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Permanent disability benefits

When a worker is injured or falls ill on the job, they are often covered by workers' compensation benefits until they recover and are able to resume working.

Unfortunately, sometimes people are unable to recover from workplace injuries and illnesses and they may become permanently disabled. In such cases, worker’s compensation boards have some benefits in place to help out those whose injuries or illnesses are more serious.

There are two types of compensation for more permanent disabilities: non-economic loss benefits and permanent disability benefits. Though most provincial/territorial worker’s compensation boards have these benefits, the requirements and pay outs, etc., may vary from province to province.

Non-economic loss

Most WSIB boards have provisions if a worker sustains a permanent injury. This is called a non-economic loss. This benefit is provided in order to compensate the worker for loss that is physical, functional or psychological.

The non-economic loss benefit is not a wage benefit. As such, people are often given a lump-sum payment. However, that depends on the individual worker’s compensation board in the respective province or territory.

Non-economic loss for a worker is often determined when a person’s condition or illness has reached a point where it can’t improve. In other words, there has to be some measurable permanent clinical impairment that the person suffered.

The way it is determined how much is to be paid for a NEL is by expressing the injury or illness as a percentage. The more serious the impairment, the higher the percentage. Other factors also taken into consideration when calculating how much should be paid out. One such factor is usually age of the worker.

In order to determine if you are eligible for this benefit, there are usually medical examinations to undergo and often the worker’s boards will also refer you to their own specialists to try to determine percentage of impairment.

Permanent disability benefits

If the worker has been assessed to have a permanent disability that is ongoing, then the worker may receive permanent worker’s disability benefits.

Non-economic loss payments are one of the permanent disability benefits available. Others can include, depending on province: economic loss payments, temporary partial disability, etc., You have to check with the worker’s compensation board of your province or territory to see what type of benefits are included under permanent disability benefits.

Often permanent disability benefits can entitle you to a lifetime pension.

The type of disability a person has to have to qualify for a permanent disability benefit is usually quite serious.

For example, the worker’s compensation board of Alberta defines a disability as “a person’s decreased capacity or loss of ability to meet the demands of the job. This is measured as a loss of earnings ability resulting from the workplace injury.”

Permanent clinical impairment can be things like burn of a body part, amputation, loss of use of limbs, nerve damage.

It’s important to inquire of one’s provincial or territorial worker’s compensation board what permanent disability benefits and non-economic loss benefits are available specifically to you.

Read more:

Fact Sheets Worker's Compensation Board Alberta

Worker’s Compensation in Nova Scotia Reference Guide