Louisiana’s Second Injury Fund Lives On

The State of Louisiana administers a Second Injury Fund (SIF) which allows an employer, or its insurer, to be reimbursed by the state for indemnity and medical benefits paid to an employee who has a prior permanent partial disability, with certain criteria. Every property and casualty insurer, individual self-insurer, and group of self-insurance funds that have paid workers’ compensation benefits makes an annual payment (assessment) to the Fund. The assessment rate is based on a percentage of the total benefits paid in the prior calendar year.

The Fund was designed to encourage hiring of injured workers and to avoid punishing those employers who did so.  The program was and is found in other states, though many, if not most, have eliminated the fund amid growing concerns about added bureaucracy, lack of evidence that the incentive succeeds, and alternative protections under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Louisiana, however, is in the process of doubling down on its SIF with the recent, unanimous passage of SB107 in the state Senate.  The bill is now pending in the state House.  Louisiana’s SIF as it stands must be re-authorized every five years.  SB107 would do away with this requirement, in effect, making the SIF permanent.

As long as Louisiana maintains its SIF, and insurers pay into the Fund, Louisiana’s employers should make sure that they may claim its benefits, that is, that payments made to an injured worker with a prior permanent partial disability are reimbursed by the Fund.

Click here more information how to assert a claim to the Fund.