Workmen’s Compensation–Encouraging Employment of the Handicapped in Michigan: A Proposal for Revision of the Michigan Second Injury Fund

Employment of the handicapped is clearly a proper concern of the state. Unemployed, such a person is a burden on his family and on the state; welfare and relief payments to such a person needlessly increase costs to both the state and local governments supporting such programs. Employed, the handicapped person is a self-supporting, stable member of the community; he becomes a taxpayer rather than a tax consumer. There are also important moral and social considerations which may be simply summarized stating that no person who is able to work should be needlessly denied employment. In short, any continued waste of human resources in Michigan due to failure to amend the second injury fund statute in order to provide much broader coverage is a social wrong.

Unfortunately, the legislative history indicates that no such revision has ever been considered. In fact, the substantive provisions defining the scope and coverage of the Michigan statute have remained unchanged for almost a quarter of a century. A second injury fund with broad coverage is necessary to encourage the employment of all handicapped persons who may have difficulty finding work; to achieve this goal most effectively, it is recommended that the Michigan legislature immediately enact new legislation containing the proposals advanced in this Note.