Second Injury Fund: Physical Rehabilitation

The goal of this program is to restore the injured employee, as quickly and as nearly as possible, to a condition of self-support and maintenance equal to other able-bodied workers, through physical rehabilitation. The physical rehabilitation program staff investigates and determines the employee’s eligibility to receive benefits. The program works closely with lawyers, employers, insurers, case managers, and therapists.

The Division's supervision of physical rehabilitation is limited to seriously injured workers receiving physical rehabilitation at certified facilities and the authorization of payment from the Second Injury Fund for additional benefits. Serious injuries that may qualify include, but are not limited to, quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputation of the hand, arm, foot or leg, atrophy due to nerve injury or non-use, back injuries not amenable alone to recognized medical and surgical procedures, severe crushing injuries, and severe burns.

Only those seriously injured employees receiving physical rehabilitation in facilities certified by the Division are entitled to the additional benefits. This does not mean these employees cannot be rehabilitated in other facilities. It does mean that if they are rehabilitated in other facilities, they cannot receive the Second Injury Fund benefits. To be certified, each facility must meet criteria and specifications for function, personnel, equipment, quality, and facility adequacy. The Division has recently updated the criteria for certification of compliance to current professional standards. Presently, there are approximately 480 facilities certified by the Division.

The physical rehabilitation program staff investigates and determines the employee's eligibility to receive benefits. If the employee meets the criteria and is receiving services from a certified facility, the Director authorizes the $40 weekly payments to be paid to the employee from the Second Injury Fund for up to 20 weeks.

In unusual cases, benefits may be provided for longer than the specified 20 weeks by special order. Benefits are paid to the employee only while actually being rehabilitated. The program averages 50 active cases. Each of these cases requires some type of action on a weekly basis. The rehabilitation facility is required to submit progress reports every two weeks while the employee is receiving therapy. The unit works closely with lawyers, employees, insurers, case managers and therapists.

For more information about rehabilitation programs and workers' compensation, call 800-775-2667 or 573-526-3876.