The Second Injury Fund (SIF) is a dedicated fund for the purpose of reimbursing
compensation payments made by employers, or their insurers or adjusters,
to certain injured employees. For Fiscal Year 1998, the SIF distributed
$2,211,256 on behalf of 120 claimants.
SIF revenue is collected from each insurer, adjuster, and uninsured employer
every March 1st, when they file their annual reports. Annual
compensation payments for temporary partial disability, temporary total
disability, permanent partial impairment, and permanent total disability
are calculated for each claim. Up to 6% of each claims annual total
is collected by the SIF administrator and deposited into the Second Injury
Fund Account. For Fiscal Year 1998, the SIF collected $2,464,099 in contributions
from insurers and adjusters.
To receive reimbursement, the employer must demonstrate that the employee
had a qualifying pre-existing condition, that the employee was hired or
retained with full knowledge of this condition, that a subsequent injury
when combined with the pre-existing condition resulted in a condition
substantially greater than the subsequent injury alone, and that 104 weeks
of compensation payments have been made.
A word of caution. It is extremely important that employers understand
the limitations on what questions they can ask potential employees during
the interview process. Generally speaking, the Americans with Disabilities
Act strictly limits inquiries to conditions related to specific job duties
and functions. An employer may however, have a newly hired employee complete
a health questionnaire in order to determine if there are any pre-existing
conditions which might result in a SIF reimbursable injury at a later
date. Nevertheless, since this is a sensitive legal area, employers are
strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or a professionally
trained human resource manager.
If an employer believes that a compensable injury is entitled to SIF
reimbursement, the employer must file a Notice of Possible Claim
Against the Second Injury Fund, Form 07-6110, within 100 weeks of the injury date. After
the notice has been filed, and 104 weeks of compensation have been paid,
the employer may file a Petition to Join Second Injury Fund and Claim
for Reimbursement, Form 07-6109.
If all conditions for reimbursement have been met, the SIF Administrator
will direct the petitioner to submit to the Alaska Workers' Compensation
Board a Stipulation of Facts in legal memorandum form to be approved without
oral hearing. If there is a dispute of fact, the Board will schedule a
pre-hearing upon receipt of a statement of readiness to proceed.
Once SIF reimbursement has been authorized, the employer or its insurer
may receive monthly payments upon written proof of compensation paid.
If the employer or insurer has paid a large single disbursement, such
as Permanent Partial Impairment or in response to a settlement (Compromise
and Release), reimbursement will be made in monthly installments over
time. Alaska statutes prohibit lump sum reimbursements from the Second