Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 2591 18
J. Noble
  • Work transition plan (older worker)

The worker suffered a neck injury in December 2010. In May 2016, the Board granted the worker a 10% NEL award for psychotraumatic disability. In March 2016, the employer advised that it was unable to offer the worker a position within her permanent restrictions. The Board identified a direct-entry SO, and provided two weeks of job search training followed by 10 weeks of employment placement services. In June 2016, the worker requested the older worker option, to have a self-direct WT plan with 12 months of transition-focused self-directed work reintegration to achieve the SO, with the understanding that, at the end of the 12 months, LOE benefits would be recalculated based on estimated earnings in the SO.

The worker appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying her request for the self-directed plan.
Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 18-03-04, on LOE benefits for workers 55 years of age or older, provides that a worker may choose the older worker option with no LOE review, if the worker is 55 years of age or older when the Board determined that the worker is entitled to LOE benefits, and if it is a worker who requires a WT plan consisting of vocational skills training to achieve employment in an SO.
In this case, the worker was only 50 years old at the time of the accident and when the Board determined that she was entitled to LOE benefits. The policy was clear and unambiguous in its wording on the requirement that the program is only available to workers who are 55 years of age or older when the Board determines that the workers are entitled to LOE benefits. The Vice-Chair rejected the submission of the worker that there are other points in time at which her loss of earnings can be considered to have started.
The worker also did not meet the second requirement of the policy regarding the need for a WT plan consisting of VR skills training. In this case, the Board-approved WT plan was appropriate for the worker, and it was for a direct-entry SO.
The worker did not meet the criteria for the older worker option. The appeal was dismissed.