JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KMOX) – Missouri’s Second Injury Fund owes millions more in payouts than it has in the fund, a problem that could soon make it a thing of the past.
The fund pays claims for workers who return to work after being hurt once, only to be hurt again. Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich reports that the fund owes $28 million to Missourians, but only has about $3 million on hand.
“Well, the surcharge that’s tacked on to the employer’s workers compensation rate – 3 percent – that’s simply not enough to pay the liability and hasn’t been for several years,” he said.
There are over 600 people who are owed money by the program and thousands who have ongoing benefits which are due. Those figures don’t take into account the 30,000 unsettled Second Injury Funds cases.
One option is to close down the fund and pay out existing claims, another is to increase the amount that employers pay in.
“The bottom line is either eliminate the program, have a combination of reduced benefits and increased surcharges, or have one very large surcharge. Those are the three options,” Schweich said, adding that the surcharge would need to be 7 percent for the fund to be solvent.