Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1569 13
M. Crystal
  • Board Directives and Guidelines (commutation) (rehabilitative measure)
  • Commutation (business investment)

The worker suffered a back injury in 1986, for which he was granted a 15% pension. In Decision No. 1469/09, the Tribunal denied the worker a commutation of the pension. In Decision No. 1469/09R, the Tribunal denied the worker's application for reconsider of Decision No. 1469/09, but noted that the worker was not precluded from making a further request for a commutation if the worker submitted a new business plan.

The worker now appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying the worker's further request for commutation of his pension.
Board policy allows for commutation of a pension when it is required as a new or continuing rehabilitative measure intended to enable the worker to obtain or maintain suitable employment by reducing the effects of the worker's disability, and when there is medical evidence that the worker's financial situation is producing a disability and the proceeds of the commutation will significantly remedy the situation.
In this case, the worker wanted the commutation to invest in a business. If the business were to be successful, he would have greater financial resources and this might reduce the stress currently experienced by the worker due to his current lack of financial resources. However, this is not the intent of the first criterion in the policy. The first criterion requires that the commutation be a rehabilitative measure which lessens the effects of the disability and thereby facilitates employment. Commutation requests for purely financial reasons do not meet the criterion. The policy requires that the proceeds from the commutation be used to finance a rehabilitative measure that is separate from the business. The Vice-Chair concluded that the worker's request did not meet the first criterion.
The request also did not meet the second criterion as the policy indicates that the medical evidence ordinarily means written evidence from a psychiatrist, which the worker did not have in this case.
The appeal was dismissed.