Workplace accidents that cause permanent disability can leave you without work, income or a way to provide for your loved ones. When you finally can get back to work, nothing is more discouraging than having another injury setback.
One avenue of aid designed for workers who find themselves in this challenging situation is the Second Injury Fund (SIF). Keep reading to learn more about the SIF and how it works in Missouri.
What is the Second Injury Fund?
The Second Injury Fund is a form of workers’ compensation provided by the state to help workers who receive an injury from a current job that combines with a prior disability to create an increased combined disability.
For example, suppose a worker has a partial disability in their leg from a previous work injury is injured again in a way that injures your other leg. In that case, they may be able to file a claim against the Second Injury Fund if they are permanently and totally disabled from all forms of work.
The SIF has changed over time and has taken a backseat to other forms of disability aid in Missouri and across the United States. Several states have entirely removed their SIF in favor of these other programs, but Missouri has opted to keep this form of workers’ compensation.
History of the Second Injury Fund
The first Second Injury Fund was established in 1916 in New York. Many states followed suit after World War II as they saw that employers did not want to risk paying workers compensation insurance premiums on veterans who were injured in the war.
These states wanted to reassure employers that they would not have to carry the burden of an increased disability from a workplace accident alone.
How Has the Missouri Second Injury Fund Changed?
In 2014 the Missouri Legislature changed who could receive payments. The policy changes were effective January 2014, so the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has broken down SIF application to pre-2014 and post-2014 injury.
According to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, employees who are injured under these circumstances (Jan. 2014-present) may be able to file a claim for a permanent total disability (PTD) with the SIF:
- The employee must have a medically documented pre-existing disability equaling a minimum of fifty weeks permanent partial disability compensation, which is:
- A direct result of active military duty.
- A direct result of a compensable injury under the Missouri Workers’ compensation law.
- A pre-existing disability that must directly and significantly aggravate or accelerate the subsequent work-related injury.
- Or the employee sustained a subsequent compensable work-related injury that, when combined with a pre-existing disability, results in a permanent total disability.
How Do I Make a Second Injury Fund Claim?
If you fall under any of those categories, you may be able to file a claim. To start, you will need to fill out a claim for compensation form to send to the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
We suggest that you consult with a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation cases. An experienced legal expert can help you determine whether you can pursue a claim against the SIF. They can also help you to determine what information you need for your claim.
If you think you should make a claim, don’t wait. The Statute of Limitations for filing a claim against the SIF is shorter than for your most recent injury.
Even the most hardworking, determined and safety-focused individuals can’t always prevent an injury. If you’ve been injured at work, contact Tolbert Beadle to see how we can help today.