The sums collected under R.S. 34:15-94 shall constitute a fund, to be known as the Second Injury Fund, out of which a sum shall be set aside each year by the Commissioner of Labor from which compensation payments in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of R.S. 34:15-12 shall be made to persons totally disabled, as a result of experiencing a subsequent permanent injury under conditions entitling such persons to compensation therefor, when such persons had previously been permanently and partially disabled from some other cause; provided, however, that, notwithstanding the time limit fixed therein, the provisions of paragraph (b) of R.S. 34:15-12 relative to extension of compensation payments beyond 400 or 450 weeks, as the case may be, shall, with respect to payments from the Second Injury Fund, apply to any accident occurring since June 27, 1923, and in no case shall be less than $5.00 per week; provided further, however, that no person shall be eligible to receive payments from the Second Injury Fund:
(a) If the disability resulting from the injury caused by the person's last compensable accident in itself and irrespective of any previous condition or disability constitutes total and permanent disability within the meaning of this Title.
(b) (Deleted by amendment.)
(c) If the disease or condition existing prior to the last compensable accident is progressive and by reason of such progression subsequent to the last compensable accident renders the person totally disabled within the meaning of this Title.
(d) If a person who is rendered permanently partially disabled by the last compensable injury subsequently becomes permanently totally disabled by reason of progressive physical deterioration or preexisting condition or disease.
Nothing in the provisions of said paragraphs (a), (c) and (d), however, shall be construed to deny the benefits provided by this section to any person who has been previously disabled by reason of total loss of, or total and permanent loss of use of, a hand or arm or foot or leg or eye, when the total disability is due to the total loss of, or total and permanent loss of use of, two or more of said major members of the body, or to any person who in successive accidents has suffered compensable injuries, each of which, severally, causes permanent partial disability, but which in conjunction result in permanent total disability. Nor shall anything in paragraphs (a), (c) and (d), aforesaid apply to the case of any person who is now receiving or who has heretofore received payments from the Second Injury Fund.
Upon the approval of an application for benefits, the compensation payable from the Second Injury Fund shall be made from the date when the final payment of compensation by the employer is or was payable for the injury or injuries sustained in the employment wherein the employee became totally and permanently disabled; provided, that no payment from the Second Injury Fund shall be made for any period prior to the date of filing of application therefor; provided, however, that a person who has received compensation payments from the Second Injury Fund and who is reinstated or ordered placed on said fund shall receive payments from the date of last payment from the Second Injury Fund, save only in the case of a person to whom payments have been made and then discontinued or suspended because of the rehabilitation of such person in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of R.S. 34:15-12 , or actual employment for any reason whatsoever, in which case payments from the Second Injury Fund shall be made from the date of filing application for reinstatement. Payments to such totally disabled employees shall be made from said fund by the State Treasurer upon warrants of the Commissioner of Labor . This section shall be applicable to any accident occurring since June 27, 1923, insofar as the eligibility of and benefits payable to such employees of this class is concerned; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall limit or deprive those persons now receiving or who have received the benefits under this section from participating in the Second Injury Fund. All payments from the Second Injury Fund shall be made by biweekly installment payments. From the fund herein created the Commissioner of Labor may use in any one fiscal year a sum not to exceed the sum of $12,500.00 for the cost of administration of the fund including personnel, printing, professional fees, and expenses incurred by the Commissioner of Labor in the prosecution of defenses in the Division of Workers' Compensation, and of appeals and proceedings for review of decisions on applications for benefits from the Second Injury Fund. No costs or counsel fee for the applicant shall be allowed against the fund.
The Commissioner of Labor shall annually submit an accounting of the fund to the State Treasurer.
All payments into the Second Injury Fund which may have heretofore been made or required at any time or times are hereby validated and confirmed, notwithstanding that at the time of such payment or payments the fund may have equaled or exceeded the sum of $200,000.00.
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