- Report Published -
|The Workers' Compensation Second Injury Fund|
|HJR 312 (1992)|
|House Joint Resolution 312 of the 1991 General Assembly established a nine-member joint subcommittee to examine the second injury fund component of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act. The second injury fund was first established by House Bill 1330 in the 1975 session of the General Assembly and codified in Va. Code 65.1-138, et seq.|
Second injury funds are intended to remove a significant barrier to employment of disabled workers: employer liability under workers' compensation for disabilities preceding employment. Thus, an employer who hires a disabled person is responsible under workers; compensation only for disabilities attributable to injuries occurring during the current employment. A second injury fund pays the difference, if any, between what the employer must pay in workers' compensation benefits for the new disability and the total compensation an employee is entitled to receive for this combined disability resulting from past and present injuries.
Virginia's second injury fund was criticized in a 1990 report of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission ("JLARC"). This report (House Document 68 of 1990) summarized a performance audit of the Department of Workers' Compensation. In JLARC's estimation, the fund is under utilized and is not achieving its purpose. It recommended further legislation study of the fund to determine whether its utilization could be improved through changes to the eligibility criteria.
Between the 1990 and 1991` sessions, a special Commission examining service for the disabled, known as the "Beyer Commission," urged the General Assembly to follow up on the JLARC suggestion. The Beyer Commission's report to the 1991 General Assembly recommended adoption of the resolution that authorized this study.
The joint subcommittee was directed to submit findings and recommendations to the Governor and the 1992 session of the General Assembly at the study's conclusion.