Pass legislation for WCB that will allow assessments from doctors who are not employed by the WCB. And, introduce legislation that will change current AISH policies that consider CPP-D as non-exemptible pension.
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On March 16th, 2015, Reid and Joyce Hamula were guests at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. MLA Deron Bilous introduced them, sharing Reid's story through the following letter. Reid sent this letter to the MLA in January 2015 after two years of challenges with WCB and AISH.
Dear Deron Bilous,
I am contacting you today because of the situation I am currently in as a result of negligible policies and legislation involved with WCB entitlement and how AISH deducts CPP-disability from my monthly benefit.
On December 27th, 2012 I was injured at work in a motor vehicle accident resulting in multiple rib fractures and injuries to the major joints and connective tissues on both sides of my body. I was deemed unable to work by my doctors, and went on WCB from January to June of 2012. It was decided in June of 2012 by the WCB doctors, that I was able to return to pre-accident duties with no restrictions, even though the doctors I had been receiving treatment from since the beginning stated that I was not able to work. I lived off my savings from June 2012, until they ran out and was forced to go back to work.
Being that my work place injuries sustained in 2012 were still not healed, I was reinjured on the job. Additionally, I have been living with one arm since the 70’s which, combined with my new injuries, has made the duties I have been expected to perform exceedingly difficult. In early 2014 I applied for AISH, as the continual reinjury made it so that I could not work at all. My claim was accepted in September of 2014. Additionally, I was deemed eligible for CPP-Disability in mid-2014.
My current issue here, is twofold: first, I believe that my WCB entitlement was unnecessarily cut off. The doctors at WCB ignored the recommendations of my doctors, and WCB deemed my doctor’s reports as insufficient. I have escalated this issue to the highest appeals process and was still denied; I am not receiving the monies I am entitled to because the WCB refuse to deem my doctor’s recommendation as valid. Second, my CPP-D benefit is getting deducted from my AISH benefit, dollar for dollar. According to AISH policy, if I were an AISH recipient who is able to work, I would be able to make $1950 before any deductions would be made. This is not only discrimination against injured and disabled workers, but it also punishes us for situations many of us are in by no fault of our own.
I went from making roughly $4200/ month, to $1300 as a result of both of these negligible practices, polices, and legislations.
Changes need to be made. I am requesting your support in calling on the government to hold the WCB accountable to the people they are supposed to serve: the worker. The polices they currently have in place around the type of medical information they deem acceptable needs to be changed, and they should be made to prove why their doctor’s assessments are more valid than others – this information should be made public, and should be subject to a fair, third party appeals process, that is more than an arm’s length away than the office of the Appeals Advisor.
Changes also need to be made around the current AISH policies which speak to what is considered exemptible and non-exemptible income. AISH’s reason for CPP-D being considered “non-exemptible” is that it is “pension” – according to the federal government, at age 61, I am not eligible for pension for another four years. CPP-D is not pension in the same way a retirement pension is, and should be viewed differently when being considered for exemption by AISH. As I stated before, their current polices are ableist and discriminatory against injured workers.
Thank you for your attention and support in this matter. I am currently working with your office around some of the more immediate issues I am experiencing with my files. My hope is that by contacting you today I can receive your support in making systemic change, so that the thousands of others Albertans, in similar situations do not have to face the hard ships I had had to.
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