What Is Alaska’s Fishermen’s Fund And How Do You Qualify?

By Justin S. Eppler

As a peninsula state, Alaska employs a great deal of fishermen. In most states, injured fishermen are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, they must file a claim under the Jones Act. Though the benefits provided under the Jones Act and workers’ comp are similar, there are a few key differences between the two, one of the biggest of which is the fact that fault does not play a role in workers’ comp claims. Under the Jones Act, it does. Fortunately for fishermen in Alaska, the Fishermen’s Fund exists as a branch of the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The Fishermen’s Fund, which the workers’ comp division established in 1951, provides for the care and treatment of licensed commercial fishermen in Alaska who sustain injuries when fishing on or offshore. The fund receives financing from income received via permit fees and nonresidential and resident commercial fishermen’s licenses.

To qualify for benefits under the Fishermen’s Fund, your injury or illness must be the direct result of a task you performed because of your role as a commercial fisherman. You must also hold a valid commercial fishermen’s license or a temporary permit, and you must have obtained the license or permit prior to the date of your injury.

Moreover, you must receive treatment for your injury or illness with 60 days of the onset of the injury or illness. You must file for benefits within one year of the date of initial treatment and provide medical documentation certifying the truth of your claim. You must have sustained your injury or illness when in Alaska waters or along the Alaskan shoreline.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.