The Second Injury Fund is designated to prevent discrimination in hiring workers who
lost the use of an arm, hand, leg or foot. Reference: Ind. Code 22-3-3-13; http://www.state.in.us/legislative/ic/code/title22/ar3/ch3.html (need to scroll down until IC 22-3-3-13).
When a worker loses the use of any two of these parts of the body, the worker is considered
totally impaired, because a loss of any two of these parts is compensated by an award
of 100 degrees of impairment, or PT, whichever is greater. Employers are hesitant
to hire a worker who had already lost the use of an arm, hand, foot or leg, for fear
that a second injury would expose them to liability for an award of PT. The employer
is held liable only to the extent of compensation due for the second injury. The Second
Injury Fund is liable for the remainder of the compensation award.
In cases where a worker is permanently and totally disabled and exhausts the maximum
compensation payable, the worker can apply to the Second Injury Fund for benefits.
The Fund may award benefits at the rate of 66 2/3 percent of the worker’s average
weekly wages at the time of injury, payable at six week intervals for a total of 150
weeks. If the worker remains permanently and totally disabled after 150 weeks, the
worker may reapply to the Fund. Hearings are held to determine eligibility for benefit
extensions. Reference: Ind. Code 22-3-3-13(d); 22-3-3-13(e).