What is the MITF?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

The Oklahoma legislature created the Multiple Injury Trust Fund (MITF) to encourage employers to hire people who have pre-existing conditions and prior injuries. Previously known as Second Injury Fund or Special Indemnity Fund, the MITF subsidizes permanent disability benefits to workers whose cumulative injuries, re-injury, or aggravation of existing condition prevents them from returning to the job.

As such, the MITF serves two main purposes:

  1. Encourage employers to hire workers with pre-existing conditions; and
  2. Protect employers from being financially responsible for the previous disability or injury.

In order to receive these funds, the injured worker must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a “physically impaired person” as defined by AWCA; and
  2. The Workers’ Compensation Commission or Workers’ Compensation Court must have decided the matter in favor of the injured worker; and
  3. The combination of the prior and current injury result in permanent total disability.

If these elements are met, the injured worker can move forward with a claim to the MITF.

How does the MITF work?

The MITF provides funds to help cover the financial impact of a new injury to a worker who has a previously existing condition. The program is funded through a combination of workers’ compensation insurance premiums, taxes on claimants’ awards, and taxes on insurance carriers. As noted above, to use these funds, an injured worker must meet certain criteria and file a claim with the MITF.

What happens if a worker with a previous disability suffers another on-the-job injury?

Lawmakers intended this Fund serve to better ensure the employer is only paying for the benefits related to the new injury. To achieve this goal, the workers’ compensation court should award an injured worker benefits based on the percentage of disability if a worker with a previous injury suffers another injury while-on-the-job. Unfortunately, the system does not always work the way it should. Those who are attempting to navigate these claims are wise to seek legal counsel to better ensure their interests are protected.