Injured fisherman Fish Radio
March 19, 2013

 Fishermen’s Fund quadruples, Visiting Kodiak 

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Medical help for injured fishermen. More on the Fishermen’s Fund after this —

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 The Fishermen’s Fund is a program unique to Alaska that since 1951 has provided medical benefits to commercial fishermen hurt on the job.  

 Cut; The fund is not medical insurance – we get that a lot, it is a fund set up to help with medical benefits. 10

 Velma Thomas is Program Coordinator at the Dept. of Labor’s Workmen’s Compensation Division in Juneau.   Last year the fund  helped 700 fishermen  paying over $850,000 in benefits. The Fishermen’s Fund five member council  has been visiting Alaska communities to create more awareness of the program.

 Cut: We want to make sure that folks know we’re out there and that they have benefits available to them. 2

 The Fund’s revenues come from 39% of commercial license fees.  Recently, the payouts for injuries have quadrupled.

  Cut: In 2010 the benefit limit was raised to $10,000.  8

  The Fishermen’s Fund also covers transportation, prescriptions and therapies.    Thomas says the rules for getting the benefits are very straightforward.

 Cut: You must have a valid commercial fishing license at the time of the injury. The injury must be directly connected to commercial fishing and it must occur within Alaska waters. They’ve got to seek medical treatment within 60 days of the injury, and then they must file a claim report within a year. So it’s pretty simple and easy. 6   

  To expedite the process, Thomas urges all fishermen to get a license  before they head out on a trip. Information about the program  is on the back of every commercial fishing license.   The Fishermen’s Fund will visit  Kodiak in mid April and Thomas will make a presentation at ComFish. Check out the line up at  .

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