Frequently Asked Questions
What will an Adviser do?
A Workers' Adviser can:
- Help you understand the Workers Compensation Act and WorkSafeBC policies and procedures.
- Provide you or anyone else who is helping you with information about your claim.
- Help you with a Request for Review at the Review Division or an Appeal at the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal regarding a WorkSafeBC decision.
- In some cases, represent you during a review or an appeal
How much will it cost me?
There is no charge for the service.
Is the Workers' Advisers Office part of WorkSafeBC?
No, the Workers' Advisers Office is a branch of the Ministry of Labour. We are independent of WorkSafeBC.
When I call the Workers' Advisers Office, can you look at my WorkSafeBC claim file?
Can the Workers' Advisers Office send me copies of my claim file?
No, we are not allowed to send out claim files because they are not our files. You must request disclosure of your claim file directly from WorkSafeBC.
What if I get hurt in another province?
WorkSafeBC is putting me into a work hardening program that I am not ready for. What should I do?
Talk to your doctor. You should know that if you do not participate, your benefits could be terminated. However, you can request a review and eventually appeal this decision. On appeal, you have to provide medical information showing that you were not capable of participating. If you are successful, your benefits will be reinstated.
Can I get workers' compensation if I have an occupational disease?
What can I do when my case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant won't return my calls?
Continue to contact your case manager or vocational rehabilitation consultant by mail, phone, fax or e-mail. If you receive no response, contact their manager. Leave a detailed message stating the reason for your call. If you still receive no response, contact the WorkSafeBC Fair Practices Office.
What are "earnings"?
Money paid to you by an employer is "earnings". This includes regular overtime. In some cases WorkSafeBC may also include money paid to you by Employment Insurance. You should contact WorkSafeBC for more information if you think this should apply to you.
"Earnings" does not include payments made by your employer under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), the Employment Insurance Act (EI) and other retirement pension, health and welfare plans or similar benefit plans for you or your dependants. If you do not understand the calculation, you should contact WorkSafeBC and ask for clarification.
How will my "net" earnings be decided?
WorkSafeBC will obtain statements of your earnings from employment, before deductions from you and your employer(s). WorkSafeBC will estimate the value of deductions for personal income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions. These will be deducted from your gross employment earnings. The remaining earnings are your "net" earnings. If you do not understand the calculation, you should contact WorkSafeBC and ask for clarification.
What will I be paid?
You will receive benefits based on 90 percent of your "net" earnings.
Will I get the same rate of benefits throughout my disability?
No. In most cases, WorkSafeBC will set an "initial" rate which will be paid for the first ten weeks of wage loss. After ten weeks, WorkSafeBC will set a "long term" rate of benefits for ongoing wage loss benefits and for any permanent disability benefits you may get.
In most cases the "initial" rate will be set on your rate of pay in the job or jobs you had when you were injured, less the estimated value of deductions for personal income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions.
Your "long term" rate, in most cases, will be set on the average of your earnings in the 12 months immediately before your injury, less the estimated value of deductions for income taxes, your CPP contributions and your EI contributions.
If I am new to the workforce, how will my "long term" benefits be decided?
If you had a permanent job but you had not worked for a full 12 months with your employer when you got injured, your "long term" earnings will be based on the earnings of a similar worker in the same job with your employer. If this is not possible, WorkSafeBC will base your "long term earnings" on the earnings of a similar worker in the same job with another employer in your region.
I am receiving Canada Pension Plan disability benefits. Will my WorkSafeBC benefits be reduced? How will this be calculated?
Your current permanent disability benefits will not be reduced if you are also receiving disability benefits from the Canada Pension Plan.
If I was an apprentice when I was hurt, how will my benefits be decided?
If you are already receiving permanent disability benefits, see the Factsheets: Understanding a Pension Decision. Some or all of your permanent disability benefits will continue to be paid after age 65.
The year before my injury, I didn't earn what I usually do. How will this affect my long term benefits?
WorkSafeBC will usually base your benefits on your average earnings over the year before you were injured. If WorkSafeBC decides this is unfair to you, WorkSafeBC can base your rate of benefits on what it thinks you will lose as a result of your injury. This will only happen in exceptional circumstances.
