The Attorney General’s Office has temporarily stopped entering into settlement agreements with claimants on Missouri’s Second Injury Fund.
Attorney General Chris Koster says he has also ordered the withdrawal of all outstanding settlement offers to claimants … because the fund is simply running out of money.
The Second Injury Fund began as a means to encourage employers to hire workers with pre-existing disabilities or injuries. It compensates employees for the combination of their pre-existing injuries with their workplace injury and ensures that workers who are injured while working for an uninsured employer are given medical care.
Koster says this puts injured workers looking for work at a disadvantage.
However, he says the fund has been in financial straits for several years now, so this comes as no surprise. The question now is whether the state should borrow money, change the law or mandate, or assist the fund with general revenue. Koster says these decisions need to be made at the executive and legislative levels.
"Our office, along with the State Treasurer’s Office, received notification Tuesday from the Missouri Department of Labor that the solvency of the Missouri Second Injury Fund is in question," Koster says. "It was represented to us that current fund revenues may be adequate to meet current obligations upon the fund until the end of the year. However, we were informed that new obligations upon the fund could potentially push the fund past solvency. Therefore, given information currently available, our office has determined it is in the best interests of existing claimants and the state that no new settlements be entered into until a greater understanding of the fund’s solvency is reached and until further consultations with executive and legislative leaders are completed."