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Seeking help through the Illinois Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund

| Sep 18, 2014 | Workers’ Compensation

According to the Illinois Department of Labor, more than 150,000 workers in the state experienced on-the-job injuries in 2013. Every injured worker has the right to claim full compensation for all hours of work lost and all medical expenses incurred. Unfortunately, some employers may not have sufficient insurance to cover the needs of their injured employees. In these cases, the Illinois Injured Workers’ Benefit Fund can provide benefits.

How does the IWBF help injured workers?

The IWBF is a fund designed to help injured employees when their employers cannot pay them appropriate compensation after a workplace accident or a job-related injury. Illinois employers are required by law to carry sufficient workers’ compensation insurance for their employees’ health and safety needs. Employers who do not meet this requirement must pay substantial fines. When these fines are levied, the money goes directly into the IWBF, where it is used to help workers who face a loss of benefits because of an irresponsible employer.

Requirements for IWBF eligibility

Injured workers must confirm that all of the following three requirements are in place before applying for IWBF coverage:

  • The worker has been offered a definitive workers’ compensation award.
  • The employer is aware of the decision but has not paid the benefits.
  • The employer is uninsured or underinsured.

If any one of these three requirements is lacking, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will resolve the case through alternative means. If an employer carries appropriate workers’ compensation insurance, for example, but has ignored or refused a claim, the IWBF will not be involved in the case.

How to seek IWBF assistance

If an employer fails to provide workers’ compensation and shows signs of not being sufficiently insured, the employee should start the process of applying for IWBF assistance as soon as possible. The procedure begins with an Application for Adjustment of Claim, which must be filed with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Illinois Treasurer’s Office must also receive a copy of the Application and remain informed about any changes in the case. The state of Illinois reviews these cases on a rolling basis and makes payments at the close of each fiscal year. If funds are limited, injured employees receive pro rata benefits.

The IWBF is a crucial resource for Illinois workers who are in danger of insufficient compensation for work-related injuries. To find out more about your rights as an injured employee, speak with a legal professional today.