Benefits Provided by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Special Fund
The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides injury benefits to maritime employees, dock workers, and civilian employees on military bases. Under this law, workers who suffer scheduled and non-scheduled injuries will receive a portion of their past wages until they are able to return to work. However, there are some cases where this benefit program is not enough to cover losses, so employees may seek additional help through the special fund.
Special Fund Benefits for Maritime Workers
The special fund, also called the second injury fund, is an addition to the LHWCA that offers extra protection to injured workers. The special fund is not paid for by the government, but financed through penalties, fines, and other payments levied against employers and insurance carriers.
The most common use of the special fund is to compensate workers who have suffered work-related aggravation of pre-existing injury. An employer may use the special fund to pay permanent partial disability benefits to workers who previously suffered an injury on the job, rather than pay the worker through his own company profits.
Additional benefits of the special fund includes:
- Hiring disabled workers. The purpose of the special injury fund is to encourage employers to hire and retain disabled workers. Although the employer will be liable for some of an employee’s permanent disability payments, the special fund is responsible for making the majority of the payments, lessening the financial burden on the employer.
- Rehabilitation. The fund can also be used to pay for vocational rehabilitation programs that allow injured workers to transition into another occupation.
- Continued benefits. In some cases, an employer or insurer will only be liable to pay for two years of disability coverage to an injured worker. When this happens, an employee may be able to collect continued benefits through the special fund.
- Special medical payments. One of the provisions of the special fund is that it allows access to medical benefits to injured workers who have no other way to get treatment.
- Unemployment insurance. The fund can be used to pay short-term unemployment benefits if a company goes out of business.
Although special fund benefits are available to disabled workers, access to these funds is not granted automatically. It will take time, effort, and the advice of an experienced maritime law attorney to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us by phone, by using the instant live chat feature, or by filling out the quick contact form on this page to have us take up the fight on your behalf.