Will my benefits be reduced if I am entitled to benefits under the Canada Pension Plan?
Wage loss benefits are not reduced if you are paid by CPP. However, your WorkSafeBC permanent disability benefits will be reduced, if you are paid disability benefits for the same injury under the Canada Pension Plan. The Board will deduct 50 percent of the value of your benefits from CPP. If you do not apply for and receive CPP disability benefits, then your WorkSafeBC permanent disability benefits will not be reduced. For more information see the Factsheet Canada Pension Plan Benefits and WorkSafeBC Benefits.
Will WorkSafeBC reduce my benefits if I am receiving private disability insurance?
Your WorkSafeBC benefits are not reduced if you are receiving private disability benefits. Your WorkSafeBC benefits may have an effect on your private benefits. You should check with your insurance carrier
Are WorkSafeBC benefits protected from inflation?
Yes. WorkSafeBC disability benefits will be adjusted for inflation annually, at a rate of one percent less than inflation, to a maximum of four percent in a year. The adjustment will be made every January 1.
When do benefits start if I become disabled?
The new law does not change when WorkSafeBC benefits start. If you are injured, wage loss benefits start the first working day following the day of your injury. If you become disabled from an occupational disease, wage loss benefits usually begin when you can no longer work at your usual job.
How long do WorkSafeBC benefits continue?
Wage loss or permanent disability benefits will continue for as long as you are disabled by the injury or the disease but will stop at age 65. Benefits may continue if you can prove you would have worked after age 65. At retirement, WorkSafeBC will pay you a lump sum retirement benefit. See Duration of Benefits Factsheet.
What happens if I still have a disability when I go back to work? Will WorkSafeBC give me permanent disability benefits?
In most cases, yes. If you suffer a permanent disability from an injury or a disease, WorkSafeBC will assess your loss of function from your disability in much the same way as in the past. See Permanent Disability Award Factsheet.
One difference is that permanent disability benefits will only be paid until you retire. At retirement age (usually 65) you will be paid a lump sum by WorkSafeBC as a "Retirement Benefit."
Can I get additional permanent disability benefits if I cannot earn as much from work as a result of my disability?
In exceptional cases, WorkSafeBC may award you permanent disability benefits based on the difference between what you used to earn before the injury and what you can now earn. These permanent disability benefits would be paid instead of benefits for loss of function. See Permanent Disability Award Factsheet.
Will I get a "Retirement Benefit"?
If you are awarded benefits for permanent disability under the new law, you will be entitled to a "Retirement Benefit" when you turn 65. See Retirement Benefits Factsheet.
How are "Retirement Benefits" determined?
If you are paid permanent disability benefits, WorkSafeBC will contribute money to a special fund for you. In addition to your monthly permanent disability benefits, WorkSafeBC will pay an amount of money equal to 5 percent of your monthly permanent disability benefits into this special fund. WorkSafeBC will invest this money. The profits will be added to your fund. When you turn 65, you will receive the money in this fund as a "Retirement Benefit". See Retirement Benefits Factsheet.
Can I contribute to this fund if I want?
Yes you can. When WorkSafeBC awards you permanent disability benefits, you can volunteer to contribute a portion of your benefits into the fund each month. You will be allowed to pay up to 5 percent of your monthly benefits. See Retirement Benefits Factsheet.
If I have appealed a WorkSafeBC decision about my rate of benefits, wage loss benefits or permanent disability benefits, how will the new law affect my benefits if I win the appeal?
If the first indication of permanent disability happened before June 30, 2002 or you became disabled by an occupational disease before June 30, 2002, the benefits you win from the appeal will be paid under the old law.
How do I file an appeal and is there a deadline?
See - Overview - Reviews and Appeals Factsheet.
What name do I put on the Request for Review form or the Notice of Appeal form where it asks for "name of representative"?
You do not need to complete this section until you have discussed your claim with someone who will help with your appeal. The Review Division and WCAT will accept your request for review or appeal without a representative's name.
Can a Workers' Adviser represent me on my review or appeal?
In some cases, a Workers' Adviser may represent you on your review or appeal. If you feel you need representation, discuss this with your Workers' Adviser.