Senate debates future of disability fund

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) —

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Missouri senators are proposing to revive an insolvent fund for disabled workers by raising fees on businesses and restricting future claims.

A bill debated Monday seeks to replenish the state’s Second Injury Fund, which was created 70 years ago. The fund has a deficit of about $25 million that is expected to keep growing.

The Second Injury Fund provides compensation to people with existing disabilities who suffer an additional work-related injury or illness. It’s financed by a surcharge on workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

Auditors have noted that the fund developed its financial problems after lawmakers capped the surcharge in 2005.

Senators quit Monday without voting on a bill to raise the surcharge and restrict the types of injuries the fund covers. Debate is expected to continue later this week.

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