(a) For the relief of persons who are receiving benefits pursuant to a permanent total disability award in amounts less than thirty-three and one-third percent of the average weekly wage for the State of West Virginia per month, and for the relief of widows who are receiving benefits on account of the death of an employee in amounts less than thirty-three and one-third percent of the average weekly wage in the State of West Virginia per month, and for the relief of children of employees deceased before 1967, who are under the age of twenty-three and who are full-time students, and for the relief of other persons who are receiving dependents' benefits on account of the death of an employee in amounts less than the specific monetary amounts set forth in section ten, article four of this chapter and in effect as of July 1, 1973, there is continued a separate fund, heretofore known as the "Disabled Workmen's Relief Fund", and which shall hereafter be known as the "Disabled Workers' Relief Fund", which shall consist of any sums that are, from time to time, made available to carry out the objects and purposes of this article. The fund shall be in the custody of the state Treasurer and disbursements from the fund shall be made upon requisition signed by the executive director to those persons entitled to participate in the fund and in such amounts to each participant that are provided in section three of this article.
(b) Effective upon termination of the commission, the "Disabled Workers' Relief Fund" shall be administered by the successor to the commission and the administrative duties assigned to the executive director shall be transferred to the chief executive officer of the successor to the commission.
In order to participate in the disabled workers' relief fund, an individual must be receiving workers' compensation benefits by virtue of and under the laws of this state in amounts less than those set forth in section one of this article, and be receiving such benefits under a permanent total disability award or be receiving such benefits because of the death of an employee: Provided, That a child of an employee deceased before July 1, 1967, who is under the age of twenty-three and is a full-time student, and, who, at the time of injury causing death, was dependent in whole or part upon the earnings of the deceased employee, shall be eligible for benefits payable from the fund established by this article in the same manner and amount as if death had occurred after July 1, 1967.
Each individual entitled to participate in the disabled workers' relief fund is entitled to receive payments without application (except that an application shall be required under section five of this article) from the fund of an amount equal to the difference between the amounts set forth in section one of this article and the amount the individual is in fact receiving by virtue of and under the laws of this state. The first payment shall be made concurrently with the payment to him or her of workers' compensation on August 1, 1976, and subsequent payments shall be made during the period thereafter in which the participant is entitled to workers' compensation benefits by virtue of and under the laws of this state.
Payments to an individual entitled to participate in the Disabled Workers' Relief Fund may be made from said fund by separate check or may be made from said fund and from the Workers' Compensation Fund and, effective upon termination of the commission, the old fund, by one check, but each such check drawn on the two funds shall be so written as to show plainly the payments made from each fund. No disbursements shall be made from the Workers' Compensation Fund or the old fund on account of any provisions of this article.
The executive director shall promptly require of each employer who has elected to pay direct compensation under the provisions of section nine, article two of this chapter a verified list of the names and addresses of all persons to whom the employer is paying workers' compensation on account of permanent total disability or because of the death of an employee and any evidence respecting those persons as the executive director may reasonably consider necessary to determine the eligibility of any person to participate in the disabled workers' relief fund. Any person claiming the right to participate in the fund under the provisions of this section may file his or her application for participation with the executive director and shall be accorded a hearing on the application.
In the investigation and determination of the right of persons to participate in the disabled workers' relief fund, the executive director has and may exercise all the powers which he or she possesses under the other articles of this chapter. His or her powers and jurisdiction over each case is continuing, but there shall be no appeal from the commission's decisions to any other body or tribunal. No attorney, representative or agent of any claimant or participant is entitled to charge or receive a fee or compensation or gratuity in any form for representing or assisting or pretending to represent or assist any person to become a participant in the disabled workers' relief fund.
Acts, 2003 2nd Ex. Sess., Ch. 27.
For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this article, the board of managers shall transfer annually, out of the interest earned during the previous year on investments held by the workers' compensation fund, and out of the amount assessed against self-insured employers pursuant to the provisions of section nine, article two of this chapter an amount estimated by the executive director to be necessary to carry out the provisions of this article for one year.
The money shall be deposited by the board of managers in the disabled workers' relief fund, as required by this article.
Effective upon termination of the commission, the authority to make the annual transfer as required in section eight of this article shall transfer to the Insurance Commissioner.