FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Governor Schwarzenegger approves loan to injured worker fund
Sacramento - Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cleared
the way for checks to begin flowing to injured workers paid through the
state-run Subsequent Injuries Fund (SIF) by approving a general fund loan.
The SIF, which had been depleted due to higher overall costs and a funding
gap, will now receive up to $3 million in loans from the state general fund
to provide legally mandated benefits to injured workers.
"The release of these funds assists injured workers who
depend on them to pay bills and put food on the table," said Department
of Industrial Relations Acting Director Chuck Cake.
The injury fund covers benefits to injured workers who already
had a disability at the time of a subsequent injury, and whose combined
disability rating exceeds 70 percent. Approximately 1,600 injured workers
receive SIF benefits in a program operated by the Department of Industrial
Relations, with checks distributed by the State Compensation Insurance Fund.
Under legislation signed into law in September 2003, the SIF
will move to a "user funding" source beginning in January 2004.
At that time, revenue for the SIF will come from assessments charged to
California employers. This shift in funding from the General Fund to employer
assessments produced a cash flow shortage that caused payments to stop when
the funds were exhausted. The Governor's action provided a loan so past
benefit payments could be made and ongoing payments could continue