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Asbestos Exposure and the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund

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According to the Guide to Indiana Worker’s Compensation Benefits, the following must apply in order for a worker exposed to asbestos on the job to be eligible for benefits through the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund:

  1. The employee is permanently and totally disabled by the work-related asbestos injury:
  • On or after July 1, 1985, from an exposure to asbestos in employment before July 1, 1988

OR

  • Before July 1, 1985, from an exposure to asbestos in employment and files a claim for benefits from the Residual Asbestos Injury Fund before July 1, 1990
2. Is not gainfully employed because of the disability left by this work exposure injury
AND

3. Is not eligible for benefits under the Indiana Occupational Diseases Act

The worker must also be ineligible for benefits from Social Security Disability, disability retirement, third party settlements or other retirement benefits that are equal to or greater than 66 2/3% of his or her average weekly wage at the time of disablement*.

If, however, the other benefits that the injured worker is entitled to are less than 66 2/3% of his or her average weekly wage at the time of disablement, the worker may be eligible to receive from this fund that difference for up to 52 weeks.

Dependents are eligible to receive either the remainder of the asbestos fund benefits or $4,000, depending on which is greater, should the injured worker die before the benefits from this fund run out.

Similar to the Second Injury Fund, and in accordance with Indiana Code §22-3-11-4, at the end of the 52 weeks, the Worker’s Compensation Board may decide to give the exposed employee additional benefits in 52 week increments as long as the employee still meets the eligibility guidelines cited above.

*Please note that the time of disablement, or in this case when it was determined that the injured worker is disabled due to the asbestos injury, and time of accident, which is used to calculate disability pay for other injuries, are very different terms.
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