Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 1089 20
29/01/2021
M. Keil
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Permanent impairment {NEL} (degree of impairment) (psychotraumatic disability)

The worker was a police officer. The Board granted the worker entitlement for post-traumatic stress in September 2012, with a 10% NEL award for permanent impairment, full LOE benefits until his retirement in December 2015 and then LOE benefits based on ability to work full-time in the SO of retail sales until June 2018. The worker's estate appealed regarding the quantum of the NEL award and LOE benefits after December 2015.

The NEL award for PTSD falls under Board Operational Policy Manual, Document No. 18-05-11, for psychotraumatic disability. However, the Vice-Chair noted that there are elements of PTSD that are distinct from the general categories of psychotraumatic disability. Regarding psychotraumatic disability, the policy stipulates that impairment is evaluated in line with six clinical entities, one or more of which may be present. PTSD symptomatology may be quite different, in that it includes other aspects not listed in those six entities.
While there is overlap with symptoms of a psychological condition, PTSD can manifest difficulties that differ from those captured in a description of general psychotraumatic disability. Referring to a Tribunal medical discussion paper on PTSD, the Vice-Chair noted, for instance, that increased arousal is common for those who have PTSD, but is not listed specifically as a symptom in the classes of impairment in Board policy. Thus, care must be taken to ensure that a worker with PTSD has his particular set of symptoms considered.
In this case, the Vice-Chair found that the worker was entitled to a 25% NEL award within Class 3 of the rating schedule.
The Vice-Chair also found that the worker was entitled to LOE benefits based on ability to work part-time at minimum wage during the period in question.
The appeal was allowed in part.