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Missouri legislators consider reforms to Second Injury Fund

Posted On: Jan. 24, 2013 12:00 AM CST

Missouri legislators are considering reforms to the state's Second Injury Fund after a recent audit showed the fund as having a $25 million deficit.

S.B. 1 was introduced by Republican Sen. Scott Rupp, and was passed Thursday by the senate committee on small business, insurance and industry, according to the senate website.

The Second Injury Fund pays claims when a work-related injury combines with a worker's prior disability to create an increased disability, according to the fund's website.

The legislation, if passed, would prevent the Second Injury Fund from paying any permanent partial disability claims filed after the bill's effective date. Permanent total disability claims would be paid by the fund only after meeting a list of several criteria, such as having a pre-existing PPD claim that has exceeded 50 weeks of compensation.

Missouri employers pay a 3% surcharge on workers compensation premiums to fund the Second Injury Fund. S.B. 1 would increase the surcharge by 1.5% to bolster the fund’s coffers, according to the bill's text.

As of Dec. 31, Missouri's Second Injury fund had $3.2 million in cash and $28.1 million in unpaid obligations, according to a report released Jan. 11 by Missouri State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich.

The audit noted that an additional 1.5% surcharge would generate $22 million in cash for the fund.