DEATH AND PERMANENT TOTAL DISABILITY TRUST FUND
Act 221 of 1973 initially created the Death and Permanent Total Disability Bank Fund which was later established as the Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund, by Act 393 of 1983. This Act provided that the first $50,000 of weekly benefits for death or permanent total disability would be paid by the employer or his insurance carrier. An employee, or dependent of an employee, who received a total of $50,000 of weekly benefits would be eligible to continue to draw benefits at the rate prescribed in this Act, but all such benefits in excess of $50,000 would be payable from the Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund. Act 290 (1981) increased the ceiling from $50,000 to $75,000.
Act 1599 of 2007, passed by the Arkansas General Assembly, amended Ark. Code Ann. §11-9-502, by raising the seventy-five thousand dollar ($75,000) threshold, at which the Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund assumes payments of benefits for injuries resulting in permanent disability or death. In essence, the amended act increases the seventy five thousand dollar ($75,000) cap on weekly benefits paid by the employer or its insurance carrier for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008. For those injuries occurring prior to January 1, 2008, the $75,000 limit is still applicable. However, for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2008, the employer or its carrier shall pay weekly benefits for death or permanent total disability “not to exceed three hundred twenty-five (325) times the maximum total disability rate” at the time of the injury. The 2008 threshold will be one hundred sixty-nine, nine hundred seventy-five dollars ($169.975).
Act 1168 of 1999 created limitations on permanent total disability, based on the age of the claimant. However, this Act was ruled unconstitutional by the Arkansas Court of Appeals on December 13, 2006. (See Osborne v. Bekaert Corp., 97 Ark. App. 147 (2006)).
On May 10, 2006, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled that benefits paid for permanent partial disability (ppd) can be applied toward the seventy five thousand dollar ($75,000) maximum pursuant to Ark. Code Ann §11-9-502. The Death and Permanent Total Disability Trust Fund has taken the position that credit will be given only for ppd awarded after the end of healing. (See Death & Permanent Total Dis. v. Legacy Insurance, CA 05-732 (Ark. App. 5-10.2006))
State of Arkansas
Workers' Compensation Commission
324 Spring Street
P.O. Box 950
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-0950
Telephone 1-501-682-3930 / 1-800-622-4472
Legal Advisor Direct 1-800-250-2511
Arkansas Relay System TDD 1-800-285-1131
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