Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Workers Compensation: 2nd injury fund? to keep or not to keep

As a member of the Legislative Audit Council, I will probably stand by our determination that the Second Injury Fund (SIF) needs to go:

"We found no evidence that the Second Injury Fund has an effect on promoting the hiring and retention of the disabled.

* Most claims to the SIF have been based on “unknown conditions,” in which the injured employee did not know that he had a previous disability. Unknown conditions cannot have an effect on employers’ hiring decisions.
* Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has protected potential employees and prohibits employers from questioning potential employees about their disabilities or previous injuries. At least 75% of employees in South Carolina are covered by the ADA.
* Arthritis is the most common disability for which the SIF provides reimbursement, cited in 80% of claims over the past three years. Arthritis is also widespread in the population, reported by 21% of adults. It seems likely that the SIF is paying for claims for arthritis that were not related to hiring decisions.
* We found no evidence that the majority of employers are aware of the SIF and its potential benefits."

Click to read the Report at the LAC's website