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Legislation would strictly limit Missouri Second Injury Fund eligibility

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Two bills in the Missouri Senate would drastically alter the state's Second Injury Fund.

The Second Injury Fund provides payments to already-injured workers who are injured again on the job, and two separate audits predict it will become insolvent within 12 to 18 months.

State Senator John Loudon (R, Chesterfield) is sponsoring a bill that would put limits on who's eligible for payments.

"(An) Arkansas truck driver working for an Arkansas company has his accident in Missouri, and our fund is paying a million dollars, to date, in costs...that needs to be fixed," Loudon said.

Another bill, sponsored by Senator Gary Nodler (R, Joplin) would go further...it would limit the fund to veterans whose first injury occurred while serving in the Armed Forces.

Critics say limiting who's eligible won't prevent the fund's looming insolvency.

Mark Moreland of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys opposes both bills.

"The elimination of benefits does not help short-term fund solvency...this is not a benefit problem, it is a revenue problem," Moreland said.

Moreland told a Senate committee today that raising the fund's surcharge by one percentage point would provide enough revenue to keep it solvent through the year 2012.

Both bills will be voted on at a later date.

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