Being injured while working can cause major stress for an employee, and can be even more difficult if the injured employee has a pre-existing condition or handicap.
While navigating a workers’ compensation case can be daunting, one resource that can lessen the burden for employees with pre-existing conditions is the Subsequent Injury Fund (SIF). In this article, we will explain exactly what the SIF is and what makes an employee eligible to open a claim.
What is the Subsequent Injury Fund (SIF)?
The Subsequent Injury Fund was created to lessen the liability of employers who hire employees with pre-existing conditions, in turn encouraging other employers to do the same. If an employee is injured while working, the SIF works to compensate the employee for their pre-existing condition (if applicable), while the employer provides compensation for new injuries sustained as a result of the incident.
The three-member Subsequent Injury Fund Board oversees the SIF, with one member representing the business sector, another member representing the labor sector, and the third member representing the public sector. The board primarily plays an administrative role, in addition to drafting an annual report for the Governor that includes information on the SIF’s expenses and balances.
Additionally, the Claims Department of the SIF serves two important purposes in the claims process:
- Compiles information to create claims: This includes filing claims and making requests for information, such as information concerning previous workers’ compensation claims. The department also evaluates medical records to determine if an injured employee will require an additional medical evaluation.
- Monitors all permanent total disability claims: The department contacts claimants annually for updated medical and employment information in order to ensure their continued eligibility and receipt of benefit checks.
How do I make a claim against the SIF?
An injured employee who believes that they are eligible can file a claim with the Worker’s Compensation Commission in order to involve the SIF in their case. Medical records, as well as information about the incident, are necessary in order for the SIF to open a claim. This is a complicated process, and an attorney should be consulted.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
The eligibility criteria outlined directly on the SIF’s webpage are as follows:
- “The claimant must have a pre-existing impairment.”
- “The pre-existing impairment must be the result of an accident, disease, or congenital condition.”
- “The claimant must have an overall disability exceeding 50% of the body as a whole.” (250 weeks)
- “The pre-existing impairment and the compensable injury must each be compensable for a period of 125 weeks out of a total of 500 weeks maximum possible.” (25% disability rating)
- “The pre-existing impairment must be, or be likely to be, a hindrance to the claimant’s employment.”
- “The overall disability of the claimant due to the pre-existing impairment and the compensable injury must be greater in combination than the disability from the compensable injury alone.”
All six criteria must be fulfilled for a claim to be effective. After the claim is opened, the Workers’ Compensation Commission is responsible for determining the liability of the SIF.
Contact the Pinder Plotkin Legal Team If You’ve Been Injured
If you or a loved one has pre-existing condition or handicap and has been injured while on the job, please contact the legal team at Pinder Plotkin. Our office has tried hundreds of cases before the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and other firms frequently refer cases to us because they trust our knowledge and experience in fighting for our clients’ rights.
In addition, our fee policy ensures that you only pay fees and expenses if and when we achieve a recovery on your behalf. Please call us today at (410) 661-9440 or fill out our online contact form to receive a free consultation regarding your case.
The information provided in this website/blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.