses.
These benefits may be available from the SIF for injured workers who were already disabled at the time of a workplace injury. When a worker suffers a compensable work injury and this injury combines with a prior injury to result in permanent total disability, or an increased level of permanent partial disability, the employer is liable only for the most recent injury. The injured worker may receive permanent, partial disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits.
If a worker dies due to a work-related injury while working for an uninsured employer, the SIF may pay death benefits, including weekly death benefit payments and burial expenses to the dependents.
These benefits are available to restore seriously injured workers to a condition of self-maintenance and self-support through rehabilitation. Injuries that may qualify workers for rehabilitation benefits include paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation of the arm, foot, leg, or hand, atrophy caused by nerve injury, and back injuries.
Second Job Wage Loss Benefits
This is available to persons who work at two or more jobs. When a worker sustains a work-related injury from the first job and is unable to work on the second job because of an injury, the worker may claim benefits from the SIF for wage loss from the second job.
Medical Expenses for Injured Workers of Uninsured Employers
SIF may also be available to injured workers for payment of medical bills if the employer fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance.