State worker lands The Big One on disability

A yard sign in Belleville shows support for state workers, and how.
A yard sign in Belleville shows support for state workers, and how. bweisenstein@bnd.com

Perhaps you’ve seen those signs popping up around the area: “We support state workers.”

Lance Fancher is one of those Illinois state workers, and he appreciates the support.

Fancher is an Illinois Department of Corrections prison guard who was part of the crew claiming wrist and hand problems from turning locks at Menard Correctional Center. About 200 guards made $20 million in workers compensation claims by 2010.

Fancher lost his wrist “owie” claim after making it twice, but it remains on appeal. He’s been more successful with his other claims.

Fancher tried to stop an inmate fight in October 2013 and got hurt. State taxpayers paid his salary, currently $66,000, while he was off work for a year on temporary total disability. Plus they paid his medical bills. Plus they just paid him an award for $48,000, tax free.

During his year off, Fancher’s “temporary total disability” was not so bad that he couldn’t participate in a fishing tournament. That did garner a fraud investigation, but there’s no word on that investigation’s status. It obviously didn’t stop him from getting the $48,000.

Fancher’s five claims so far have yielded cash payouts of $183,794. Plus his salary. Plus his medical bills.

So next time you see one of those “We support state workers” signs, you can think to yourself: “Yes. I certainly do, too.”