Spousal benefits – eligibility
- Operations staff will gather information to verify spousal status.
- If the worker leaves a former spouse who is not living with the worker at the time of death, Operations staff will gather information to verify if he or she is wholly or partly dependent on the worker’s earnings. Such information could include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Financial records.
- Divorce agreements.
- Separation agreements.
- If the former spouse is actively pursuing (i.e., verifiable attempt within one year prior to the worker’s death) to gain a court order or a similar agreement for financial support at the time of the worker’s death, Operations staff will issue payment in accordance with the terms of the agreement, subject to the maximum amount payable under The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013. The WCB will not pay former spouses support payments that are in arrears at the time of death.
- If the worker leaves a spouse and one or more additional dependants that do not live together as a family unit, Operations staff will calculate the apportioned amount of spousal benefits payable to those dependants.
- In accordance with POL 30/2016, Children and Other Dependants – Benefits, Operations staff will reduce spousal benefits if the:
- WCB provides a child an additional amount until he or she reaches age 18.
- Spouse is neglecting or has abandoned any of the worker’s children (e.g., the Ministry of Social Services, Advocate for Children and Youth, or other source notifies the WCB), and the WCB pay’s the children’s benefits to a person other than the spouse for the benefit of the children (e.g., caregiver).
Delay in determining benefits
- If it is not initially apparent as to which benefits the dependent spouse may be entitled (i.e., benefits differ based on whether or not the worker’s death is due to a work injury), Operations staff will provide benefits to the dependent spouse, for at least three months, until a decision is made.
Death of the worker is due to a work injury
- If the worker’s death is due to a work injury, Operations staff will provide benefits to the spouse on a monthly basis for at least five years.
- The WCB will adjust dependent spouse benefits by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) on the anniversary date of the worker’s loss of earnings. If there is no change in the CPI, or it decreases, benefits will not be adjusted for that year.
Death of worker is not due to a work injury
- If the worker’s death is not due to a work injury and the worker was receiving benefits for:
- 24 consecutive months or less at the time of death, Operations staff will ask the spouse to choose:
- Monthly payments, or
- A lump-sum payment.
- More than 24 consecutive months at the time of death, Operations staff will provide benefits to the spouse on a monthly basis.
- If the worker’s death is not due to a work injury, Operations staff will provide benefits in the amount the worker was receiving at the time of death.
- Benefits will not be adjusted for percentage increases in the CPI.
- In accordance with Points 8 and 10 of POL 24/2016, Operations staff will determine if the spouse is eligible for and needs re-employment assistance.
- If the spouse is eligible for and needs re-employment assistance, Operations staff will develop an Individual Vocational Plan in accordance with POL 23/2016, Vocational Rehabilitation – Programs and Services.