§ 28-53-8. Limitations on payments to injured employees.
(a) Where the director determines by experience or other appropriate accounting and actuarial methods that the reserves in the fund are insufficient to pay all claims presented or pending, the director shall petition the workers' compensation court for an order to make appropriate, proportionate reductions in the payments being made to injured employees by the fund or to suspend all payments to injured employees until such time as the reserves maintained by the fund are sufficient to resume the payment of benefits. The matter shall be heard by the chief judge. If the court determines that the monies held by the fund are insufficient to fully pay all claims as they fall due, the court shall issue an order directing that a proportionate reduction be made in the payments made to those employees receiving benefits from the fund. In considering the fund's request for relief, the court shall give due weight to the policy of the workers' compensation act that benefits are to be paid weekly and that the unwarranted reduction or interruption in the employee's weekly compensation benefit will impose financial hardship upon the injured worker.
(b) The chief judge shall hear the director's petition within twenty-one (21) days of the date the matter is filed with the court. The petition shall set forth the names and addresses of each employee who may be affected by the reduction in benefits and the court shall provide notice to each employee. The attorney general shall appear on behalf of the employees receiving benefits from the fund and shall take such action as he or she feels is necessary to protect the rights of the injured employees.
(c) In the event that the court determines that a reduction or suspension of payments is necessary to maintain the fiscal integrity of the fund, the court shall schedule a mandatory review date to determine whether the financial status of the fund warrants a continuation of the order reducing such payments and shall reinstitute payments only upon finding that the reserves maintained by the fund are sufficient to pay all future claims as they fall due.
(P.L. 2007, ch. 509, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 475, § 19.)