Vocational Rehabilitation – Moving Allowance
Effective date: June 1, 2014
Application: Claimants who relocate on or after the effective date while receiving benefits.
Policy subject: Return to work and vocational rehabilitation
To establish guidelines for the payment of moving allowances.
- The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has approved POL 02/2014, Vocational Rehabilitation – Moving Allowance. This policy provides staff and customers guidelines for the payment of moving allowances.
- The following procedure provides guidance for the implementation of POL 02/2014.
- Individualized Vocational Plans (IVPs), which include moving, are approved in accordance with PRO 23/2016, Vocational Rehabilitation – Programs and Services.
- The Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist (VRS) may consider moving as part of the IVP if the commuting distance from home to work is greater than 75 kilometres (km) and if the move will eliminate, or substantially reduce, the earnings loss benefits being paid to the worker. Where the commuting distance is less than 75 km, approval will be based on individual circumstances. When determining if the WCB will pay for a move, the VRS will consider:
- The availability of suitable employment or programs;
- Earning potential; and
- Whether the worker’s physical restrictions make commuting a hardship.
- Moving should be approved by the WCB in advance. The WCB may not pay for moving arrangements that were made before approval unless the worker gives good reason for not seeking prior approval.
- In general, POL 39/2010, Expenses – Travel and Sustenance – General and PRO 01/2019, Travel Expense Rates will be followed to pay expenses. However, where suitable accommodations are not immediately available in the new community, and a hotel is available with a kitchenette, hotel and meal allowances may not reflect those noted in PRO 53/2017. In such instances, hotel and meal allowances will be determined by the VRS.
Relocation for Confirmed Employment
- Moving may be approved where the worker secures permanent employment in another community that will eliminate, or substantially reduce, the earnings loss benefits being paid to the worker. The VRS will ensure that the total cost of the move is not greater than the value of the reduction of earnings loss benefits.
Relocation for Quality of Life
- Where the worker’s resident community is unable to meet the worker’s needs given the lasting effects of the work-related injury, moving may be approved. The WCB will pay for moving costs where the VRS reasonably expects the worker’s quality of life will improve by moving. The move does not have to eliminate, or substantially reduce, the earnings loss benefits being paid to the worker. For example, it may be reasonable to pay for a move where a worker:
- Has serious permanent restrictions as a result of the work-related injury, to a community where family members can provide the support and assistance that would improve the worker’s quality of life;
- Requires medical services not available in the resident community, to a center that has the required services.
Relocation to Seek Employment
- Moving may be approved for the purpose of actively seeking employment. When determining if moving is appropriate, the VRS will consider:
- Employment opportunities in the resident community versus the proposed community;
- The level of motivation demonstrated by the worker;
- Claim history; and
- Cost of moving.
The VRS must also identify what positions the worker will be seeking as well as the level of job search activity expected.
- The VRS will ensure that the move has the significant potential to reduce the amount of earnings loss benefits being paid to the worker.
- The move will be within Saskatchewan unless it can be demonstrated that the opportunities in other jurisdictions are significantly greater than in Saskatchewan.
- A period of up to two weeks may be required to allow a worker to settle into their new community prior to starting or applying for employment. Benefits will continue during the settling in period.
- The VRS will pay job search benefits for a minimum of eight to a maximum 12 weeks. The total amount of support provided for settling in and job search will not exceed 14 weeks.
Relocation for Retraining
- Moving may be approved for the purpose of retraining. The VRS will ensure that the:
- Cost of moving is less than the projected cost of any allowances the worker may be entitled to (e.g., kilometre rates, accommodation subsidy, etc.) if the worker were to maintain a primary residence in the resident community; or
- Worker permanently moves to the proposed community after the training is completed and there are reasonable opportunities for employment.
- The VRS will inform the worker as to what allowances they are entitled to when moving from the resident community. Allowances will be provided in accordance with Points 12 and 13 of POL 02/2014.
- The VRS will document and place on the file rationale for all decisions taken under this procedure.
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