The injured worker benefit fund IWBF was created in 2005. The purpose of this fund was to compensate injured employees who worked for uninsured employers. The injured worker benefit fund receives its funding from collecting penalties and fines from employers who did not carry workers’ compensation insurance. The State Treasurer is the ex-officio custodian of the fund. Without IWBF, employees of uninsured employers are unable to collect benefits.
In order to pursue a case against IWBF, one first needs to name the fund on the application for adjustment of the claim. After naming the fund, one is also required to place the Attorney General’s Office, who represents the fund on notice. One need to further obtain proof that no insurance existed by the employer. This proof can be obtained and presented at the time of trial in a few different ways. One can submit at the time of trial an affidavit attesting that a search at the IWCC website revealed no insurance on the date of the accident, once can also present testimony that there was no insurance on the date of accident; and/or one can present documents responsive to a subpoena issued to the National Council on Compensation Insurance which is the agent designated by the Commission to receive insurance policy information required under the Act.
In IWBF cases, the Attorney General’s Office, who represents the IWBF disputes almost every single aspect of an injured worker’s case. For that reason, it is very important that when proceeding with hearing on these cases one must establish via evidence every single aspect that is required to prove a compensable worker’s compensation case. Unlike other worker’s compensation cases, the IWBF case cannot be settled against the fund. In order to collect any money from the IWBF one must arbitrate the case. After an arbitration hearing and after receiving an award from the commission, the commission needs to be notified within 90 days of the award. One must fill out proper documentation within the commission within 90 days of the award to be eligible to receive payment from the fund. The commission makes a payment from the fund once every year. An eligible claimant is an injured worker who has within the previous fiscal year obtained a final award for benefits. The rate at which the injured worker receives the award can be different every year depending upon the amount of money in IWBF in a given fiscal year.
Due to the complex process involved with dealing with the IWBF, an injured worker is well advised to have an attorney who can make sure that all the requirements are met to pursue and collect against IWBF. If you are an injured worker who was injured while working for an uninsured employer, then please contact our office and ask to speak with one of us. Attorneys at Strong Law Offices are experienced in successfully pursuing and collecting against the IWBF.