Document name
Modifications – Home, Vehicle and Work
Document number
PRO 04/2015

Effective date: July 1, 2015

Application: All workers severely injured before and after the effective date.

Policy subject: Return to work and vocational rehabilitation

Purpose:

To provide administrative guidelines for paying home, vehicle and work modifications.

BACKGROUND

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POL 04/2015, Modifications – Home, Vehicle and Work establishes the process for paying for home, vehicle and work modifications.

PROCEDURE

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General

  1. The Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist (VRS) will approve modifications based on recommendations from:
    1. WCB approved architects
    2. Occupational therapists, or
    3. Any other expert the WCB engages.
  2. Modifications should be approved by the VRS in advance. The VRS may not pay for modifications that start or are complete before approval unless the worker gives good reason for not seeking prior approval.
  3. The VRS will make purchases and get appropriate secondary approvals as required by.
    1. PRO 07/2012, Procurement Procedure, and
    2. POL 05/2004, Vocational Rehabilitation – Equipment and Tools.
  4. The VRS will provide information regarding modifications to the worker and their family in person and in writing.

Work Modifications

  1. If the worker’s workplace needs modifications, the VRS will see if the employer will share the costs with the WCB. If not, the VRS will approve full funding of the modifications.

Short-Term Needs

  1. The VRS will approve minor home and work modifications if the worker is expected to recover within 18 months.
  2. The VRS will see if the WCB can rent equipment for minor home and work modifications. If the VRS cannot rent, the VRS may approve the purchase of equipment.

Long-Term Needs

  1. The VRS will approve major modifications if the worker’s injury is long-term and severe.
  2. Home modifications:
    1. The VRS will approve modifications to the worker’s pre-injury home if it is structurally possible and financially feasible (e.g., no more than 50 per cent of the appraised value of the structure). If it is not possible or feasible, the VRS will approve a payment equal to the costs of the proposed modifications to the pre-injury home. This money will help the worker get a different home (i.e., used or new home) that has modifications or that can be modified.
    2. The VRS will approve non-structural modifications to the pre-injury home (e.g., hand rails in the bathroom) if the worker is waiting:
      1. To get into a different home (e.g., being built), or
      2. For modifications to a rental unit.
    3. The VRS may approve temporary lodging if the worker cannot stay in their pre-injury home without modifications.
    4. The VRS may approve modifications to rental homes if the:
      1. VRS gets written consent from the landlord to make modifications, and
      2. Landlord agrees in writing that the WCB is not responsible for restoring the property back to normal once the worker moves out.
    5. The VRS will approve the repair or replacement of modifications that:
      1. Break down or wear out, or
      2. Suffer accidental damage.
    6. If the worker needs to move from their pre-injury home because of the injury, the VRS will approve payment for moving costs.
    7. If the worker requests to move from their modified home for quality of life issues (e.g., the worker is getting older and wants to move closer to their children), the VRS may approve modifications to a different home. The WCB will not approve modifications based on personal preference (e.g., the worker does not like their community). The VRS may evaluate moves for other reasons on the basis of need versus want. As a result, the VRS will make decisions on such requests on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Vehicle modifications:

The following is intended as a guide to help VRSs make decisions regarding vehicle modifications. However, VRSs will assess coverage for vehicle modifications on a case-by-case basis.

  1. The VRS will approve modifications to either:
    1. The worker’s pre-injury vehicle, or
    2. A different vehicle.
  2. The VRS will approve a one-time only payment for a reasonable replacement vehicle that takes into account the ability to modify to suit the worker’s needs. The VRS will deduct the value of the worker’s pre-injury vehicle from the amount approved to buy a different vehicle.
  3. The vehicle for modification must:
    1. Meet the provincial and federal vehicle standards suitable for modifications, and
    2. Be expected to remain serviceable for at least three years.
  4. The VRS will approve the repair or replacement of modifications that:
    1. Break down or wear out, or
    2. Suffer accidental damage.
  5. The VRS will not approve the replacement of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle incident. Modifications to the replacement vehicle are subject to Point 10(g) below, less the value the vehicle insurance company gives for the existing modifications.
  6. The VRS will not approve the repair of damage caused by careless or destructive use.
  7. If the worker wants to replace their vehicle after five years, the VRS will approve 100 per cent of modification costs to the new vehicle. If the worker wants to replace their vehicle before five years, the VRS may approve modifications to the new vehicle at a reduced rate:
    1. Less than three years – The VRS will not approve any modification costs.
    2. Greater than or equal to three years, but less than four years – The VRS will approve 60 per cent of modification costs.
    3. Greater than or equal to four years, but less than five years – The VRS will approve 80 per cent of modification costs.
    4. The VRS will ensure that the new vehicle uses the equipment from the old vehicle. If the new vehicle cannot use the old equipment, the VRS will approve the purchase of new equipment.
  8. The VRS will not approve:
    1. Extra licensing costs.
    2. Maintenance other than to the modifications.
    3. Vehicle warranty.
  9. The VRS will approve modifications if the worker has someone who will drive their vehicle (e.g., family, friend). The worker does not have to have the ability to drive in order to get modifications.

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