Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2388 12
R. Nairn
  • Chronic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pensions (reassessment)
  • Future economic loss {FEL} (eligibility) (lay-off)

The worker suffered a wrist injury in a fall in March 1993. The Board granted a 10% NEL award for chronic pain disability. In Decision No. 153/07, the Tribunal found that the worker was not entitled to temporary benefits after March 1994, because the employer had offered suitable modified work at no wage loss. The worker now appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for fibromyalgia, a redetermination of the NEL award and benefits after January 1998.

Chronic pain disability and fibromyalgia share many of the same characteristics. Some Tribunal decisions have discussed fibromyalgia as a condition distinct from chronic pain disability. However, fibromyalgia is considered for compensation benefits under the Board's chronic pain disability policy. On the evidence, in this case, the worker's current symptoms are more appropriately diagnosed as chronic pain disability and not fibromyalgia. Accordingly, the worker did not have entitlement for fibromyalgia.
There was evidence of significant deterioration of the worker's compensable chronic pain condition since she was last assessed. The worker was entitled to redetermination of her NEL award.
The employer's plant closed in January 1998. By that time, it ought to have been apparent that the worker would not be able to return to work because of her chronic pain disability. The worker was entitled to full FEL benefits as of January 1998.
The appeal was allowed in part.