Where can I get money to live on until the Board makes a decision about my claim?
The Board can take 12 weeks or more to decide a claim. The following are places you can go for help while you are waiting for your claim to be decided.
You may have disability insurance through your work. You must tell the insurance company that you were hurt at work, and that you are claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
Most insurance companies will not let you get money from them and from the Board for the same injury. The insurance company will probably make you sign an “assignment of benefits” form. This means that when you get your workers’ compensation benefits, the Board will probably take money out of your first benefits cheques to pay back the insurance company. Sometimes it is hard to tell if the Board has done this. If the Board has not paid back the insurance company, you will probably have to do it yourself.
You might also have other kinds of insurance, such as on your mortgage, credit cards, car loan, or other personal loans. Check with your bank or mortgage company. If you have this insurance, then your monthly loan payments might be made for you or delayed until you can pay them again.
Employment Insurance (EI)
If you are eligible, you can get up to 15 weeks of EI sick benefits. In some situations you might be able to get regular EI benefits. Apply as soon as possible. It takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to receive your first cheque and the first week after you apply is not covered by EI.
To apply, fill out an application at a Service Canada Centre or online at www.canada.ca. To find the Service Canada Centre where you live, call 1-800-622-6232, or visit the website listed above.
When you apply for EI, you should tell them you have applied for workers’ compensation. You cannot get money from both sources for the same time you are off work. This means that once you get your workers’ compensation benefits, you will have to pay back the money you got from EI for the same time period. You will probably have to sign an “assignment of benefits” form to let the Board pay back EI out of your workers’ compensation benefits. If the Board does not do this, you will have to pay back EI yourself.
If you have little or no money while you wait for your benefits, you can apply for social assistance. The social assistance programs in Ontario are called Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). To find out more about OW and ODSP, contact a community legal clinic. CLEO has several publications about OW and ODSP.
You can apply for ODSP at your local Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services office. If you need money right away, apply at an OW office for OW assistance while you wait for your ODSP application to be decided. To find the local Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services office, or the OW office nearest you, look in the government section of the phone book, or visit www.mcss.gov.on.ca.
When you apply for social assistance you should tell them you have applied for workers’ compensation. You will have to sign an “assignment of benefits” form. This lets the Board pay back some or all of the social assistance you received out of your workers’ compensation benefits. If the Board does not do this, then you will have to pay back the social assistance yourself.
You cannot get social assistance if your family income or assets are too high.
CPP Disability Benefits
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has disability benefits. If you are not going to be able to work for a long period of time because you are disabled, you should apply. CPP will look at all your medical conditions, not just your work injuries. If you are eligible, the amount of benefits you get is based on the contributions you have made to CPP over the years.
Your family income does not affect the decision to give you CPP benefits. You do not have to pay these benefits back when you get your workers’ compensation benefits. But you must immediately tell the Board about any CPP disability benefits you receive for your work-related injury or disease. The Board will reduce your benefits by the amount of any CPP you are getting for the same injury or disease.
You can have a CPP disability application kit sent to you by calling Service Canada free of charge at 1-800-277-9914. If you use a TTY device, call 1-800-255-4786. You can also download an application kit at www.canada.ca. Click on “Canada Pension Plan” then scroll down to click on “Disability benefits“.