When a debilitating injury or illness strikes, it can feel like your world’s been turned upside down. In your moment of need, it’s easy to make decisions that seem like the quickest and most straightforward path to recovery. And many of us know of someone who’s had a terrible experience with workers’ compensation, so there’s a natural tendency to avoid the Board altogether. It’s far better, so you’ve been told, to just file a claim with your company provider and be done with it.
And indeed, opening a claim with your company’s group provider is exactly what you should do if you take a spill on your motorcycle or crack a rib playing beer league.
But I’m here to tell you, if there’s the slightest reason to believe your disability is related to your job, choosing group benefits over workers’ compensation could cost you big time. Allow me to explain.
The risks of walking the wrong path
Many workers believe that opting for group benefits like Short-Term Disability (STD) or Long-Term Disability (LTD) will involve less hassle than dealing with WCB. But the reality is often quite different. Workers who make this choice may soon realise that they’ve foreclosed the opportunity to file with WCB and hence missed out on quicker and more generous benefits. They may find themselves struggling to make ends meet with limited financial support, and with no option to access the full range of benefits offered by WCB.
The cost of convenience
Workers’ compensation covers 90% of net earnings, whereas group benefits typically pay 80% for a set period, with the percentage decreasing if the STD converts to LTD. LTD plans usually replace 60% to 70% of your pre-disability income which, for many people, simply isn’t enough. And so, while the convenience of group benefits may seem appealing, the lower payouts could significantly impact your finances in the long run.
Cracking the whip
WCB is known for its aggressive approach to facilitating returns to work following injury, but group benefits providers can be even more zealous in pushing work resumption. While it’s important to get back to work as soon as possible, it’s equally crucial to ensure that you’re ready both physically and emotionally before returning to your job. Rushing back too soon could lead to further injury and prolonged time off work.
Consider the stakes
If there’s any chance that your injury or illness is work-related, it’s essential to think twice before choosing group benefits over WCB. While group benefits may seem like the easier option, the lower payouts and more aggressive return-to-work policies could end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the right path for recovery, it’s important to weigh all your options carefully. While group benefits may seem like the simpler choice, opting for WCB could offer you quicker and more generous benefits, as well as a more relaxed approach to returning to work. Don’t let a moment of convenience cost you in the long run.