This is Part 2 of Corrina’s story. She is a young professional in Vancouver whose husband had an accident and became a quadriplegic last year. This is her story of how she managed the financial implications. (Part 1 was posted last Sat.)
I don’t even know where to start. In the event that a catastrophic injury should happen to you or someone you love you WILL get financial assistance from somewhere. If the injury was sustained in an automobile accident your funding (as they call it) will come from ICBC. If the injury occurred on the job the funding will come from WCB. If it occurred at home or in a private residence this is the worst case scenario: the funding will come through the ministry…the government. And I’ve been told (but I have not confirmed) that we are unable to privately insure ourselves in anticipation of something like this.
If a catastrophic injury should happen to you or someone you love you should know a few things. I have learned:
1 – Your insurance carrier is your friend
2- Your insurance carrier is not your friend
3 – Your insurance carrier is bound by policy – in the case of WCB it is legislated policy and there is no getting around it. You can either work within it or challenge it at the Supreme Court level. Good luck with that.
4 – Your insurance provider will withhold information. For example, they may choose not to tell you that you are eligible for some financial benefit. If you learn about it on your own and ask for it you’ll get it. If you don’t learn about it on your own you may not be informed by the insurer.
5 – Do your own research. There are organizations out there to educate you. In the case of an injured worker you should definitely contact the people at the Workers Advisors Group. They can help you interpret policy, appeal decisions, etc.
6 – If you are deemed to be permanently disabled you are eligible for your Canada Pension Plan benefits right away. This is worth around $1000 per month, give or take. Apply for it right away – they pay from the date of application, not the date of injury.
7 – If you are thinking about getting back to work, each insurer (or funding provider) has a program to help you reintegrate into the workforce through vocational rehab or placement assistance.
8 – Vancity has a great program for small business loans for persons with a disability.
9 – There are government grants out there available to persons with disabilities for the purpose of starting a small business.
10 – There are tons of breaks out there for these folks, too. Things like an ACCESS TO ENTERTAINMENT membership, which gets you half price rates for movies etc. If you require a care attendant that person will get in for free (this includes spouses, children, and friends accompanying you to the event).
I am still very much in the information gathering stage, but my husband has applied for his CPP, and is in the process of getting back to work. For him that means starting a small business. I am on the Your Money by Design program and getting a handle on day to day money management. I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. For the long term financial stuff….well, that’s what I am still working on, but I am feeling pretty good about it these days.
Thanks for reading & I hope this was helpful,