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48-162.02. Workers' Compensation Trust Fund; created; use; contributions; Attorney General; Department of Administrative Services; duties.
(1) The Workers' Compensation Trust Fund is created. The fund shall be administered by the administrator of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court.
(2) The Workers' Compensation Trust Fund shall be used to make payments in accordance with sections 48-128 and 48-162.01. Payments from the fund shall be made in the same manner as for claims against the state. The State Treasurer shall be the custodian of the fund and all money and securities in the fund shall be held in trust by the State Treasurer and shall not be money or property of the state. The fund shall be raised and derived as follows: Every insurance company which is transacting business in this state shall on or before March 1 of each year pay to the Director of Insurance an amount equal to two percent of the workers' compensation benefits paid by it during the preceding calendar year in this state. Every risk management pool providing workers' compensation group self-insurance coverage to any of its members shall on or before March 1 of each year pay to the Director of Insurance an amount equal to two percent of the workers' compensation benefits paid by it during the preceding calendar year in this state but in no event less than twenty-five dollars.
(3) The computation of the amounts as provided in subsection (2) of this section shall be made on forms furnished by the Department of Insurance and shall be forwarded to the department together with a sworn statement by an appropriate fiscal officer of the company attesting the accuracy of the computation. The department shall furnish such forms to the companies and pools prior to the end of the year for which the amounts are payable together with any information deemed necessary or appropriate by the department. Upon receipt of the payment, the director shall audit and examine the computations to determine that the proper amount has been paid.
(4) The Director of Insurance, after notice and hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, may rescind or refuse to reissue the certificate of authority of any company or pool which fails to remit the amount due.
(5) The Director of Insurance shall remit the amounts paid to the State Treasurer for credit to the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund promptly upon completion of the audit and examination and in no event later than May 1 of the year in which the amounts have been received, except that (a) when there is a dispute as to the amount payable, the proceeds shall be credited to a suspense account until disposition of the controversy and (b) one percent of the amount received shall be credited to the Department of Insurance to cover the costs of administration.
(6) Every employer in the occupations described in section 48-106 who qualifies as a self-insurer and who is issued a permit to self-insure shall remit to the State Treasurer for credit to the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund an annual amount equal to two percent of the workers' compensation benefits paid by it during the preceding calendar year in this state but in no event less than twenty-five dollars.
(7) The amounts required to be paid by the insurance companies, risk management pools, and self-insurers under subsections (2) and (6) of this section shall be in addition to any other amounts, either in taxes, assessments, or otherwise, as required under any other law of this state.
(8) The administrator of the compensation court shall be charged with the conservation of the assets of the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund. The administrator may order payments from the fund for vocational rehabilitation services and costs pursuant to section 48-162.01 when (a) vocational rehabilitation is voluntarily offered by the employer and accepted by the employee, (b) the employee is engaged in an approved vocational rehabilitation plan pursuant to section 48-162.01, and (c) the employer has agreed to pay weekly compensation benefits for temporary disability while the employee is engaged in such plan.
(9) The Attorney General shall represent the fund when requested by the administrator in proceedings brought by or against the fund pursuant to section 48-162.01. The Attorney General shall represent the fund in all proceedings brought by or against the fund pursuant to section 48-128. When a claim is made by or against the fund pursuant to section 48-128, the State of Nebraska shall be impleaded as a party plaintiff or defendant, as the case may require, and when so impleaded as a defendant, service shall be had upon the Attorney General.
(10) The Department of Administrative Services shall furnish monthly to the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court a statement of the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund setting forth the balance of the fund as of the first day of the preceding month, the income and its sources, the payments from the fund in itemized form, and the balance of the fund on hand as of the last day of the preceding month. The State Treasurer may receive and credit to the fund any sum or sums which may at any time be contributed to the state or the fund by the United States of America or any agency thereof to which the state may be or become entitled under any act of Congress or otherwise by reason of any payment made from the fund.
(11) When the fund equals or exceeds two million three hundred thousand dollars, no further contributions thereto shall be required by employers, risk management pools, or insurance companies. Thereafter whenever the amount of the fund is reduced below one million two hundred thousand dollars by reason of payments made pursuant to this section or otherwise or whenever the administrator of the compensation court determines that payments likely to be made from the fund in the next succeeding year will probably cause the fund to be reduced below one million two hundred thousand dollars, the administrator shall notify all self-insurers and the Director of Insurance, who shall notify all workers' compensation insurance companies and risk management pools, that such contributions are to be resumed as of the date set in such notice and such contributions shall continue as provided in this section after the effective date of such notice. Such contributions shall continue until the fund again equals two million three hundred thousand dollars.
(12) Any expenses necessarily incurred by the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund or by the Attorney General in connection with a proceeding brought by or against the fund may be paid out of the fund. Such expenses may be taxed as costs and recovered by the fund in any case in which the fund prevails.