Document name
Allowance – Independence
Document number
POL 31/2016

Effective date: February 1, 2017

Last updated: December 19, 2016

Application: All workers eligible for independence allowance on and after the effective date.

Policy subject: Permanent functional impairment (PFI)

Purpose:

To establish guidelines for issuing independence allowance.

BACKGROUND

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The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to provide independence allowance (IA) to workers who have severe Permanent Functional Impairment (PFI) (Section 67).

POLICY

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General

  1. The WCB may provide Independence Allowance (IA) to workers with severe PFI to help the worker maintain independence.
  2. IA may help cover:
    1. Routine home maintenance (e.g., daily, weekly, seasonal). Examples include, but are not limited to, hiring someone to:
      1. Cut grass.
      2. Clear snow.
      3. Clean rain gutters.
    2. Fees that a landlord charges for property maintenance.
    3. Taxis or other transportation services (e.g., Paratransit).
  3. IA is not intended for major home projects or renovations (e.g., house painting, shingle replacement).

Eligibility

  1. IA is based on the worker’s:
    1. PFI rating, and
    2. Physical need.
  2. PFI awards for hearing loss will not be considered when determining IA entitlement.
  3. The WCB may consider PFI awards for psychological injuries or disfigurements when determining IA entitlement if the impairment limits the worker’s independence. Such barriers include, but may not be limited to, the following:
    1. Joint mobility.
    2. Cold sensitivity.
    3. Social avoidance.
    4. Diminished energy/motivation.
  4. The worker’s income, including any other WCB benefits, will not affect IA eligibility.

Calculation

  1. If the worker has a PFI rating of:
    1. Less than 10 per cent from all eligible claims, the WCB will not provide any IA.
    2. 10 to 39 per cent from all eligible claims, the WCB will calculate IA as follows:
      Allowance calculation
    3. 40 per cent or more from all eligible claims, the WCB will calculate IA as follows:

             Five per cent of PFI maximum.

Payment

  1. The WCB will pay IA annually, first of the month following the anniversary of the worker’s first earnings loss. The WCB will prorate the worker’s first IA payment from the first of the month after the PFI rating to the anniversary of their first earnings loss.
  2. The WCB will pay IA to the worker for life, unless he or she no longer needs IA (e.g., the worker sells their home after moving to a long-term care facility).
  3. If the worker dies after the WCB issues IA, and the payment extends for a period beyond the date of death, WCB staff will not calculate or pursue an overpayment of the IA payment extending beyond the date of death.

Policy references

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